I am brooke, a 21 year old diabetic! I am in nursing school at the moment and will graduate this December (hopefully)! I was diagnosed at age 15, in which I think I never truly accepted the diagnosis. I have always been a happy go lucky type of person, so I tried to not let my real emotions show. I lied to myself and others about how I was coping. I think that is where it all started for me. For years, my sugars were controlled and i felt i had the whole diabetes thing down. I felt like I conquered diabetes. As the honeymoon phase wore off, I noticed my sugars going crazy. The highs were high and the lows were low. I felt like I was diagnosed all over again, but this time, I didn’t have an excuse to fail. I felt like my parents would get upset and worried when I had a high. I felt like I was doing something wrong. I was beyond frustrated and ashamed. I felt trapped and didn’t know where to turn. I started to stop caring. I put all my time and energy into nursing school. Diabetes was put on the back burner. I wasn’t honest with my parents about diabetes. It ate me alive to the point, I wanted to go back to pre-diabetic Brooke. I wanted to feel normal and not have to deal with diabetes. Essentially I felt crazy and hopeless. I wanted to give up. Being in the medical field, I have seen so many patients without toes, feet, and legs due to diabetes. I think I just gave into the fact that this was my life, because I am diabetic. I hate to admit it, but I did give into the diabetic reality. I tried to cover up my poor handle on it by killing it in nursing school and by running a marathon. As odd as it may sound, I thought those things would make me a better diabetic. All this came to bit me in the butt. I had breakdowns and times of very lows. It wasn’t until I read articles on “diabetes burnout”. All the articles I read explained exactly how I was feeling. Diabetic burnout can be triggered by stress (nursing school), anxiety, depression, or any thing else really. Its a mental issue that happens to diabetics, where they just stop caring about themselves and never know why. For the first time, I didn’t feel crazy or an awful diabetic. I was hoping to find others who may have experienced this diabetic burnout or who can help me get over it. I want to be better for myself and my future.
Very similar stories here…teen diagnosis (14)…went thru nursing school (RN for 20 + years now). Also have experienced periods of burnout throughout the years.
I just wanted to say I understand how T1D can be so very challenging, exhausting and overwhelming at times. I’ve certainly experienced my share of times when i just felt so fed up with all of the extra work that’s necessary to keep in good (sometimes average) control. I think it’s completely normal to have these feelings and acknowledge them for what they are. It IS hard work managing a chronic illness like we do… it’s something we have to deal with 24/7, without vacation time.
I guess I’ve found over the years the support from various friends and family to be most helpful. I have some great coworkers as well… nurses by nature tend to be caregivers… and are usually very good at taking care of others (but may need gentle nudges and reminders from others to remember to also take care of themselves!)
Hang in there! We all need the support of others at times. We need to be comfortable asking for help when we feel overwhelmed. We need to set limits for ourselves and acknowledge we can’t be perfect. I wish I would’ve embraced more of this earlier in my life, maybe I wouldn’t be so exhausted now in my third decade of diabetes… Im still learning…
Lots of support to you!
We do have very similar stories!! It is soooooo comforting knowing I am not the only crazy person out there that has felt this way. Its also comforting knowing there is hope for us! I just keep putting up a front that everything is okay and the more I tell myself that, the more I believe it. Thank you for your post, it truly helped me more than you know!! Support for you as well! Us diabetics and nurses gotta stick together haha
@beiden hi Brooke
every one of us either has gone through or will go through elements of depression and burnout. how can it be avoided? a diagnosis of diabetes is a physical, mental and emotional trauma. Depending on how deep you bury it (in my opinion) is the only tell-tale of how long it will affect you. my depression lasted 20+ years. I hid it, lied about it, and then went on to seek out horrible relationships and chaos everywhere in an attempt to take my mind off it.
after many years I found out - wherever I go…there I am. I realized I created my prison, and the only one I was truly at war with - was myself. Oh and I didn’t figure it out by myself either - I got a lot of help from other people who shared their stress and pain and found ways to be okay with it.
I don’t think there’s any shortcut on the path to acceptance it ends up something you have to live through. The good news is once you realize it you are already halfway home. There are entire books dedicated to Diabetes Burnout, and there is also therapy and the help and fellowship that sites like TypeOneNation offer as well.good luck Brooke, I hope you check in often and I hope you are okay.
Diabetes burnout is a real struggle. The College Diabetes Network has some cool resources you can check out for how to deal with burnout. I hope this helps!
Hey! How long did your honeymoon period last? I’m in my final year at uni aswell and also having a bit of a wobble but considering you’re doing nursing you should really be proud of yourself! That must’ve been a huge challenge especially while juggling diabetes! I find giving myself more credit for the small achievements really helps me like just tiny things like doing my washing, starting that assignment etc. And you will realise how well you’re doing! Good luck! Xx
is there an actual doctor on here who can help?
My honeymoon lasted close to 18-20 months! It is just such a shift from honeymoon to this ya know! I wish you best of luck!
You have no idea how good it is to hear I am not the only one who has done it. I am hoping this burnout phase is going to come to an end now that I know what the issue is and learned to accept it as normal. I thought I was the only one like this, which just forced me to keep giving into the disease ya know. Learning everyone goes through this burnout phase is so motivational and makes me feel a lot less crazy. All that you said about hiding and lying is exactly what Ive been doing, I just never could admit it to myself. Thank you so much!! best of luck to you
I, too, was diagnosed when I was 15, and I had my first low blood sugar reaction when I was 20. That’s because we didn’t have blood glucose testing at home and I took shots, and I think it’s safe to assume that my control wasn’t great. When I learned how to take shots they gave me an orange to practice on, and I was ‘trained’ with an amputee and a blind person. It didn’t occur to me that those were people who had complications from diabetes; they were old, probably Type 2’s. Talk about insensitivity! I am 56 years old now. I graduated from college in 1983 with a degree in Nutrition and Medical Dietetics. I have 2 kids, one is 18 and the other is 23, he’s graduating in May. I went to graduate school and studied Nutrition there as well. So I’m good at adding up carbs but I still drop the ball at times. I hope that you consider getting an insulin pump. The new one will actually give you insulin in response to high blood sugar, and it will give you less basal insulin when you are running low. With your medical knowledge you could totally handle it. I got my pump after my second son was born, so I’ve had it for almost 18 years. I would never go back. I do understand burnout. It can be so overwhelming! You need a great endocrinologist who doesn’t judge you harshly, one who works with you wherever you’re at to help you get better control. Never assume that your health is pre ordained! You can’t change your diagnosis but you do have control over how you want to deal with it. If you’re in a metropolitan area you can find a good teaching hospital and work with your insurance company. I really hope you consider getting a pump. It has been tremendous for me.
My son was diagnosed 3 years ago and I read a lot about type 1 and 70% of people with Type 1 dont meet their A!C. I wish more people knew this. It seems like a dirty secret.
Diabetes Burnout is also VERY common, and again I feel this is not well addressed. Endos and Nurses are not trained to address it I guess.
Support sites like this one and others on Facebook or other social media platforms… as well as a therapist.
You are not alone and reaching out to others is first step!
I was diagnosed with Type 1 out of the blue at age 59! I had my annual physical just a month before and all of my numbers, weight etc. were perfect! I got very sick just prior to being diagnosed and bingo! I did not have a honeymoon phase or a denial phase. I attacked this foe with a vengeance with great results and felt great for about 7 years eating low carb and healthy high protein meals. Now in my 8th year I have had a real struggle, neither meeting my goals or staying on track. I know I have burn out and 2017 was major stress all year long. Visiting this website has really helped me get prepared to rejoin the race for myself and the quality of my day to day life.
Remember , Type 1 is not a sprint it is a Marathon and although you won’t win every race if you pace yourself you will do much better overall. Most importantly be kind to yourself! Every day is a new chance! Planning ahead always helps me…
Thanks for sharing! It takes courage…my mother always told me that is is not how many times you fall down but how many times you get up!
God Bless you and every nurse out there!
When you get tired of the game, it’s time to change the rules. Check out what new tools are available to help make management easier. Try a new wearable sensor, a new pump, maybe a new diet or an alternate insulin delivery like Afrezza.
Every once in a while it’s nice to remember there are brilliant people all over the world who dedicate their lives and careers to making life better for you by inventing newer and better devices and medications to help you manage and improve your life.