Happy World Diabetes Day, Advocates. I’m looking at you.

So here we are. World Diabetes Day, 2014. And everyone’s burned out.

Sorry to throw cold water on a day when we should all be showing our true diabetes selves to the world. But hey, the burned-out part is part of our diabetes selves, isn’t it?

It is. There are also soooo-oo-ooooo many initiatives out there right now that even energetic-little-old-me is feeling overwhelmed. And that’s what I want to talk about.

Because I think there’s a difference between feeling burned out and feeling overwhelmed. Burned out is “I’ve done all these things and I’m so tired and I just can’t muster the energy for one more task”. Plus “I’m tired of doing all these things and seeing no outward result”. Completely understandable, and believe me, I’ve been there.

On the other hand, overwhelmed, to me, is “Big Blue Test”, and “Dexcom Share has been approved”, “#Vote4DM”, and “#MedicareCGM”, “Blue Circles” and “Diabetes Awareness Month” and “National Diabetes Awareness Month” and “National Diabetes Month” and “Where do I start?”. Again, I totally get it. It’s hard to keep up with everything and give 100 percent effort to all the things.

It’s even possible to feel burned out and overwhelmed at the same time. Plus, the magnitude of this month in addition to the big things people are doing has a certain way of making the rest of us (and what we’re doing) feel kind of small by comparison.
 
 
So let’s take a deep breath. Find some perspective.

Let’s acknowledge a few diabetes truths here:

– If you’re living with diabetes, or helping someone who lives with diabetes, You Are An Advocate. That’s true if you’re in your first year or your fiftieth. Or sixtieth. Or… you get the idea. Pat yourself on the back every day. You deserve it.

– If you’re telling your story by writing a blog, shooting a video, tweeting your #WalkWithD, participating in the 24 hour #WDDChat2014 today, or engaging with your diabetes brothers and sisters via Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, or any other social media outlet, You Are An Advocate.

– If you’ve mentored another person living with or affected by diabetes, either online or offline, whether anyone was looking or not, guess what? You Are An Advocate. Extra points if you picked someone up who was feeling defeated by this disease.

– If you’ve ever set the record straight for someone who didn’t know better, dispelling myths and taking back your dignity, whether anyone was looking or not, guess what? You Too Are An Advocate.

If you’re living with diabetes and pursuing your athletic goals through adversity and despite the extra toll it takes on your psyche and your blood sugar, You Are An Advocate.

– If you’re a woman who has lived through both diabetes and pregnancy, You Are Most Definitely An Advocate. And Congratulations Jen and Kelley and Elizabeth.

– If you’re a Mom or a Dad who is raising a child at the same time you’re managing your diabetes, or you’re a Mom or Dad raising a child living with diabetes, gosh, I have such admiration for you, and by the way, You Are An Advocate.
 
 
There are many ways we show our advocacy, and it doesn’t always have something to do with the latest D-cause. Often, it has to do with the examples we set by living our lives with diabetes, rather than having our lives ruled by diabetes. There are no levels of deserving. You are just as worthy of my respect and admiration as anyone ever cursed by this chronic condition.

So while you rest up from your diabetes burnout and your diabetes-advocacy-event overload, remember to acknowledge the amazing ways you’re already making a difference. Write a list of your advocacy accomplishments. Look at it whenever you need a boost. If you want, you can leave a comment listing them here, either with your name or anonymously. I’ll bet when you do, you’ll find a lot to be proud of. Know that I and many others are proud of you. And grateful.

Thank You.

And please remember: I support you… no conditions.
 
 
 

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Comments

  • Scott E  On November 14, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Wow, Stephen, thank you. Especially for that last bullet. I rarely think of balancing the responsibilities of raising kids with those of managing diabetes. I just think of balancing raising kids with living life (as ALL parents do), because to me, “living life” has included managing diabetes for as long as I can remember. Never did I think about diabetes as that added-extra. So thanks for the pat on the back…one that I never thought to give myself.

    Like

  • Laddie  On November 14, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Lovely post, Stephen.

    Like

  • Ally  On November 14, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Loved this post! Everyone advocates in a personal way, and there are sooooo many diabetes options to choose from. Just playing our own little or big parts is enough. Happy WDD2014 to you, Stephen!

    Like

  • Karen  On November 16, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    It’s like you looked into my life and described how I’m feeling perfectly. Overwhelmed and burned-out all at once. Thanks for a great post and for helping me feel like someone understands.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Probably Rachel  On November 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    This (and the comments) makes me feel much less alone. I got to the point recently where the only thing I could when it comes to diabetes was take care of myself and on Friday I was both burned out by diabetes and social media as well as overwhelmed.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • StephenS  On November 18, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Thanks Rachel! That’s very nice of you to say. You are not alone, and it’s okay to make taking care of yourself the top priority.

      Like

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