Turns out that fake smiles are the earliest sign of burnout — Dr. Sara Gottfried MD
I found that statement very interesting. Lately I’ve been exploring ways to influence by body (and my diabetes), such as diet and supplements, exercise, meditation, eastern medicine… and so forth. One of the more interesting things I have Dr. Sara Gottfried’s book, The Hormone Cure. Based on the quiz from her website, the non-diabetic related symptoms indicate that I am suffering the affects of both high and low cortisol*. While that statement may sound contradictory, when I read more, it described me to a tee. To summarize, cortisol is the hormone that your body puts out under high stress, the long term affect of consistent stress results in the burnout of your body’s ability to produce cortisol, resulting in low cortisol — which then comes with it’s own repercussions. Basically, staying stressed out all the time is bad, in many ways. We know this. It is not a shocking discovery, even though I appreciate understanding the science behind it. I have known for years that I needed to balance out my stress, I thought that if I just took time off from work that it would be enough — but even when I was on vacation, I was so tightly wound, my body effectively never got a rest. While there is no cause for diabetes, alcoholism, or bipolar — I can tell you for sure that staying stressed out all the time does not help any of those conditions either. This knowledge of the cortisol highs and lows has reenergized me to take care of myself in this part of my life. In brief stints where I have been able to step back and relax, I have felt the effects — the wave of calm — but I would always write it off as a “nice time,” but not something I could ever maintain. Realizing scientifically the damage I have caused/am causing in my body, I will add that to the reasons I think of when I take a relaxing breath, or the moment I take for myself, away from whatever it is — I want to take care of my body.
This may seem like a side step, but I promise it’s related…recently, I have seen more loss in the diabetic community than I’m used to — usually it’s all positive, or immediate problems — “I keep running low,” “Which pump should I get?” — but yesterday morning I read about a man who lost his 33 year old wife to heart failure, caused by type 1 diabetes. That was a reality check. Then all the support he received — and more stories of loss. It really puts things into perspective. If taking a few minutes a day to meditate, being calmer and less quick to retort, eating better and listening to my body… those all seem so trivial and easy, if they are going to serve me in keeping my life.
*Clearly, this is not official medical information and you (and I) should consult a physician for specific personal medical advice (ESPECIALLY when you have a condition such as diabetes, which affects all aspects of your body)