Recently I fumbled my way through an AutBurnout Chat, fumbled because I’m still struggling with Twitter, I found helpful advice re using the Chat and thought provoking questions about Burnout.
This session and some questions asked by others set my mind racing over my 60+ years on planet Earth as an Autistic.
1)Have I always experienced AutBurnout and how did I deal with it?
2)Were there differences in duration at different points over my life?
3)What may have triggered these episodes?
4)Can AutBurnout be isolated from other forms of burnout?
When I was a child it is possible that Meltdowns were like a circuit breaker when everything became too much. Focusing on rearranging books according to various criteria or spinning etc would have allowed me down time as a restorative.
I’ve always been a poor sleeper finding that night was the only time I was sure to have my mind to myself. This is still the case and that is when I’m free to think but at the expense of sleep.To retreat into my mind.
I’d say in childhood my Burnouts were more like Fadeouts that lasted hours then in later adolescence to days 3-4. In late teens and twenties-30’s pushing myself to accomplish both physically and mentally demanding goals could result in Shutdowns , removing myself from contact with others and retreating into a favourite quiet activity that was not mentally demanding or mentally stimulating.
In my 40’s I’d become wiped out and not be able to work a full week often ending to spend a day or two in bed without any physical or mental activity… exhaustion. I figure that one aspect that increased my susceptibility to AutBurnout was and is ” accepting personal responsibility” that is taking personal responsibility for self and various aspects of life… very wearing especially when having to look after self in all aspects , work ( working with people) and allow time for my own projects/leisure etc.
Taking on too much responsibility in personal relationship was crippling whilst working and /or studying resulting in Burnouts that lasted up to 3-4 weeks. By that I mean from exhaustion mentally and physically until I’d recuperated.
Naturally social and sensory sensitivities and co -existing conditions added to the stress bringing me to the state of inability to think , recall or relate.
Towards my late 40’s and in early 50’s AutBurnout dominated for some years rendering me unable to work , study or partake in leisure activities. This all escalated in my 60’s with accumulation of problems due to relationship, responsibilities, mixed cultural issues, lack of support . In fact I reached a point where I went from reading at post graduate level to not being able to read the TV guide…. concentration problems and exhaustion.
Had to gradually progress from reading poetry to short stories and so on until I was able to read all that I wished. My own rehab program.
My physical health greatly suffered and I realised that thinking used much more energy that physical activity… so that left me in position of trying to pace myself.
Didn’t succeed all that well as when physically wiped out my mind kept surging forward in curiosity and wanting to understand at depth.
Became seriously physically ill with cancer and side effects of chemo and radiotherapies. I found that I was too ill to think and my physical health gradually improved a little but when I was able to pursue interests of the mind my physical health and fitness has greatly declined.
I’d say that I live in one long AutBurnout that occasionally eases and I leap at a slight increase in energy only to overdo it both physically and mentally and then end in Burnout fully again… social contact is only rarely tolerated by body and mind.
It is hard to live like this and there is a loneliness that is different from aloneness… there is also the frustration of not being able to function and also of not being understood. By that I mean I’m so far removed from mainstream by AutBurnout and other conditions that I’m pretty well a recluse.
There are many things I’d love to do and many past joys I’d love to recreate but I have to accept my limitations. I say that but still push myself, push myself is being myself and only the scope of what I’m able to do is lessened. Lessened greatly. I continue to break new ground in my life.
Ageing is another matter that feeds into AutBurnout, that and high expectations of self… a desire to feel vital, alive and existent… exploring new possibilities, potentials, via getting to know how my life has been formed by my autism even many decades before diagnosis.
This has become a cathartic piece and has strayed from my original design. I’m sure there are many aspects i’ve not included if that be so I’ll address those issues later. I’m now in quite a trough of minus energy and oversupply of fatigue .