Diabetes Blogs

Exhaustion Doesn't Always Mean Nap Time

Mental exhaustion is a very real thing for type 1 diabetics.

I can't count on one hand the number of times a day I mumble the words "I'm exhausted" to myself.  But this isn't the type of exhaustion that can be cured by a cat nap (although it doesn't hurt).  What I'm talking about and what many type 1 diabetics face on a daily basis is mental exhaustion.

Recently I went to see my endocrinologist and was frustrated to see that my A1C still hasn't budged from the 8s towards my goal of 6. Since insurance won't cover me for a CGM, I've been cracking down and trying to be my own sensor--testing every two hours, writing everything down, highlighting patterns, testing rates and ratios constantly, and basically trying to figure out what the hell is going on. While managing your diabetes is something we all know we have to do from the get-go, managing it extra tight and trying to figure out what's happening inside your body can be a bit trying.  Especially when you're in the process of returning to graduate school, getting your neck realigned, remembering to take your medications every day at all times of the day, and so on.  Being extra cautious with diabetes increases your mental load astronomically, which can in turn lead to mental exhaustion.

What does this mean exactly? It means taking a nap isn't so much about wanting to rest your eyes and body, but also about wanting to rest your brain. But once you wake up, your diabetes is still there. The exhaustion is still there. What you really want is a vacation from diabetes itself--which we all know isn't exactly possible.

Tips

What's helped me is making a conscious effort to relax. Once or twice a week I treat myself to a bubble bath.  When my blood sugar is low and I am waiting for it to come up, trying to be patient and not to eat everything in my kitchen, I let myself lay on the couch and zone out on some TV.  Also, I write everything down.  This way it isn't floating around in my mind taking up more room, and I don't forget what my blood sugars are.  Until I unlock the labyrinth that is my blood sugar patterns though, I suppose the main thing to remember is to grit my teeth and bear it.

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