Four weeks into a family holiday, away from the mundanity of every day, away from schedules, away from stresses, and I can see just how much better I feel – emotionally as well as diabetes-wise.
After writing an extremely raw account of the diabetes burnout I have been experiencing for some time, I have spent time wondering just how I was going to get diabetes back to a place that would stop causing me so much concern and guilt and stress and anxiety. Because that’s the thing with the way I do diabetes burnout – I don’t just burnout, I then focus on the burnout. Which makes me more burnt out. And then I focus on how much bigger the burnout is getting. You get the picture.
But here, in New York, surrounded by my family and visits from friends, I am feeling that things are slowly, but surely, balancing out again.
Diabetes management has gently snaked it’s way back into my life – just as a regular part of my routine. I’ve found myself checking my BGLs with more frequency – and less frustration – than had been the norm at the end of recent times.
I don’t get to the end of the day and find a pressing feeling on my chest because I have been suppressing the guilt of not checking my BGLs. I don’t ignore high BGLs that I know to be the result of a pump line that really needs to be changed. Diabetes tasks like these just happen; far more effortlessly.
But I am taking things slowly and easily. Baby steps.
I decided not to reconnect my CGM after the sensor fell out during the first week here. I’m spending most of the time with my family, so not feeling I need it as my safety net as I do when either travelling alone or at home at night while Aaron is out doing gigs.
I know that this isn’t reality – as much as I wish it really were – but I am absolutely savouring this time. This somewhat alternate existence is such a privilege – I feel lucky. I feel happy, actually. For the first time in a very, very long time, I feel truly content.
And of course, that makes the overall shitty-ness of diabetes a little easier to manage. But (make no mistake) it doesn’t make it less shitty overall…
I came to this realisation the other day as I was pushing in a new infusion set. I packed away the waste and tucked the freshly-primed pump into my bra, thinking about how much I really dislike diabetes tasks. Because I do. I don’t want to check my BGL or shove a sharp introducer needle into my side to re-site my cannula. But I just do it.
When I am burnt out, one of the reasons I don’t want to do these things is because I hate them. But even when I am just getting on with things and all is ticking along okay, I still don’t enjoy these tasks.
And you know what – that’s perfectly okay!
Perhaps for me what comes after burnout isn’t just getting back on track. Perhaps every episode of burnout – however long or debilitating – ends with a realisation that diabetes is still a shit. There’s just a little more acceptance.
And a tangible sigh of relief to find myself seeing some light for the first time in a very, very long time.