I'm Burned Out: I Don’t Want to Check My Blood Sugar Anymore

As someone who has had diabetes since the age of seven, I’ve had to deal with the constant checking of blood sugar, counting carbohydrates, making sure I take the right amount of insulin, getting to the gym to maintain my health, monitoring intake of everything I want to eat and then some.

It’s exhausting!

Managing a chronic condition is not at all easy and at times, the burden is real. The American Diabetes Association calls it “diabetes distress” while many in the diabetes community call it a burnout.

I recall once, sitting with the resident doctor as she asked me textbook questions that I couldn’t answer. “How many fruits and vegetables do you eat a day?” I looked at her and said, “I don’t know. Whatever I decide to eat that day goes day by day.”

Then she asked the age-old question: “So, how are you doing?” It was at that moment that I decided to be completely blunt and honest. “I’m tired,” I said. “I’m tired. After having this for so long and doing exactly what I’m told without the right results, I wish I could just take a break for about a week.”

This situation is more common than anyone would like to admit. It starts with feelings of exhaustion and can lead to depression and anxiety. However, many times we’re not clinically depressed. It’s an emotional issue that’s directly related to the worries and the burdens of having a chronic illness like diabetes.

Like many chronic conditions, diabetes is NOT easy to manage. There’s a lot to take into account, especially understanding your own body and how it reacts to everything from insulin (whether you make it on your own or not), medications, food, drink, stress, happiness, sadness and the list goes on.

Then there are the numbers. From your daily blood glucose checks to your A1c percentage, not to mention weight, cholesterol, blood pressure – keeping track of it all is at times overwhelming. Actually, it’s always overwhelming. I constantly think, “If I didn’t have diabetes, would I even care?”

Everybody (and every body) is different. Many times, the recommendations from your doctors in terms of medication intake and regimen change regularly, like every time you go in for a visit. There isn’t an equation to being perfect or maintaining the right balance which can make having diabetes incredibly frustrating, even if you follow your doctor’s orders to a T.

Scary, isn’t it? But fortunately, we can’t give up. We’re not allowed to. As much as you’d like to take a vacation, it’ll always be there and your life is worth so much more than quitting on self-care.

What can you do when you feel yourself falling into this rut?

Here are a few suggestions for you:

  • Talk to your doctor or diabetes educator. Trust me, if they’ve been treating people living with diabetes for a long time, they will understand your feelings and provide insight on small steps to help you.
  • Take steps to get back into a well thought out diabetes management plan. When I feel “distressed” I usually tell myself I’ll start doing something small to make myself feel better like, aim to have my blood glucose under 175 every time I check. Then follow suit with actions that will help me achieve those goals. Eating better, healthy snacking, implementing exercise are other examples.
  • You can’t control everything! This includes your blood sugar. I’ve noted that when I travel, my blood sugars run high. Planes, trains or an automobile—doesn’t matter. Even though I may not eat, up it goes. However, you can be cognizant of your readings and keep them controlled as best as you can. It definitely takes effort.
  • Look for support from those who can relate. The Diabetes Online Community (or DOC) is a group of individuals who have discussions and share content related to diabetes. Many also have either Type 1 or Type 2. They’re an excellent resource, especially on Twitter, to tap in to for support, questions or venting. Use the hashtag #DOC. If you have friends who have diabetes, talk to them about it. As much as diabetes is something you can’t see on folks, we all go through very similar experiences.

I’ve never stayed in the rut for very long, but it’s because I also knew what caused it and how to get myself out of it. It’s definitely tested my faith and determination, but with the right help and balance, I’ve continued on my path of diabetes management and care. Trust me, you can do the same.

For more information on diabetes management and mental health, visit the American Diabetes Association and their magazine Diabetes Forecast.

If you have a question, please leave a comment! We’re here to help.

Presented by: Christina E. Rodriguez

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