Burnout is something that many people with chronic illness deal with — from arthritis to MS to diabetes. In this week's Twitter chat, we discussed the signs of burnout, how it affects our relationships and our diabetes care, and how to cope with these feelings.

We were honored to have Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, (@DiabeticTalks) as our special guest. Eliot, a type 1 diabetic himself, is a psychotherapist specializing in helping diabetics improve their management through physical and mental health. To learn some of his effective tips for coping with burnout, check out his article "How to Understand, Identify and Resolve Diabetes Burnout."

We also welcomed Jewels Doskicz, RN, (@She_Sugar) back as our facilitator. Jewels has type 1 diabetes and so does her daughter, so she certainly had some thoughts to contribute about overcoming burnout.

We began with some introductions so all participants could get acquainted.

Introductions for Diabetes Twitter chat #DCDE


Question 1

We then launched into our first question:
What does diabetes burnout mean to you?

Our diabetes burnout expert Eliot contributed right away:
feeling too mentally and physically exhausted

Others agreed with him:
diabetes burnout numbs you to consequences

But, Jewels noted that most of the time, our burnout passes:
diabetes burnout passes after a moment of exhaustion

Question 2

We then asked "What kind of mental health support were you given at diagnosis? (for you or for a loved one)?"

Many said that they received no mental health support at the time they were diagnosed and noted that mental health continues to be under-emphasized in diabetes care:

no mental health support for those diagnosed with diabetes

A participant @Rosie_Tomato said that she sought therapy on her own after her diagnosis, college and depression became too much for her to handle. She then shared some eye-opening thoughts about what's it's like to live with type 2 diabetes:
stigma with type 2 diabetes, especially when a teenager

Other participants offered @Rosie_Tomato understanding about dealing with type 2 diabetes:
young and being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and being told to lose weight

Question 3

We then transitioned into the question:
What kind of education did you receive on managing diabetes stress?

Many who were diagnosed in earlier decades resonated with this tweet:
you could die if you keep this up

A large amount of our participants agreed that endocrinologists and other healthcare professionals are not versed in helping diabetics manage stress:
healthcare professionals care more about managing disease than managing stress

Join a support group for diabetes care
@SweetInked then told us that she joined online support groups on Facebook and uses our weekly Twitter chats as a source of support.

Eliot recommends psychotherapy for managing diabetes stress:
learning coping strategies to manage stress in psychotherapy

Question 4

We followed by asking "How does the emotional strain of living with diabetes impact your life/relationships?"

Eliot stressed communication:
open and honest communication for a good relationship while having diabetes

Some expressed fear when opening themselves to relationships:
romantic relationships and diabetes
@MissTrendShe then said she would look for a romantic partner who would accept all of her, including her diabetes.

Others found managing diabetes and relationships to require effort, but to be worth it:
relationships can be stressful and emotional but also a source of support

therapy and new purpose can help improve relationships

living in the moment and embracing happiness and gratitude

Question 5

We then talked about the emotional and physical affects of diabetes burnout, starting off with the question
Is burnout emotional or physical?

Many concurred that burnout is both emotional and physical:
our emotions and health are intertwined

exhausting both physically and mentally

Others found it to be purely emotional:
emotional impact of diabetes burnout

Question 6

We then discussed strategies for eliminating stress and burnout and began with this question:
How do you reduce the stress of living with diabetes?

Some said to just let it go and focus on small goals:
one day at a time and don't let diabetes stress interfere with your daily life

bad or good blood sugar readings just a stepping stone to the next action

@AmyFord311 even suggests treating yourself every now and again:
treat yourself

Eliot recommends focusing on improving your blood sugar control:
better control leads to better self-esteem

Many of our participants stressed focusing on the positive to keep burnout at bay.

positive attitude for managing diabetes

This was a very successful Twitter chat with some great insights! Make sure to tune in next week for another Twitter chat on Tuesday, February 10 at 9:00 p.m. ET, #DCDE.

To learn more about Twitter chats:

How to Participate in a Twitter Chat
Diabetes and Carb Counting: #DCDE Twitter Chat Summary
Diabetes and Healthy Weight: #DCDE Twitter Chat Summary