You have the power
to stop diabetes
Burnout is a real problem for many kids with type 1 diabetes. Let's face it, taking care of yourself day after day, year after year, and still having highs and lows no matter what you do can get old fast. Not to mention the worrying, pricking your fingers, taking shots or changing your pump, carrying extra snacks, and all the other stressful things that come with the disease. In the words of one wise 5-year-old, "Diabetes stinks!"
But burnout is a very serious matter. It's much more than just having negative feelings about diabetes - those feelings are only normal. Burnout means that you're so fed up that you refuse to deal with having diabetes anymore. You stop taking care of yourself, and your life quickly starts to go down the tubes.
Burnout usually strikes teens and 'tweens (ages 11-12) who have had diabetes for many years, but it can happen to anyone. If you think you or someone you know might be burned out, read the following signs and then find out what you can do to fight back.
Signs of Diabetes Burnout
- You feel out of control and ready to give up
- You are no longer interested in activities you usually enjoy
- You are becoming isolated from friends and family
- You feel unhappy in general
- Your schoolwork is suffering
What You Can Do to Beat Burnout
- Once you realize you are burned out, get help, fast! You don't
have to stay that way.
- Talk to someone you can trust - a friend, a family member, a
counselor, or your doctor. You need support from others now
more than ever.
- Take time out to have fun and be a kid. Do things that will help
take your mind off diabetes.
- Adjust your expectations. Sometimes people get burned out
because they are trying to be perfect or have perfect control
all the time. Try not to be so hard on yourself.
- Don't let your whole life revolve around diabetes. Although
you have to plan for diabetes in order to do the things you
enjoy, you don't have to be a "poster child" or always talk to
people about the disease. Focus on other things and help those
around you to do the same.
- Take it one step at a time, and don't give up!
This article was published in the Spring 2005 issue of Countdown for Kids magazine.