How often do you simply think about your blood sugar? The moment you wake up? While you’re walking from the subway to your office building? While you’re trying to celebrate the New Year at your best friend’s party? It’s endless. Whether or not you become noticeably frustrated with your diabetes, the constant thought, energy, and worry is inevitable. And that can lead to burnout.

Diabetes burnout is when the daily management of diabetes becomes overwhelming. People experiencing burnout often feel anger, frustration, sadness, stress, or exhaustion. What that looks like in your life compared to anyone else’s can be drastically different.

Here are some examples of what diabetes burnout can or might look like. Keep in mind that these feelings and actions can qualify as “burnout” whether they last for a day, a week, or a dozen years:

  • feeling sick and tired of diabetes management as a whole because it’s never-ending
  • lying to your loved ones about your blood sugars because they won’t want to hear the real digits
  • eating lots of candy or carbs just to spite your diabetes
  • drinking lots of soda, beer, and cocktails because everybody’s always telling you not to drink those things
  • feeling like you want to give up completely
  • going a few days without taking your oral meds, or taking them hours later than scheduled
  • purposely running your blood sugars high because the idea of experiencing another low blood sugar is too stressful, scary, and inconvenient
  • being careless with carbohydrate-counting because you just don’t have the energy to measure it all out and do the required math for insulin dosing every day
  • avoiding fresh vegetables and fruit because, even though you know they’re good for you, you’re so tired of everybody telling you to be a “good diabetic”
  • feeling stressed out and frustrated because you can’t figure out why your blood sugar is always high after dinner
  • feeling annoyed that you’re the only person in your classroom/office/house who has to poke their fingers, take injections, take pills, and watch every little gram of what they eat all day long
  • spending a week wallowing in sadness after being told by the eye doctor that your retinopathy has progressed
  • feeling frustrated by trying to manage something that always presents new variables and constantly disrupts your day
  • hardly ever checking your blood sugar, if at all, because you just don’t want to
  • taking just enough insulin to barely keep yourself alive
  • feeling constantly angry and drained by the everyday work required to live a healthy life with diabetes

Diabetes burnout doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not taking care of yourself. Instead, it can simply mean that while you go about checking your blood sugar, counting your carbs, taking your oral meds, and taking your insulin, you feel incredibly stressed out and tired. But for others, diabetes burnout can absolutely mean you’re neglecting your blood sugars, harming your body, and struggling so much on an emotional level that you’re putting your physical health in danger. And then there’s somewhere in between: where your body isn’t exactly in grave danger because of your burnout, but you’re definitely not making diabetes a priority and your blood sugars are paying the price.

All forms of burnout matter because how you feel matters, and most importantly, you matter.