But then the newness starts to wear off, and maybe things start looking a little less perfect. Flaws start to pop up and reality sets in. The very things that once seemed so great can start to become a bit annoying. Conflicts pop up and the shiny begins to dull. I feel the need for a break . . .
And that is exactly what happened this summer. I began to grow a bit tired of Diabetes Social Media, finding flaws that maybe aren’t there and finding myself not quite as smitten as I used to be. And I unofficially took a break.
So Diabetes Social Media Burnout Blog Day could not have come at a better time! Thank you, Diabetes Daily, for coming up with this and really getting me to ponder my Diabetes Social Media relationship. I’ve been thinking a lot about the little white print in the image to the right. “Do you take breaks? Have you been the target of an attack? Felt bullied? Exhausted? Unappreciated? How do you heal, endure, recharge, or reconnect to find your own happy balance within this powerful and tremendous community? Share your tips on your blog, and in the comments section on DiabetesDaily.com’s burnout blog on September 1, 2015. #DOCburnout2015”
My summer DSocMed break has been really nice. I’ve had some time to think about what bothers me and what I love and how to balance all of that. But the break has also been lonely. I’ve kept up with some DOC friends but it hasn’t been the same as when I’m blogging and tweeting and reading and commenting. I feel very out of the loop and I feel like I’ve been a bad friend and supporter. So I am, hopefully, back from my little DOC break and I’d like to think I’m a little wiser. I’ve figured out the following:
- Personal stories and support is the most important part for me. This is what first drew me into the DOC. The connections, the me-too, the knowing I’m not alone and that we all struggle together. When I’m too overwhelmed to read the hundreds of posts in my feed, the personal stories of bloggers who need support is where I should spend my time.
- Not every advocacy issues will speak to my heart. And I need to understand that is okay. Over the years, advocacy has gone from nearly non-existent in the DOC to a hot topic. That is a great thing. But I also find it exhausting at times. “You need to do this.” “You should care about that.” “Why isn’t the DOC doing such and such?” I feel a mix of guilt, resentment and, ironically, an urge toward inaction. (I suppose I don’t like to feel bossed around.) So I’ve decided that the great thing about the DOC being a vast pool of members with many varied issues is that I can put my energy into the ones that speak to my heart and that I’m good at. I love my volunteer efforts with JDRF Advocacy. I love providing support as the moderator of DiabetesSisters Virtual PODS. Spare A Rose continues to be a must in my book. When issues and initiatives speak to me, I will work hard to support them. And when they don’t, that’s okay.
- It’s all about that one person I reach. I find myself bristling at terms such as “DOC superstars”. Does anyone in the DOC feel like this term applies to them? Does anyone believe they lead the DOC? In my mind, that’s not what our community is about. I see us as all equal. Living our lives with diabetes, doing the best we can, and reaching out to help and to be helped. It’s not the number of comments and RTs that matters. It’s the one comment or tweet from someone who says “thank you for this, it helped me”. I’ll never feel unappreciated if just one person has been reached.
- Haters gonna hate. (Do people even use that saying anymore? Or does it just make me sound old?) I have never felt bullied or been the target of an attack. But I am quite sensitive and criticism that isn’t constructive hurts me deeply. And the truth is, this year was the first Diabetes Blog Week that didn’t find me crying over something critical I stumbled upon. But I realize I need to learn to let these things roll off me. I know I can’t please everyone, even though I try really really really hard to do so during DBlog Week. It’s terrible that I let the criticisms deeper into my heart than the compliments. That’s totally on me, and it’s going to be something I work on from now on. I’ll pay attention to constructive criticism, because that is very helpful. The rest, I will learn to let go.
In the end, the break has done my DSocMed relationship some good. I see that I am still in love, even if things are a little less shiny and perfect. And a lot of the time, it isn’t you, it’s me. But this is definitely a love that is built to last.