I have been reticent to blog about Autistic Burnout.
Right now it seems silly not to, so here goes my thoughts.
The Only One
Until I started getting stories from other women of their burn out experiences, I thought I was the only one who’d experienced it.
Theoretically I knew that there must be other people like me, but I’d only met one person who had to stop working when they crashed.
There is an online study about burn out experiences.
“You are invited to participate in research aiming to clarify the nature of burnout, as well as to develop a tool to accurately measure the condition.”
Research by the Black Dog Institute and University of New South Wales.
That one person who was also no longer working, was a musician that I met in Rockhampton, Queensland. I felt such a connection to him. He had also won awards. He had also published, or should I say, released original work.
By the time I met him I had written two eBooks, published a street magazine and won an award from the Queensland Goverment.
I dearly wanted to talk to him more at a later date, but felt deeply that I had nothing to say to him. I never knew what to say to anyone – why would he be any different?
Once again a sense of shame, isolation and feeling trapped by my thoughts ruled the day.
The years after I crashed were incredibly frustrating to me. I could vividly see myself working, chatting with friends and cleaning the house, but rarely could make myself bridge the gap from imagining to doing so.
Feelings of ‘This feels wrong’, ‘I’m sick of forcing myself’ and ‘No one will care anyway’ were intrusive and strong.
Often my body would rebel at attempts to move. I might get a feeling of dread wash over me, or a painful lightning network run through my brain, or a prickling sensation in my limbs. I may simply be exhusted and hated forcing my heavy limbs to obey.
I’ve written a number of posts on my long recovery process so I’ll link to them here.
You may also like to read my memoir “Successful to Burnt Out”, with its chapter “Rebuilding My Life”
Being Productive in 2017
I’ve been able to be productive this year, which has been wonderful for my sense of confidence and dignity.
Sure I’ll have stretches of doing nothing, of depressive states, but I always ask for help and do something productive in the end. Within a month anyway.
I’m Socialising Now
Truth be told, I spend quite a bit of time at home still. I have learned to relax more with being social online. I know more of what is expected of me to do and not do. For instance to not spam people and groups with my books and blog posts. Ask questions.
I have also been doing more community activities this year than in the past.
For two weeks I went to a drop in centre four days a week. There I reconnected with a sense of identity at times. Sometimes its true that you see yourself in the eyes of other people.
These past weeks I’ve joined facebook writers groups, which has been validating and a great source of information.
It’s Nice to be Me
I’m not really sure how to end this post, other than to say, its been nice meeting people this year.
Its nice to be me.
It’s nice not to be burnt out!
The Autistic Advocate’s detailed long read on Autistic burnout
Article by Gabriela Tavella & Gordon Parker
Silent Wave’s story
Jax Blunt’s blog post resource list
Ryan Boren’s blog post
Karletta’s memoir on Autistic Burn Out
Successful to Burnt Out: Featuring experiences of autistic women