So, with the holidays coming up I’ve been trying to decide what to write about. In the past, I’ve written about dealing with Family or food during the holidays, but I wanted to address something that could happen year-round that usually intensifies during holidays. The holidays are filled with stress and trigger the focus us away from our diabetes management abound.
Diabetes Burnout is sometimes misdiagnosed as depression, and it has links to problematic glycemic control and difficulties with self-care behaviors. It causes frustration with diabetes management, and left untreated it may stop management tasks altogether. The lack of motivation to test blood sugar level and make corrections creates erratic blood glucose levels while increasing hyper and hypoglycemic episodes.
With the changes in our schedules and carbs around every corner, it can be nearly impossible to adapt during the holidays and let’s not forget about the stress. This makes the holidays fraught with unexpected micro-trauma.
Micro-trauma is not necessarily the big stuff but the little repetitive day-to-day trauma that may cause the most anxiety, stress, and problems. Constant blood tests, injections/boluses, and monitoring along with emotional shifts that happen over and over again takes its toll, and over time, you may feel worn out, not only physically, but also emotionally.
Mini-traumas build up over time, taking a silent toll on the emotional well-being of the individual living with diabetes. There are many other sources that can range from being late to work due to a low blood sugar reaction, having to stop to take care of a low blood sugar at any time, dealing with extended periods of high blood sugar, apologizing for something said or done during a high blood sugar episode, or self-blame around high or low blood glucose along with many others. Frustration builds over time causing life to be incredibly overwhelming.
If you are unaware of microtrauma and don’t know how to manage these events, then over time micro-traumas will lead you to Diabetes Burnout. They can be anything that is related to managing your diabetes, that prevents or interrupts what you are doing at that moment. Essentially, deviating you from your plan.
Trauma severity is based off one’s flexibility to change course, and this is true of micro-traumas as well. Put your health needs first over your or others wants. If someone is upset that you are taking care of your diabetes, it is not your problem but theirs.
If you are struggling with diabetes burnout, please call (917) 272-4829. I can help you reduce the symptoms of diabetes burnout as well as provide you with techniques to reduce the number of occurrences or prevent burnout.
My name is Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, and I am a diabetes-focused psychotherapist, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977. If you don’t have a mental health provider with an understanding of diabetes, I have spent many years helping people living with diabetes resolve issues like this in my New York Office and Online.
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.