Living with type 1 diabetes, actually any diabetes, is a commitment to lifelong learning. My diabetes changes all the time and I need to learn all the time to keep up with those changes and adapt.
I don't remember the first time I heard the words "Diabetes Burnout" so I think it was at least 5-10 years ago. I do remember that while at that time that I had no experience of diabetes burnout.
However, knowing about something and realising that it was happening to me were two different things. I still don't know if I've ever really experience diabetes burnout, or not.
I experienced some mild postnatal depression after I had my second baby. I was living in a new town, didn't know many people, I had two children under the age of 3 and was totally exhausted and felt alone.
My son's spent the first 7 days of his life in the NeoNatal ward and the Irish health system being as dysfunctional as it is I felt we were not treated very well, causing a distressing situation to be almost unbearable.
There was so much going on in my life that was consuming my mind and I didn't have any time, energy or thought space left for diabetes. I still did my blood glucose tests and injected my insulin but beyond correcting in the moment I didn't step back to see the overall diabetes picture. I couldn't!
I was just treading the water to keep my head above it. If I stopped treading, even for a minute, then I would sink.
This period of time made me seek out other people with diabetes for the first time! And with our new support group and the help of a new endocrinologist I came through it. It was slow but I was saved from drowning in my diabetes.
The second time I experienced diabetes burnout, it was a symptom of grief. Again, my whole being was consumed with trying to function in the basics of daily life that my brain could not see through the fog of sadness and grief.
It took all of my energy to complete mindless tasks never mind the tasks that required thought.
I have a fantastic husband but my concern for protecting him from how I was really feeling and my willingness to be sensitive to his grief also meant that the person who I always turn to was not going to be able to help me in this situation. This time I had to get help from a counsellor to find my way out of the fog.
Once I made that first phone call to make my first appointment the fog started to clear. I suppose the prospect that help was coming allowed me to breath a little easier.
People have talked about people with diabetes suffering from depression and maybe that's what I had both times with diabetes burnout being a symptom.
"Diabetes burnout" is not the same thing as depression, instead it is something that takes place when a person is either unwilling to change, or simply tired of the endless attention diabetes care requires. (from http://www.joslin.org/info/avoid_diabetes_burnout.html)
Diabetes burnout is very real and there is lots of information out there to arm yourself against it. Knowledge is power as they say.