Blood Sugar Trampoline

FFL/Children w/Diabetes, UK 2014 Diabetes Burnout

Avoiding and Overcoming Diabetes Burnout

Presented by Jill Weissberg-Benchell who is a licensed clinical psychologist and a certified diabetes educator for 20 years. She also co-wrote Teens with Diabetes: A Clinician’s Guide which is available on Amazon. She currently works in Chicago, Illinois.

Do you know what Diabetes Burnout is? If you don’t, you are so lucky! But I’m thinking that a lot of you know EXACTLY what it is. Or maybe you’re not lucky, that you have experienced it but didn’t know what it was called.
For me, diabetes burnout is the feeling of being done with diabetes, I feel so tired of having diabetes, tired of having to do all the things that I do to keep well. I still end up doing all of the tasks of type 1 diabetes but I don’t have any energy left to process the information to make the changes that would make life better, easier.
So, I was especially interested in this session because I’ve been finding it more and more difficult to fight burnout and wanted more knowledge and power over it.
Firstly, let me tell you about how Jill Weissberg-Benchell should be worshipped. She does not have type 1 diabetes but she understands type 1 diabetes like she has it! People like Jill are few, very few. She could describe scenes from our lives as if she had been to all of our homes and witnessed it herself. She really got everyone in the room talking. 

However, I was a bit disappointed in the session because even though we laughed, cried, shared and patted each other on the backs; it was dominated by parents of children with type 1 diabetes. Usually, this isn’t relevant but when the parents were sharing how they avoid burnout with weekends away from their children I was a “smidge” jealous. 


But my envy was short lived. Parents really do have a tough time and while I can’t get away from my diabetes, I only have to take care of myself; I know exactly how I’m feeling at all times. I don’t have to guess like a parent has to with a child.

That aside; Jill was a mine of information. She reassured us that today there is only a 3% risk that people with Type 1 will develop complications. I had suspected that this was true because of the better management tools and treatments available today. Its nice to have someone say it.
Also, when someone in the room voiced everyone’s biggest fear; “dead in bed” syndrome, she said that in most cases (not all but in most) dead in bed is caused by alcohol or drugs. And I believe her because she is a medical professional, has access to the data, and because I need to believe her. 

I did get something out of this session that I hadn’t expected. I realised that one of the ways I tackle burnout is through my diabetes support group. I always feel uplifted when I meet my other D-people. I do the opposite of what parents of children with diabetes do; I immerse myself in all things diabetes to try and avoid burnout.

Attending the Friends for Life UK conference in London was definitely exceeded all of my expectations and I met some fantastic people from the world of diabetes. People like Melissa & Lesley from InPuT Diabetes, Angela from Scotland, Joe Soloweijczyk from A Mile in My Shoes, to mention but a few. 

Friends for Life UK 2015 has been scheduled for October 30th to November 1st. More details will be announced on www.childrenwithdiabetes.com website.

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