A good friend has a new diabetes book out that really speaks to us. It's all about those times in our diabetes lives when we feel the pressure of our broken pancreas weighing on us... when we reach the end of our ropes so to speak and just feel like we can't go on doing what we know we need to do.
The title of this latest work by fellow type 1, life coach and accomplished author Ginger Vieira pretty much says it all: "Dealing with Diabetes Burnout: How to Recharge and Get Back On Track When You Feel Frustrated and Overwhelmed Living with Diabetes."
This is a welcome and very timely addition to my personal collection at the moment, given that the issue of D-burnout is often top of mind for me. I've experienced it countless times over my three decades of living with type 1 diabetes, and am actually struggling to climb out of that burnout hole again at this moment. The book is also particular timely given all the current conversation about the distinctions between depression, distress and burnout.
This is actually the third book by Ginger, who was diagnosed more than a decade ago and works as a personal health coach (and is of course well-known in the online community as part of the DiabetesDaily team). Ginger wrote "Your Diabetes Science Experiment" in 2011 and then last year, released a book on emotional eating. Her newest 244-pager on D-burnout follows the theme of dealing with the emotional aspects of this exasperating illness. If you've been living with diabetes for any extended period of time, the topics explored in Ginger's book may not be too surprising. They're pretty standard for what you'd expect in a guide on diabetes burnout -- everything from bumps in the road re: food, exercise, blood sugar checks, doctor relationships, and communicating with others about diabetes. But Ginger's personality is unique and refreshing above all else, so she brings a unique style to addressing these topics that really makes this book stand out. In fact, Ginger's done something remarkable here: she's managed to make reading about diabetes burnout fun.
Little things like adding some flair to her chapter titles make a big difference -- like "When Every Number Feels Like a Grade," and "Yes, I Ate 17 Cookies... So Sue Me!" and "I Haven't Checked My Blood Sugar In Three Weeks (Ehhh... Months)." Those titles totally pulled me into the chapter, making me laugh or nod my head as I started reading the respective chapter with tips, tricks, and activity worksheets.
Right from the start, she talks about striving not to be perfect, but to do your best in balancing all the things diabetes requires of you. She notes that there's no standard definition of diabetes burnout, but rather that feeling "can come come in purple, round, tall, or be covered in spots (i.e. it varies for everyone)."
The best parts, IMHO, are that it's also a community-collaborative book that includes dozens of insights from other people living with diabetes, even several "Type Awesome" friends and family members involved in our lives. I counted 32 D-Community folk specifically, along with a handful of others who chimed in on the professional level or were cited for their own work, plus Ginger lists several diabetes community sites where people can turn to for help in dealing with diabetes.
I'm honored to have contributed to this book myself, with a brief snippet about my D-support team included in the latter pages (see page 202, if you're curious). Plus our own Ask D'Mine columnist Wil Dubois is also one of the many cited, on page 99.
Ginger's book is also interactive, just like her previous book, in the sense that she includes some very helpful worksheets and activity suggestions to prompt you to dig deeper into your own D-world and any burnout you may be going through.
I very munch enjoyed the part where Ginger suggested thinking about diabetes emotions like you're being interviewed by Oprah, Barbara Walters, Jimmy Fallon or some other famous media icon. How would you tell one of them about your feelings, worries and stresses related to diabetes?
In another chapter, Ginger describes her 100-pound goldendoodle dog named Blue and how stressful it was when he was a puppy during mud season, because she felt like she way always cleaning up. In a perfect analogy to diabetes, she describes how she looks back and wonders how she could be stressed over Blue just being a dog? After all, messes are just what dogs do... Same goes for D-burnout, as "it's simply a fact of life that there will be times in my life when I just don't have the energy and motivation I need to keep up with my diabetes as well as I'd like to." Now Ginger has learned to appreciate Blue's boundless energy and spirit because that's what makes him her dog -- and she tries to have the same approach to all the daily aspects of diabetes. Love the analogy, Ginger!
As mentioned, I've been dealing with diabetes burnout myself recently so Ginger's book has been a big help for me in working out some of the emotional and mental particulars. I'm always encouraged by tips or tricks from other PWDs. And it was especially helpful to use Ginger's activity worksheets that guided me to go through the chapters and jot down notes about how I feel, and then use that to dissect my current situation and think about moving forward more productively.
So, I give Ginger's newest book two boluses up (err... thumbs up!).
Released on June 18, 2014, "Dealing with Diabetes Burnout: How To Recharge and Get Back On Track When You Feel Frustrated and Overwhelmed Living with Diabetes" is available on Amazon.com for $9.99 in Kindle format and $14.09 in paperback.