Monday, January 10, 2011

Digging My Way Out

Buckle up, kids, this could be a long one.

Ok, so you should probably know that I'm a bibliophile and overall english nerd.  If I'd had time, I would have loved to add an English major in college (as if I didn't do enough writing with my psychology and theology majors).  I worked in the writing lab, and am a total word nerd.  I get it from my dad--the human dictionary.  Back in college, I used to call him when writing a paper and say, "Dad, I'm thinking of another word for ________," and he would rattle off a list of synonyms.  I even called him on behalf of a few of my roommates.

I also seem to be developing this (sometimes annoying) habit.  I love words, so I'm going to bore you with some definitions now (thanks dictionary.com).  Apathy means absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement; also freedom from emotion of any kind.

Burnout (also dictionary.com) means fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.

Huh, wow, I didn't even realize apathy was in the definition of burnout.  Guess that means I'm on the right track.

So, now you know what I'm talking about.  Apathy and burnout.  Welcome to my life for the last few years.  I know I'm not alone in this.  A number of people have blogged about their burnout (Kelly did and also posted some burnout links here).  And Kerri mentioned apathy in her post.

I am well acquainted with these terms.  As my bio says, I was diagnosed with D at age 10, less than 2 weeks before the start of 4th grade.  I'll spare you my life story (for now), but all in all, I don't even remember life before D.

My D care has been ok over the years.  We all know how hard it is to balance the bgs of a kiddo, but thanks to a lot of work on my mom's part, mine weren't too bad.  And college brings a host of it's own challenges.  Still, my A1Cs have remained consistently in the 7s.  At my last endo appointment, it was 8.0, the highest it's been in my adult life.  Which amazes me.  It really does.  When my endo read the number, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  I had been expecting much worse.

I'm not sure when the burnout started, but it was sometime after I got married.  Not that this has anything to do with my wonderful husband--far from it.  I love him more than anything in the world!  He's always so supportive and encouraging, and strives to understand as much as any Type 3 (non-D loved ones) can.

So who knows why?  But I had it--both apathy and burnout--hardcore.  I still went through all the motions like a good little D patient.  Still checked my sugars at least 4 times a day.  Bolused for my food, changed my sets out when I should have, went to the endo.

But I didn't care.  Not about any of it.  Not that my A1C was slowly rising.  Not that I was constantly running in the 200-300s.  Not that I only counted carbs when I ate something out of a box with a nutrition label.  Everything else was SWAGing.

I should have been upset.  Looking back, I'm horrified that I did that to myself.  Also not helping my sugars was my emotional eating.  That's something I've struggled with for a long time.  Stuffing my face with empty carbs and calories, SWAG bolusing, and not even knowing why.

Not that I cared why.  Looking at my wedding pictures made me sick.  Good grief, was I ever that thin?  All my emotional eating led to me gaining a good bit of weight, and go through A LOT of insulin.  And then the guilt sets in.  You need to lose weight.  Don't eat that.  You need to get your bs under control.
But I just couldn't.  It was easier to stuff my face and not care what the number on the meter said.  It was easier than dealing with it.

But dealing with what?  I didn't know.  I love my husband.  I live close to my family, who are all nothing but supportive.  I have wonderful friends (even if most of them live out of state).  And I love my job, not that it doesn't stress me out sometimes.  So what was wrong?

Now, I can see it.  All the emotional eating and D apathy were symptoms of a severe case of D burnout. Serious, hardcore, deep burnout.

Fast forward to November 2010.  I was at the end of my rope.  My endo appointment was coming up.  I'd already cancelled it twice because I was afraid of what my A1C would be.  I knew I needed to go, but I was terrified.  What would the number be?  What would my endo say?

On a whim, I decided to join Juvenation, an online community for t1s and their families.  Juvenation has been my saving grace.  I didn't even realize how alone I felt until I started poking around the site and reading some of the threads, posts, and blogs.  I had an epiphany.

I.  Am.  Not.  Alone.  I found support.  I found a name for what I was struggling with--burnout.  Naming my struggle gave me power over it.  I knew I was going to be ok when I read this post by my now-friend C (thanks for that one, by the way).

Through Juvenation, I was introduced to the DOC (Diabetic Online Community).  I started reading every d-blog I could find.  I got a Twitter account.  I am engaged and involved in my life again--the apathy is gone.

This is the part where I thank all my fellow DOCers.  Without all of you, I know I would still be entrenched in that burnout.  You are helping me dig my way out, one day at a time.  I owe you all so much.  More than words can say.

That's why I started this blog.  If the hell I have been through can help just one person, then it all will have been worth it.  I know it sounds cheesy and corny, but it's true.  I know how you feel.  I have been there.  And thanks to my family, friends, new CGM, and the DOC, I am digging my way out.

5 comments:

  1. Great post. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. I am so proud to be your friend, Jess. Anyone who struggles hard but is still able to come out on top has a lot of courage and is a true fighter. Glad to know you, and help you, and SO very glad you found us on Juvenation :o)

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  3. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who is grappling with apathy and burnout, and that we're all doing what we can to claw out from underneath it.

    Thanks for writing this. The honesty resonates. :)

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  4. Congrats to you for digging and for taking the steps to find the support you were looking for.

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  5. great post! As I was reading this...I was thinking "Is she reading MY mind??!" I haven't had Type 1 as long as you--3.5 years. But, I am already feeling that burnout...my last A1C was high--but it is slowly declining. I try to think of that as my motivation, but then I'll be like "oh, I'll just eat this today...then TOMORROW, I'll really get on my bg." There's always an excuse, and the time is now! Thanks for reminding us that we are not alone...and it's not wrong to mess up or think the things you wrote about. I'm glad you're so brave to share them with the world.
    -Joanna

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