Ginger Vieira recently released her third book called Dealing with Diabetes Burnout, How to Recharge and Get Back on Track When You Feel Frustrated and Overwhelmed by Diabetes. I was once again lucky enough to be given a copy of the book to read. As I prepared to write my overview of the book, I took a glance at how many pages of interest I had marked off. A lot! That means that this was a wonderful book with many excellent points for me to share!
I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I began reading this book. What would I learn? Would much of it apply to me? Who would this book fit? Well, I learned quite a bit. I gained a new perspective and I can think of quite a few people who this book would help. Most importantly however, it is a great hands on resource for people who live with diabetes–Type 1 or Type 2.
This book doesn’t just give you a bunch of information and feel good stories. It is filled with exercises and activities that Ginger challenges you to do to help you deal with your own diabetes burnout. She doesn’t chastise you for the fact that “I haven’t checked my blood sugar in three weeks (ehh…months)” –a fabulous title of one of the chapters of the book. Instead she reminds you that you are being asked to manage something that your body is supposed to do on its own based on a variety of other physiological and hormonal processes. (page 21). She tells you to look at all of the great things that you are doing and praise yourself for the one thing you are getting right. “developing the ability to step back and see what wasn’t working–rather than blaming yourself–is the trick to creating a new plan that will lead you to your goal.” (Page 33)
This theme is further emphasized by all of the great chapter titles like “I want to be perfect by tomorrow (or I’m giving up!) where Ginger notes that some times are not ideal for change. She suggests that you create your own personalized “pick up plan” to help you refocus in times of stress.
Ginger offers tips on how to handle support from well-meaning people who really don’t get it as well as how to best make use of people who do get it and do want to help. She shows you how to use technology to make your life a bit easier as well as great real life tips for those of us who would just like to live a healthier lifestyle but find ourselves giving up too soon.
Being a parent of a child with diabetes, as I began to read this book I felt horrible. I was a failure. I was the parent who struggled to understand how you could “forget” to do something that you have done all of your life. Did I push too hard? Should I have been calmer when his doctor praised him for testing more than once per day and I was looking to see 8-12 readings per day? I was sure that I had totally ruined my son’s childhood.
Thankfully I got some reprieve from my incredible guilt when I moved into the chapter called “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. Here Ginger talks about raising a child with diabetes and how truly difficult it is to do. She highlights many of the fears that we have. The torture we go through when our child is low and disoriented or the failure we feel when they are high and we are positive that we alone are responsible for the kidney damage they may one day have. She offers more wisdom and options to dealing with our children and how to get through to our teens. I was left knowing that I hadn’t scared my child completely…well at least not in that realm.
Nearing the end of the book, I came across one of the very best quotes I have ever read on the issue of diabetes care and one that should be framed and read by everyone dealing with this disease (especially us guilt laden parents)….
“Doing the best any of us can do in life with diabetes does not have to mean perfect blood sugars all the time. Sometimes our best is awesome and sometimes it’s not quite so awesome but it’s still our best in that moment. And that’s okay. It has to be, because “perfection” is a crazy expectation.”
Dealing with Diabetes Burnout is a fabulous resource. If I had one criticism of the book it would be having too many personal stories illustrating various points in the book. Reading through page after page of examples of other people’s burnout was taxing on my incredibly shrinking attention span. That said however, I have no clue as to how I would have cut back on some of the submissions that were used. They were often very powerful stories that needed to be shared.
Who should read this book? Anyone living with diabetes because as Ginger Vieira notes, at one point you will go through some form of burnout. To a lesser degree, parents of children of diabetes (no matter what age your “child” may be). This book will give you insight into the emotions that your child may be dealing with and will also give you a few tips to help you in your own life as well.