We participated in the JDRF Type One Nation Summit this past weekend. It was interesting to talk to parents and adult type 1’s and hear that everyone from kids, to teens, to adults experience diabetes burnout or go through a period of rebellion from responsible management. Maybe we expect it from tweens and teens, but adults experience it too.
Why would a diabetic rebel, when diabetes management is a matter of life and death? Is it giving up on life altogether? Probably not. It is probably a combination of frustration and exhaustion. It is so frustrating to feel like you are doing everything right, giving it your all, and you still have uncontrolled blood sugar fluctuations that make you feel grumpy, lethargic, and sick to your stomach? On top of that, you NEVER get a break! You never get to eat with reckless abandon. You never get to just pass out when you’re tired, without the fear of lows or getting woken by alarms.
Diabetes is a 24/7 and 365 disease. You take a break from management, you will probably suffer the consequence. And, at the same time you can do everything right, and still end up too high or too low. Hormones, stress, normal fatigue, bad sleep, overeating or skipping meals are part of daily life for a non-diabetic. You push through and move on. But all those normal every day occurrences can have a profound impact on a diabetics blood sugar.
Who wouldn’t get frustrated, overwhelmed, annoyed, and sick of it all? How do we push through? For me, its two key things. First, I have relied heavily on the support of friends, family, parents, spouses, doctors and teachers. Support team– you have an important job. You encourage, you comfort, you build-up, you remind (but not nag), you assist, and you lead by example. We need you. Second, I want to see my grandchildren. I want to be old and gray with my wife. I want to travel the world in retirement. I want to be able to walk a golf course when I’m 70.
Your reasons may be the same or different, but focus on the prize. Every day good decisions and good diabetes management will have long term benefits and consequences. When you fall off the wagon, get right back on. Your life and your future depends on it.