#docBurnout2015- self-care addition

First of all, anyone who puts themselves out there, you are BRAVE– your voice matters and adds value to the discussion. Whether you are (writing or tweeting or anything in between) doing this to get your voice out there, wanting to be a part of a community and not feel alone, educating the world around, etc, etc- GO YOU– whatever your goals may be.

DOC- thanks for the laughs, the feels when I don’t even realize I need to let it out, the OVERWHELMING support I constantly feel, creating a community for some people who don’t have access to it, getting the discussion and information out there, and talking about what some people don’t want to talk about. (that’s exhausting and so much- so thank goodness the work is divided- am I right?)

Growing up, I felt that everyone around me was telling me what I needed or wanted, what I should do, what to advocate for, and so much more. I had to push my way into the conversation or find ways to make sure I was heard. I was also wondering, where are the other loud PWD’s? The outspoken? The ones with an opinion? Because the people I went to school with who had Type 1- wanted to hide- didn’t want to be a part of it (which I totally understand). And the local diabetes community I was a part of didn’t meet all the time- camp only once year and I didn’t live close to a lot of stuff going on. When I entered the DOC and heard (figuratively and literally) others, I was like there are other people with Diabetes out there talking (but all voices matter!)!!!!
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When I started writing about DOC Burnout and seeing some of the discussion online….and no offense to any of the writers (because it is good stuff and it needs to be talked about),  I felt my head nodding in agreement with many of them and could feel the triggers of burnout that I recognize in myself- so I will quickly go over DOC, Social Media/Blogging, Burnout- and then move onto self-care.

Basically though, if I feel burned out- I step away- I stop– I do not force myself to be involved or to write. I do what feels most natural. If I feel like I’ve already a little too much Diabetes, Mental Health, or even life for the day… I step back- I don’t participate in that online chat on twitter or scan social media or write a blog post. and guess what? That is PERFECTLY okay.

I mostly feel DOC Burnout in conjunction with a rough day (not just diabetes). I especially felt DOC Burnout when I was in the middle of Diabetes Burnout myself- my blog was silent, twitter nothing- all went with my general feelings of burnout. Not to say I don’t feel it in general, but I don’t have a specific trigger I would say- it depends on the day.

So simply put, if I don’t feel it that day, I leave it for another day. 

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So I recently wrote about boundaries and things I do because there is a lot of Diabetes in my life (I have it, DOC, work, blog, friends, etc).

So as a person with Social Work degree as well as my strong feelings about mental health and taking care of myself; mind, body, and soul- I would rather write about the self-care I do- which is helpful for me if I am ever feeling burnt out and truthfully, I think writing about DOC Burnout, might actually… burn me out a little if I write too much? Let the self-care train begin!

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(something I craft-ed- YAY pinterest- sadly didn’t survive my multiple moves)

Self-care. Every. Single. Day. Even if it is just 5 minutes

Some of these things I do on a regular basis, on occasion, when I feel I need it (i.e. a rough day or feeling burned out), etc- it’s always changing. I have learned that self-care is needed…. the hard way…

  1. I thoroughly enjoy “The Little Things.” I laugh at them (and myself). I celebrate them. They add up!
  2. My regular Instagram posts (@mindy_bartleson).
    1. Almost daily, or a few times each day, I post a photo of travel (or other latergrams or other posts) with a quote.
    2. This is not for “more likes” or “more follows” but I’ll admit that these are a nice plus.
    3. How is this self-care? I enjoy pictures- so I get to look at pictures every day for this. I like travel; planning and past- I get to get into that. I LOVE quotes- so I get to read and type out a quote each day.
  3. I am ALWAYS listening to music. I even have different playlists for different moods or situations.
  4. I read a minimum of 20 minutes each day.
  5. I love to craft.
  6. If I am angry, I clean– so… watch out!
  7. I know this is looked at differently- and people think it is bad or not healthy… BUT. I like to binge watch TV so I can “turn my brain off.”
  8. I enjoy running. (and yoga).
  9. I “treat myself.”
    1. That can range from a yummy treat or something to buy.
  10. I talk with my support system.
  11. I enjoy popping bubble wrap.
  12. If I have a had a bad day- I watch “Legally Blonde.
    1. Depending on the “scope” of the bad day… I may have a movie marathon.
      1. “Legally Blonde” 1 and 2; “Perks of Being a Wallflower;” “Pitch Perfect;” and Disney movies.
  13. I let myself enjoy those few minutes (but let’s be honest- I extend it as long as possible) where I am changing my CGM and pumpsite… Where nothing is connected to me and for a few short moments… I am free. 
  14. (Plus the other things I mentioned in my boundaries blog.)

I’m sure there is more.

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(not my photo)- but it gets the point across!

and remember- we all handle things differently because we are all so unique and have different perspectives on so much- Your Diabetes May Vary- right? 

Mother Nature is calling… again. Wait, on a regular basis.

I don’t know if you would call this embarrassing or scary or annoying (or all three plus other adjectives concerning this). Maybe even TMI….?

But first- let’s time travel.

I was in Kindergarten, age 5 or 6. Pre-diagnosis in 1st Grade.

As a child, there was something about asking to use the bathroom during a non-specified time, that I wouldn’t say terrified me, but I had no intention of asking. It wasn’t just needing to go the bathroom- I didn’t like asking for things or having all eyes on me (some things don’t change).

I remember being in our scheduled computer lab time.

I’m sure you know what I am about to say.

I realized I needed to go to the bathroom, but I didn’t want to ask… I realized I wouldn’t make it to our scheduled break…

Instead of asking my teachers to be excused… I peed my pants in the middle of the computer lab. I had NO intention of even telling anyone. I knew I would be going home soon, and I would rather go, not telling anyone.

Luckily, my teacher noticed. Luckily, everything was handled discretely. Luckily, I had a change of clothes at school.

I was told to let people know- thinking to myself- I have learned my lesson- not the asking when I need something lesson that I still struggle with- but the lesson that even if I didn’t need to use the bathroom at the time, if there was an opportunity (scheduled or the fact that there is one nearby), I would take it Therefore, I wouldn’t need to ask for help or have people watching me, but I wouldn’t have an accident either.

What is the point of this flashback? If I find a restroom, even if I don’t need to go, I use it. Because who knows where the next one (or next time) will be.. Because who knows if it will fit my standards… Because who know what Diabetes will throw at me…

To this day-

  • Right before I leave for anywhere (from home, work, a location, etc); am about to be in class, a meeting, an appointment, or something scheduled; before I work out; I make sure to find the restroom.
  • If I had a low blood sugar and used juice to treat, if I know I have had more liquids, if I don’t feel well, ESPECIALLY if I am traveling (especially in a foreign country). Etc. Etc.

ESPECIALLY- After a high blood sugar–  I forgot (thirst and needing to use the restroom) this was all a part of a high blood sugar… How could I forget?

I can’t believe this didn’t click- at one point- I thought- is something wrong with me? Because after a high blood sugar, when I have to go- I HAVE TO GO.

Eventually it clicked. There isn’t necessarily something wrong with me.. just a part of Diabetes.

About 6 months ago- I made one of my many trips back and forth from Athens, GA to Atlanta, GA.

Drive from Atlanta to Athens… a normal day… I was about  halfway to ¾ of the way back  home on 316- for those of you who know 316, there is a stretch of “nothing.”- Of course, I passed all of the stores and restaurants and was in “nothing” land.

That’s when it hit me. I needed to go the bathroom- NOW- because of that high blood sugar earlier.

There were moments I thought

  • How will I explain that I peed my pants while I was driving?
  • Should I pull over?

It was touch and go for a while, but I made it to the nearby fast food restaurant- I went RUNNING in. Doing a dance as I went. I BARELY made it. Thank goodness there wasn’t any traffic.

Of course- I remembered Kindergarten me as well as the time I studied abroad- I learned quickly.

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(photo from Studying Abroad in 2013 in Paris) 

I sadly (and laughing to myself a little bit because it’s kind of funny) don’t think it’s always avoidable.

In closing, as part of a pretty great quote says “laugh at the confusion…”

Now I have a kind-of-a-funny-story with a lesson thrown in to tell, right?

Anxiety, Lows, and College (but wait- I graduated?). so much to talk about in such a short amount of time.

Hello All! SO….

In place of writing another blog today (not saying I won’t write something here this week). Let me redirect you elsewhere, specifically posts I have written and a Diabetes podcast I was a part of (my first podcast!!).

Besides a few guest posts on the College Diabetes Network blog- I haven’t really guest blogged before– and BOY- what a (little over a) month it has been.

My first opportunity was with Lilly Diabetes, and I had a chance to write about the CDN Retreat! “My Diabetes Advocacy Journey.” This was posted about a month ago.

Diabetes Connections- The College Diabetes Network– Stacey Simms interviewed me, and I had the chance to talk about the College Diabetes Network! This was posted a few weeks ago.

and all within the past week- well from last Friday, August 21 – (Yesterday) August 25. WHAT A FEW DAYS.

So- the College Diabetes Network started mailing the “Off to College” hosting kits for events, and I wrote about it here! (so excited that we’ve started mailing these out!) I am super excited to treat myself to my (delayed by choice) Camp mani/pedi after the mailings are done. 

I am still SO honored that Kerri from Six Until Me asked me to write a guest post! Wait, what? This is real life. I guess my persistent lows last week were good for something? Check it out- “Kitty!! And Other Low Tales”

Most recently, my first post on Insulin Nation went out yesterday. “7 Tips for Supporting an Anxious Person with Type 1”and I cannot get over all of the overwhelming support from the Diabetes Community, DOC, and of course the people in my life. XOXO.

That’s all (for now).

Feel free to give this section of my blog a look over!

I really do appreciate all of the support and feedback I get from people in my life- it means THE WORLD to me.

As a reference to the Kitty Post- say hello the cat I torture with love and take selfies with- Until Next Time!

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“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence…”

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence,

it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” –Audre Lorde

As I’m writing this the theme song from “Girl Meets World”

is playing on my iPod- “Take on the World”- that’s the plan!

So. I work in a Diabetes non-profit. I have T1D. I’m an introvert. I have anxiety, OCD, and ADHD. I have perfectionist style and view-point tendencies. A large percentage of my friends have T1D. I’m involved in the DOC and write a T1D Blog.

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And the above statements (but other reasons too) are why I care about Self-Care and created Self-Made-Boundaries for myself- most of which stem from lessons I learned the hard way or statements that people keep throwing my way (out of concern and love). I’m also forcing myself to do this because I struggle with Self-Care and Boundaries, and I want to do it all.

Things that I am constantly reminding myself to do or push myself to do (or that I have finally gotten into a better habit of doing!

Number 1- Besides diabetes management (of course)…

the rest of my “diabetes life” is 8ish-6ish M-F.

What does that mean? If you wonder why I might be “MIA” or don’t respond right away, here’s why.

  • At CDN, typically I’m working from 9-5. But stuff comes up of course- conferences, the retreat, calls/meetings (which balance out).
  • That ADHD life gets me “in the zone” sometimes and I don’t want to stop working at 5. I have to remind myself that you can get back in the zone later.
  • Before 9 and after 5 is roughly when I am active on social media and work on my blog.
  • Because so much of my social media is Diabetes- I stay away from it after 6ish and avoid it on the weekends.
  • Of course there are exceptions.
  • I don’t blog on the weekends or late at night (unless I’m too inspired to focus on anything else).
  • If I get a text, phone call, or message on social media and it is diabetes related… I usually wait to respond until a workday- especially if it is CDN related. And I usually ask for an email in place of it.
  • I don’t read a lot of Diabetes related things outside of work.
  • I try and limit my Diabetes non-profit involvement to these hours as well.
  • Same goes for emails after hours- I do my best not to constantly check it.

Number 2 – I try and tune in and actually listen to my emotions.

  • DSMA Chats- I don’t participate if I feel like I’ve had too much Diabetes.
  • I stay away from blogging if I feel like I’ve had too much- Diabetes, Mental Health, and life wise. If I get an idea, I write it out and leave it for later.
  • If I need a brain break…. I take it.
  • I let myself feel.
  • If I feel overwhelmed I don’t “adult” or “real life.” Yes, I ignore my responsibilities (for a moment).

Number 3– I have a ton of T1D friends,

but we don’t actually constantly talk about Diabetes- shocker right?

Yes- T1D sparked the connections, but isn’t the center of our friendship.

Number 4- As an Introvert…

  • I do my best to avoid human contact for an entire day at least once per week- I have had some time spans where I can’t do this- and I definitely feel it- but I make sure to catch up later.
  • I also try my best to have minimal human contact for about 20 minutes per day.
  • Even though I am new to Boston and want to meet new people…. If I feel like I’ve had enough people time… I don’t socialize.

Number 5- SELF-CARE!!

I make sure I do stuff I enjoy and that make me feel rejuvenated.

Number 6- I’m getting better at setting boundaries, saying no, and asking for help.

Number 7- Ideas and goals are great- but I don’t have to tackle them all at once.

Things I still struggle with and why I force boundaries and self-care on my self.

Number 1- I struggle with the idea that I cannot do it all.

Number 2- It is okay if I don’t cross of everything on my to do list. And it is okay to move things on my calendar.

Number 3- I’m only 22 and just graduated from college- I shouldn’t expect myself to have my life together.

 Number 4- I feel guilty about saying no.

Number 5- I have a mental health diagnosis. I need to remember that.

Number 6- Diabetes can add a bump in the road-

it sucks sometimes.

It is okay for me to pause and say I don’t feel well.

Number 7- I actually hate asking for help.

Number 8- I am a perfectionist and don’t give myself enough credit.

I guess it’s important to recognize the things I struggle with? Only way to address and fix it. But you know what truly helps? Just about everyone in my life has been on board with my boundaries and self-care and how strict I am trying to stick with it. It also helps that I feel very secure where I am in life. Finally it most definitiely helps that I am no longer in college…. No more 7 days per week from 7AM-Midhmight because of school, work, internships, what I was involved, trying to be social, etc. (main reason why I am loving the “real world.”)

I’ve felt burned out before… and that feeling returning scares me.

So proactive is the plan, and I feel it’s going well.

(some) of the “extra” things I learned in college

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So after a few months after graduating college, I have barely scratched the real world- like I say- I don’t know what I’m doing. But I learned some things in college that have been useful for real life.

These are things that were not for a grade, personal/professional development, or something to put on my resume. These are “the extra” things. That are VERY much valuable for real life, but are not usually taught in a class or told you need to know- hint, hint. I did have some teachers and professors teach real life- which THANK GOODNESS- I’m grateful for that. But these are a little different- at least in my opinion. The “little things” that help out in life.

First and foremost, I can literally sleep through JUST about anything- besides my obnoxious alarm clock (I set 3 on my phone and 1 “real” one) and above or below target blood sugars (grateful for that- thanks body). But seriously, after college dorms and noisy neighbors and needing to sneak a nap in the student center… I can sleep through ANYTHING-Noises outside, the cat playing with the toys in the middle of the night (apparently), storms, the sun rising. Etc etc. You name it- I sleep through it.

Next? I am completely and totally comfortable making all of my meals on Sunday (if I actually make myself do this) and eating the same thing for several days– same goes for leftovers- nothing to waste- and minimal effort please (I’m not a fan of cooking).

Another- I can spot a deal just about anywhere. I feel like a hawk waiting for the right moment to purchase something.

yes- there’s more– I know how to get lost and do it well- what I mean- I factor in extra time so I can enjoy it instead of being worried about being late.

And finally… my favorite skill- I can Tetris-the-Dishwasher like no other! I have no intention of leaving any space when I do the dishes (less loads means saving money and less work to do). I like to admire my work before I close up and turn it on.

Of course there are “other” skills- but these are just my favorites and most useful for me in my day to day life. (and the ones that come to mind).

Belief and change, a year after a major decision.

It’s a long one- hope you’re ready.

A little late for a transformation Tuesday.. but… I think this would count. 

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My, how things have changed.

Changed for the better.

Change I had no idea was coming.

Change I had no idea I needed.

It’s hard to believe that about a year ago, I was finishing up one of the hardest years of my college career (it’s up there in life honestly). Back then, I still measured years as in a school term- so 2013-2014 to be exact- wait… I still measure years that way.

That summer alone, I had “lost” my job- something I would rather not get into…. I had just had my first endo appointment with my new care team which I had found out that I was right- something had been wrong with me. I had been sick, but at this point- I was starting to get better.

That summer I was also unable to volunteer somewhere because I was put into a tricky situation regarding my Diabetes, and I did not feel safe.

That spring semester, our apartment had flooded because GA got below 9 degrees and the emergency sprinkler system was not insulated. GA was in a state of emergency because of this (this was shortly followed by “Snow Jam” in Atlanta). The fall semester was one of the hardest of my college career.

The people in my life were changing, for various reasons. I had had Diabetes Burnout, on the extreme side, for most of the school year.

Yeah… it had definitely been a year… but I scraped by… I feel stronger for it.

Check out my posts when I was deciding Plans Change Part 1 and Plans Change Part 2– (I can hear the sass I’m saying as well as trying to act completely okay with my decision). 

So now to get into the meat of this- On Friday, July 31, I fly back down to GA so that on August 1, I can head to volunteer at Camp Kudzu, my favorite place (yes- better than Disney) on earth to be reunited with the people that are my family. I’m so excited to return to my favorite place- and yes I do feel lucky (we know how I feel about that word- but I will go with luck) that I’m going. As I get ready and start packing so I don’t wait until last minute, go me. As I finish my costume for the Music Party (Disney themed- wait- it’s a surprise- kind of). I cannot help but think about where I was a year ago- specifically regarding where I was heading next and my mindset.

The previous spring I had toured several law schools. I had spent about 6 months preparing for the LSAT and I took it in June of 2014- I actually left camp for the day to take it. I did okay- enough to get into the law schools I wanted to get into, but not enough for merit based aid- I had needs based covered- but I knew I really needed merit as well- and I needed slightly higher to meet this goal of mine. The idea of still being sick and studying for the LSAT again, stressed me out (I hadn’t even received my ADHD/Anxiety/OCD Diagnosis yet- might I add). But I was going to trudge along because this was my dream, right? I had been telling people law school since I was 14. I had already had to defend my career path for years, I wasn’t about to change my mind.

So I kept going, throughout the summer- I completed my calendar for law school application openings and deadlines. I wrote my personal statement and statement of diversity. I had my recommendation letters lined up. I had my resume ready to go. I had my top law school lists ready to go. I knew my plans for application fee waivers. I was ready to go, or was I?

Something in the back of mind was speaking to the pit of my stomach- a slight whisper law school, right after graduation… are we sure? Aren’t we burned out with school already? You’re still sick… can you handle your responsibilities you already have plus law school applications… will it make things worse… will you be going into this at the best of your ability? And… the one that freaked me out the most… do we even need it?

I was still sick. I was still stressed. I was still recovering from Diabetes Burnout. I was trudging along with a smile on my face saying I was ready to apply to Law School. I was dead set- I had to go straight into it because of time and insurance. I had to be perfect for aid. I had to go because Law School was the only way to do what I wanted to do (my- how I was “wrong”).  (Where was the statement of I still want to go?)

These thoughts were rattling around in my mind all summer. I barely said anything to anyone. I was scared to say it out loud. The few moments I had mentioned it to a few people… I got backlash… ( where was the support?) Now, I’m pretty sure that either- I was telling the wrong people or a few people were a little shocked by my statements (but poker face please).

Some of the things that I heard that summer (and for the rest of the year). You’re giving up on your dream. Way to quit. Why are you changing your mind? What was the social work degree for? What will you do? Why change your mind now?

The only things I would like to comment on… I did not quit. I did not change my dream. I changed my paths AND my views regarding myself on getting there.

Then… about a year ago… during session 3 of camp in 2014…. I officially decided law school would not be happening (this year specifically… but maybe not ever).  It hit me one evening at camp- a combination of things led up to this.

My emotions were mixedI did cry- not sure what kind of tears still- the evening I made up my mind.

I love my plans. I don’t like changing deadlines or what I was planning. I don’t like changing my mind. I have to prove people wrong. What the heck was I going to do- I did not have career backup plans.

But then. Something happened. I could feel the weight lifted off my shoulders. Besides the moment of what’s next… I had a sense of calm wash over me.

Camp was the right place to make this decision. Because when I spoke my plans out loud- there was support surrounding me. My family supported me, yet again.

I, of course, immediately emailed CDN because they felt like the right place/people to start with helping me figure out what the heck I was going to do next. And of course- I was slightly freaking out over my new decision. And they were there for me.

After The Campus Tour: A Diabetes PerspectiveI had a huge realization- one of the biggest AHA moments of my life- I could do what I wanted to do without a law degree…. I am 99% convinced that the majority of the reason I was set on law school and decided that path was because of confidence, well a lack of it. I wanted to advocacy and make change… and I thought the only way I could accomplish that was with a law degree. I didn’t believe in myself enough to think I could take another path.

But, I don’t “need” it, at least right now. (maybe law school later… maybe not… maybe grad school- WHO KNOWS). But believing in myself was definitely a key factor in all of this decision. Last October after the Campus Tour, was the first time I felt TRULY confident in my decision to not apply to law school that semester. (I’ve had more moments since then!) I struggle with confidence and to believe in myself- anyone who knows me knows I struggle with confidence and being the center of attention- I’m consistently working on this though- I feel I’ve made a lot of change here  but I have a ways to go.

I do recognize that people are trying to convince me to have more confidence. I also recognize that a few people did bring up that maybe I shouldn’t go to law school yet before I started thinking it myself- I’m very stubborn, but I also didn’t think I had other options.

And here I am a year later- following a new path to my dreams- at 22 (what?)

I’ve been wanting to live in a city since I can remember (when I could say the words and I understood the concept)- and here I am in Boston.

I wanted to start fresh- here I am- new home.

I wanted to make a difference and work in the diabetes community- I feel like I am doing advocacy and empowerment and working with and interacting with amazing people. and here I am, loving my job.

So… it’s hard to believe that a year ago- I was still sick. Planning on applying to law school despite my reservations. And that I didn’t believe I could could chase my dreams without a law degree. Looks like I am.

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Don’t get me wrong- I like kids, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want kids of my own.

“Don’t get me wrong- I like kids, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want kids of my own.” At that moment, I watch the wide-eyed responses and jaws drop… I’m very used to the responses at this point- “You’ll change your mind.” “You don’t want kids because you have Diabetes, right?” “You can have kids even though you have Diabetes.” “Isn’t your body telling you to have kids?” “You’re supposed to have kids.”

Okay. Let me explain. Let me also put up my hands and say- wait, wait, wait- hear me out. Other people’s kids are great. Kids at camp are great too. But that’s where it ends for me. I wonder if some part of me that is “supposed” to think babies are adorable… is missing from my identity. Backtrack, I was never the child to pick out her kids’ names for the future or plan weddings or even play house very often. So this part of me isn’t really new. I’ve gone back and forth about adoption or foster care since high school, but starting my senior year of high school I started leaning towards no kids of my own at all- I’ll enjoy other people’s kids. Be the cool “aunt” or godmother or neighbor.

My main reason for not wanting kids of my own is simply that I’m not interested. There isn’t something in my core telling me to have children. It isn’t my responsibility to have children either. When I think about the future, I don’t see myself with children. Does that mean I’m selfish? I really don’t think so, but I’ve heard that statement a lot. Therefore, I’ll take the power of the word and say if following my heart, my needs, my wants, my plan, etc. (without hurting anyone) is selfish, then yes, yes I am. 

Let me tell you though, my main reason for not wanting kids of my own is NOT because I have Type 1 Diabetes. People always bring it to the Diabetes… Which bugs me more than any of the other responses… I am very aware that we do not live in a world like we did when “Steel Magnolias” was the main point of reference. I do know it is very possible, and I know many Type 1 Mom’s who rock at it. But that’s not what I want right now. I do acknowledge that I could very easily change my mind, but every year I get more committed to the fact that I do not want kids of my own. A few years ago, I said probably not, and since then I have moved to a very firm, “no.”

I respect people’s decisions on what they want, including a family, so please respect mine. I respect mothers, all of them. But I really do not think motherhood is for me or in the cards. 

As Amy Poehler says “‘Good for her! Not for me.’ That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. ‘Good for her! Not for me.” and I feel, that this applies here (and in many other situations).

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