Diabetes Burn Out?

I'm curious those who have already gone through it: how long were you diabetic when you went through diabetes burn out?

I think my teen years were basically all a phase of burnout.  These days... it comes and goes.  Good days/weeks/months and bad.  That's the "chronic" part...

It used to happen to me all the time - in college.  My teens were okay for me.  Now it happens about once a year - I'm just done with it all and it lasts about a month.  The funny thing is that even if I don't test as much as I should or eat what I should,  my guessing is pretty good after having it so long that my A1C's usually don't deviate much at all.  Soon after I guild myself back into testing more and eating well. 


I was diagnosed in 2000 and started experiencing burnout in 2005. I think it doesn't matter when you were diagnosed. I really think it can happen at anytime. For me I think a lot had to do with the fact I was diagnosed later than most people (age 25) and wanted my life to turn back to normal but, obviously we know that is impossible unless we all get cured. SIGH.

Hey Alyssa! I just started experiencing diabetes burn out. Ever since I turned 13 which was on June 19th my sugars have been out of control. My endo said it was because I was a teen and eventually you grow out of it.

I'm going through a burnout right  now. The sad thing is it's been going on for a couple YEARS now, and I'm just too lazy to take care of myself.

I have been T1 for almost 31 years.  I have had LOTS of burn out.  In face, staying motivated is one of my biggest challenges.  Sometimes I am very motived but sometimes I do the minimum.  Almost every morning I wake up thinking, "I can't do this for another day."  But somehow I do. 

I have a lot of times where I look at other kids just stuffing their faces whenever they want and I am sitting over with my friends thinking "I wish I could do that" and I am depressed for the rest of the day. I have those happen for months sometimes and they are kind of like my burnout. Diabetes isn't easy...

[quote user="Kelsey"]

I have a lot of times where I look at other kids just stuffing their faces whenever they want and I am sitting over with my friends thinking "I wish I could do that" and I am depressed for the rest of the day. I have those happen for months sometimes and they are kind of like my burnout. Diabetes isn't easy...



Ahhh at parties everyones eating cake and soda and theres no diet and im thinking to myself how unfair it is. oh bother.

I was diagnosed when I was 11 . . . 8 years ago and in the past year I have had a major stuggle with a burn out. Maybe its finally the realization that I will have to deal with this forever. A lot of anger and bitterness has come out with it. I have never felt quite this resentful about the illness until now. I'm really working to find some way to emotionally cope with such a demanding chronic illness. If anyone has any tips for me I would greatly appreciate it.

I am older than you... if you are well-controlled, you will start to see some benefits to your hard work when you reach your 30's and move into middle age years. You will notice that many of your non-diabetic friends get chubbier and chubbier as they grow older while we don't tend to do that as much. Why? Because we have been forced to eat healthier diets than others do. I dunno, but I have watched my peers get overweight, and here I am as slim as I was in my teens with great skin and teeth -- could it be the result of careful moderation of food in my youth? People tell me how lucky I am because I don't gain weight, and I suppose I never thought of it as a BENEFIT to being diabetic, but it IS. The very disease that forces me to watch what I eat has kept me slim in my middle age. It makes me look at it differently. Just something to share with you. Maybe being forced to take good care of yourself will have benefits that you will start to see in the future. I truly am in much better health and better physical condition than most women my age.

I no it may not help much NOW, but there ARE some benefits. A young life of junk food does do terrible things to people. We don't have to deal with consequences of poor diet. My overall health is better than most people's -- I don't get sick as often, nor do I get AS sick when I do come down with a virus. I can't help but believe that a well-balanced healthy diet is the reason. So perhaps the glass is half full.

I really appreciate what you have said. Sometimes when my level is 50 or 300 its hard for me to see past that moment. It's so wonderful to hear about healthy, successful people who have been living with this illness. Oh- and I want you to know that I've been eating tons of salads since I read this comment. haha

:o) Mmmmmm.... salads. Rabbit food.  

I totally agree that sometimes the RIGHT NOW is crummy -- I am tightly controlled and so have lows. Feels crummy at that moment and I can feel temporarily weepy and blue or frustrated. But I find that having a sense of humor helps a lot. I can usually find something funny about the situation if I dig hard enough. Overall, in time I think it gets easier. Hormones settle down and you learn by trial and error what works and what doesn't work for you. Your stage of life is the hardest -- it really does get easier. Honestly, for me at this point, it just isn't that difficult. It kind of becomes something like brushing our teeth, something we can do while our brains are focused on other stuff.

I have a twin, and we both grew up in the dark ages of diabetes care, but both came through it remarkably unscathed. Both are healthy and active, and what I have found that helps the most is to focus on my passions in life and leave diabetes as a something-to-do-but-not-to-waste-much-time-thinking-about (kind of like brushing teeth -- we gotta do it to keep our teeth clean and healthy, but we don't really spend time thinking about whether we like brushing our teeth or not). I am an artist, a coin designer for the U.S.Mint, and even when doing my diabetes stuff, I often find my brain racing ahead to the next art project. I think this is what keeps me happy -- my primary focus in life is on the thing I love (my art career), and diabetes care, while important enough for me to religiously follow the routine, just doesn't take much space in my btain.

To me, there is a big difference between denial / ignoring the needs of being diabetic and DOING everything but not making it my life focus. I don't know if I have explained this very well -- but it is a brain FOCUS thing. And it works to keep me really happy. I wonder if it would work for you and for others? All of us are different, and we each find different ways to cope, but I think that if we share what works for us, maybe some others will find that my solution or YOUR solution works well for them, too. I suppose I like to think of myself as an ARTIST, not a DIABETIC. Maybe you need to create a label for yourself that is not "being diabetic" but instead is ___________ . You can fill in the blank.

i was 14, almost 15 when i went through it. so i had had diabetes for 8 or so years when i went through it.

I have had T1 for 23 years My burnout was from age 15-21.. I ate and di whatever I wanted and always felt guilty but didnt care enough to do anything. so i had T1 for 9 years before burnout.

Now I feel lazy once in a while, not a lot, you do grow out of it

[quote user="Alyssa"]

I'm curious those who have already gone through it: how long were you diabetic when you went through diabetes burn out?


What?  There's a time frame?  I think I'm still going through it!  That'd make 13 yrs. of burn out.  LOL!

I'm right there with you on the burnout front. I've been diabetic for 12 years and I go through it every day, month, year....I tend to go through burnout the most when I try the hardest to keep good control. To go for weeks with nice blood sugars, then to have a couple 300+ make appearances on the ole meter, is frustrating and makes me slump into depression and burnout very quickly. I wish I could go back to the 17 year old with a pancreas that worked correctly.

So yeah...12 years of burnout for me! HA!

You can only take care of yourself as much as your mind/will allows you to. It's tough to make sense of it all sometimes. Trying to be perfect always results in burnout and stress out!


Take care of yourself the best you can! :-)

I have been type 1 for 40 years now. I read these posts about burnout with real empathy. No, it is not fun, and the reality is that it never will be. However, I do think that our overall attitudes about life can make a real difference. You have read other posts from folks like me who grew up in the "dark ages" of diabetic care. Those of us who are old-timers perhaps have a better appreciation of how good we have it now compared to then when insulins did not match food digestion times and glucose management was largely a guessing game. I think what keeps me motivated to do the "right" things is just knowing how good I feel when my levels are in the normal range. The comparison to when I am low or high is enough motivation for me.

But I think what really makes the biggest difference is finding some passion in life so that the diabetes care becomes something like brushing teeth -- something I do to remain healthy, but that I can't waste time focusing on. It is sort of a mind game for me: if I spend too much time with my FOCUS on diabetes, I will get frustrated or depressed, so I have relegated it to something I do in order to be good at my passion in life, which is my art. When my body and brain are functioning properly, then my focus is on my career and not on the disease. So this long-timer would perhaps encourage those dealing with burn-out to perhaps evaluate how much actual mental focus you are putting on being diabetic vs. other goals in life. One mom of a type 1 diabetic child told me once that her child wants to be considered a CHILD first, and being diabetic comes way down on the list of qualities that make the child who he is. Makes sense to me and it is certainly applicable to adults.

One more thing that I hear a lot that I think we can work on is guilt. One of the smartest young adults I know who happens to also be a type 1 diabetic once emailed to me that she believes that type 1 diabetes is the only disease whereby a working organ (the pancreas) has been replaced by GUILT. The statement was a casual one, but it really hit a chord with me. I think all of us tend to think of high or low numbers as "bad" and ideal numbers as "good." And we judge ourselves accordingly. This is a recipe for frustration and depression. My own way to get around this is to tell myself that the numbers are nothing more than scientific data that tell me how to manage my insulin. My rationale is that in a non-diabetic's body, the brain receives information when the person's levels are reaching either end of the ideal range, and the brain simply corrects the swing before it gets critical. No "bad" or "good" -- simply an adjustment. That's how I try to look at the numbers. I need those numbers so I can do what my own brain and pancreas cannot do on their own. I test often enough to catch rising or dropping numbers and just adjust to what I see happening, just like what the brain/pancreas team is supposed to do in a non-diabetic body. Just this attitude about the numbers helps my overall mood about it a lot.

I hope this helps some of you folks who are younger in the walk with type 1 than I am.

For me burn outs come and go- lately it has been ok. I was diagnosed as a freshman in high school and those were very difficult years, i became very depressed. My first expereience with burn out was a few months after my diagnosis- so many people told me it wasnt burn out because i had just been diagnosis so recently- however you can experience burn out even very early. I had taken the diagnosis on myself and wouldnt let anyone help me- it made me feel very alone and overwhelmed, which lead to such an early feeling of burn out. Dont be afraid to ask for help- and to share the burden (my mom has become my lifeline). After getting my CGM things got better- i felt like i had the tools to take care of myself and actually make a difference! So often you work so hard and everything still goes wrong. But it does get better- you just have to take it day by day.

Have had diabetes for about 23 years.  Probably had mild burnout in college, then it really hit around 26.  Now (31) it comes and goes, as I suspect that it will until I am cured (fingers crossed), or the rest of my life.  I think for me supportive friends/ family, being more vocal about how I feel (I am pretty closed off about it, and tend to just "power through" the rough times) and most recently, a therapist helps.  I feel like my desire to help care for myself increases greatly when I realize that it is an actual challenge to live with diabetes, and even on my off days I am not lazy, just tired.  As diabetics I think we easily criticize ourselves, and allow others to do it to: this mindset expedites a bout of burnout for me.  Trying to keep positive/ realistic about your efforts, but allowing emotional downtime can help curb some burnout.