Emotional health can influence someone’s physical health, and after decades with type 1 diabetes, I know that my health is best when I’m being cared for as a person, with mental health categorized as high a priority as my A1C or standard deviation of blood sugar.  How you feel about the disease you live with every day matters.

Today, my favorite texting friend (known formally in our house as The Briley) is taking over SUM to talk about the steps she is taking to overcome diabetes burnout and find  some peace in the daily demands of her disease.  You can read more from Briley on her blog InDpendence, or on Twitter as @4thandlife.  

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When I saw my new endocrinologist, Dr. A., she was better than I ever could’ve imagined. She helped me with my problems, and handed me a box of tissues as tears rolled down my face. At the end of our first appointment she asked if I wanted to talk to someone about my burnout. There were so many thoughts flying through my mind convincing me that I didn’t need to meet a mental health professional.But then the memory of being pulled out of a bathtub by my mother after I collapsed from a low BG rushed through my mind and my mental health advocate friend popped into my brain.

I said yes.

I didn’t know if it was for me. I didn’t want to go. But I didn’t want to be scared of my body anymore. I didn’t feel as comfortable with her as I did Dr. A. But it was okay.

There were questions that I was okay with her asking: “How low were you when you passed out?” And questions I tried not to answer: “Are you okay being single?” When she asked if I had a CGM, I had to explain how friends have all given me spare parts, but that I’m interested in getting the G4 with my new insurance. She proclaimed how excited she is for my friends and family to be up to date with my BGs. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I just want to see it on my phone.

It’s funny, when I leave my endo (past & present), I feel better because I feel like I have been hugged and comforted. I never felt comforted when I left her office. But I did feel better. Self-induced fear is a powerfully negative motivator. She believes that the fear of lows is where I sit compared to complete burnout. I have a hard time differentiating the two since whichever the reason is, I eat sugar earlier and bolus later. I was uncomfortable when she suggested raising my target BG (not being my endocrinologist or nurse), but when I saw Dr. A. again, she was very excited to have learned about my session and the why’s behind the change in my care.

I will be going back. But I haven’t yet. Even though I should. See, my co-pays are high enough that being at the office 5x in one month was way too much. She still scheduled me too early than what I can afford, so I cancelled that appointment. (Yes, I told her my very valid reasons for not going as frequently as she prescribes.) When I left her office, I was very unsure about going back since she ignored my information about being able to afford her. However, I feel better after hearing Dr. A. praise her work with me.

Am I out of burnout?

No way.

Am I making healthier choices and focusing on my diabetes in a healthier way?

You bet.

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