Autism and burnout

Self care always first


Burnout is common among autistic individuals since it takes so much energy to participate in every day life and all it entails. Most things that come naturally for NT (neurotypical or average) individuals are a struggle for many autistic folks, form daily activities such as shopping , workplace demands, housekeeping, care of family and trying to keep up on friendships and other important relationships. Even special interests can be all consuming and draining of energy, especially if there are a lot of other demands in one’s life.

I began to suspect my autism diagnosis about 6 years ago and spent several years studying autism, learning about it online, reading books, articles, blogs, and participating in forums for up to 5 hours almost every single day. I began to blog, have been trying to work on a book about adult autism, and attending several forums, being admin and moderator for several autism pages as well. Autism has become a second career. Add to that recent speaking and volunteering for a “lifelong learning” group at our local community college.

I could sustain that pace indefinitely but find I am exhausted now and in mourning. Our old dog is leaving us little by little. We will soon have to make a decision about putting her down. Mean time I am getting up every 2 hours every night to make sure there are no “accidents” in the house. This is leading to exhaustion and feeling tired most days, napping for a couple hours off and on during daytime hours. I am feeling very drained physically and emotionally. I know the physical side, not getting enough rest, contributes to the limited emotional resources I now seem to have. Depression is setting in.
Other struggles adding to this are complications and frustrations over book production and a recent bout of rejection after having been given a specific invitation to participate in giving a presentation have led to my feeling depressed and frustrated. I am glad I can recognize this right now and try to change things. Self care always first is one of my most insistent mantras, and I plan on taking my own advice.

Time to back off and do self care. I am cutting back on my groups and passing the torch of admin and moderator on to others where possible.
I am going to at least try to keep up with the blog and spend more time doing rest and self care things.
I want to head this off before it becomes complete depression and breakdown.

If you are feeling exhausted, frustrated, depressed, anxious and overwhelmed, are you taking the time to do self care?

8 thoughts on “Autism and burnout

  1. Great post. I’m sorry to hear about the rejection you experienced from the group you planned to present to. It’s so hard to accept rejection without feeling rather destroyed when one has autism. Usually we’ve experienced it repeatedly over a lifetime and perhaps have never successfully gotten over it, only to have the bandaid rudely yanked off again. At that moment it can seem as if no headway has ever been made in our battle to accept ourselves and perhaps even to love ourselves unconditionally. Family and friends often try to soothe us by attempting to downplay what has happened, even to suggest that our perception may be skewed, ultimately gaslighting us. But we’ve experienced this sort of thing before and in the end we’re left on our own with our sense of shame and failure. I’ve learned to allow myself to feel like crap for awhile and then ultimately give it to God. It’s their problem if my autism is a bar to full participation, full acceptance, not mine. In the end I can’t change or control anyone’s behavior but my own. So I choose to grieve a bit and then move on.
    I enjoy your posts very much, although this one is difficult. I hope knowing how many people you are helping with this blog will uplift your heart.
    Take the time you need to rest and restore.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Self care first” My best friend has drilled this in my head for the past three/four years. It truly is easier said than done, but critical to moving forward. I am forever amazed at all your commitments (family, friends, autism awareness work and hobbies that are time sensitive). Not only does it make my head spin, but it makes me want to shut down. I, myself, can no longer handle that amount of stress and avoid commitments like the plague. You truly are my hero.

    I’m so sorry for your dogs condition. Is she still enjoying things? You and your family have given her a wonderful life, and all of us will have happy memories of her. Especially her generosity in sharing her home and family with my Honey…! You’ll know when it’s time, but let her go out giving you good visions of her… With Honey, we spent the last month or so going to all of her favorite places, and those are memories I will always cherish.

    I’m glad to hear you are handing over some of your groups and engagements to others. I would love to see you free enough to work on your research/book. When I read your above article, I couldn’t help but envision a cell phone that needed to be put on charge. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to just touch something…like a magic crystal or rock that had the powers to replenish your soul!!!

    Soon the weather will be changing, it will become a little warmer, and you will be able to walk the shore and let Lady Huron do her magic!

    Like

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