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?