Autistic Burnout

Autistic burnout is intense physical and mental exhaustion. It can also be accompanied with loss of certain skills.

Having to navigate through a world that was only built for neurotypical people is very exhausting. Having to keep up with all the societies list of “norms” is very draining. Autistic people often end up masking their autistic traits in order to seem more normal. Masking can be very dangerous; but I’ll go into that further in another blog post.

Autistic burnout may look different from person to person. What you see in one autistic person; you may not see in another. As I mentioned above, it can be an intense physical exhaustion. It can also manifest as intense anxiety or emotional outbursts. It can be the inability to regulate emotions far more than usual. It can contribute to depression and suicidal behaviors. It can involve an increase of stimming (self regulating behaviors), increased sensitivity to sensory input and difficulty with changes. A lot of autistic people struggle with these things but when a burnout is happening, all these things can be amplified; making it seem like you’re regressing or much worse than usual.

Some autistic people lose their ability to speak during a burnout. Also, loss of executive function is common during a burnout as well. Executive function will be discussed in another blog.

Burnout can affect our thinking process and also affect our memory (which we already struggle with in general).

When I’m experiencing a burnout, I feel disconnected and disengaged from the rest of the world. I lose focus on the small things and can’t process my thoughts very well or my emotions. I tend to be very forgetful. But the forgetfulness also stems from the fact that when I’m told something, I’m most likely paying more attention to the sound of the electricity in the house; like the wind coming from the fan or the buzzing of the microwave. I can’t focus on too many sounds at once. It’s the increased sensitivity to sensory input that affects my ability to focus on conversation and information storing. I can’t process what you said if I hear the fridge. It’s a distraction. I struggle with these things on a daily basis but it’s 10 times worse during a burnout. People assume I’m not paying attention to them when I’m reality, I am. It’s just really hard for me to process too many different things at one time. I have lost my ability to speak during a burnout but it doesn’t happen every time I go through a burnout. My executive function is crap on a regular basis but it really goes down the toilet during a burnout.

The smallest things can be sensory overload for me during a burnout. Others around me don’t understand this and just brush it off.

Autistic burnout can last anywhere from a few hours to a few years for some autistic people. The main way to recover from burnout is to remove yourself from the situation that triggered it in the first place.

For me, it’s almost always caused by suppressing my emotions and meltdowns and other autistic traits in order to “keep the peace” around others who don’t understand me and so I’m not a burden to them. After so long, I don’t have the energy to continue to keep it all contained. It drains me to the point that it can be dangerous. I tend to physically lash out on myself by self harming and I also have attempted suicide before.

During these hard times, what I need is compassion and understanding. I may also need space and some alone time. I also need reassurance and not judgement. I’m trying as hard as I can but I can’t keep being sorry for who I am. I can’t keep apologizing for the way I am because I can’t help it and it’s not my problem people choose to not understand it.

I’m not entirely sure how long I’ve been in this current burnout so far but I only hope I can regain my strength soon so I can get back to the real me.

If you read this blog post this far, thank you and I hope you’ve learned something new here. More posts will be up soon, I just need to save up the energy to type it all out. I just really felt like this topic needed to be discussed.

Autism and Low Self-Esteem

On December 23rd, 2020 I made a post on Facebook: (screenshot and link shown below)

https://www.facebook.com/149314469068800/posts/673339509999624/?d=n

I really felt the need to come on here and talk to you all a bit more about that post. But before I go on, please go visit that page by clicking the link above and please hit the like button for my page. Also feel free to scroll and share some of my posts and then come back here.

………

You’re back? Did you like my page? Ok, great!

………

So I’ve struggled with low self esteem almost my whole life. I’ve been through a lot of things that didn’t really help it either but I’ll go into all of that in another blog post.

Today I took a moment to really reflect on my emotions and I’m sitting here trying to figure out how can I love the skin I’m in if I can’t even tolerate being in my own skin due to sensory processing issues. It almost feels to me like I’ll never be able to love myself again and that’s honestly a really painful realization. I’m sure I’m not the only autistic person out there who feels this way. We live in a world that treats us like we are less. We aren’t less, we are different!

I KNOW I’m different and I think that’s what the problem is. I’m AWARE of my deficits and I constantly sense people around me are embarrassed having me around. It’s the high expectations people have of me and knowing I can’t do it because I’m different. It’s the extra needed support that I feel my loved ones are forcing themselves to try to give but they really prefer not to deal with it. I feel like I’m a burden!

I’ve had a couple people tell me to commit suicide just because I’m autistic. Things like that really do take a toll on me and does make me wonder if not existing would be better for me and for everyone else around me. I’ve also been bullied when I was in school for being different.

I try to tell myself every day that I’m worth more than what people think and that I’m talented and creative but giving myself those little pep talks only work for a short time. It’s really hard being in a world where I’m so misunderstood. I feel so alone! I do have my immediate family who support me but I can’t change how I feel about myself.

My self esteem dies a little more each time someone makes me feel like being autistic is an issue. I can’t help being who I am. I don’t hate the fact that I’m autistic. I’ve accepted that as who I am. I just hate how easily hurt I am by people.

I often feel like there really is no space on earth for me. This world wasn’t made for me. I’m not disabled by my autism. I’m disabled by this world. I also feel if I had gotten the proper love and support growing up, I probably wouldn’t be feeling like this now but I can’t change the past. I’m just having a really hard time moving on from it.

I also struggle in general with regulating my emotions so I can see why it’s hard for me to find my value and internal worth. And growing up, I struggled with self identity as well because I didn’t know why I was different until I was 11 when I got my diagnosis. Even after that, I struggled for a long time to understand my diagnosis and accept it complete. Now I almost fully embrace it. I just still struggle with low self esteem which prevents me from embracing it completely and fearlessly.

I grew up being told everything I do is wrong. Even as an adult, I just can’t handle criticism and I wish people would at least follow it with something positive like “oh you messed up on this BUT I appreciate your effort and you did an amazing job with that other thing”. Pointing out my failures without filling in something I can be proud of really erodes my self esteem and a lot of people don’t realize that. I already feel like a failure from it being drilled into my head all my childhood. I don’t need to feel worse. I like to see the good in every bad thing. That may be one of my fatal flaws but that’s how I wish people would treat me at least. My loved ones have no idea how much acknowledging my successes helps me. It does make a positive difference. I know they’re probably thinking, “I shouldn’t have to constantly praise you for things you are expected to do”. The thing is being autistic, it’s often hard for me to get my mind set on doing just about anything. So any small task completed should be celebrated because it took everything in me to do it.

I know it may seem like I’m jumping into different directions with this blog but it’s because I don’t have my thoughts in a set order so whatever comes to mind next is what’s being typed up.

Andddddd I’m not sure why I’m trying it explain myself……

Since my thoughts are starting to race right now, I’m just going to end this blog by saying be more sensitive to my feelings and be more accepting of me. And I mean GENUINELY accept me, not just merely tolerate my presence. There’s a difference, and I am able to sense the difference. I love all my blog readers and thank you for reading to this point. Have a good night/morning!

Link to my YouTube Video

Hey, I hope everyone is doing well. I’m not going to be talking about anything in this post. I just wanted to post this link to one of my autism videos since this is a autism blog. I hope you all enjoy watching my video and please don’t forget to subscribe to my channel. I have other autism videos uploaded there if you want to check them out as well. My YouTube channel is filled with a variety of videos.

https://youtu.be/C_H9tP8vfl0

Autism & Friendships

One thing about me is that I’m VERY friendly…. to the point that it does become socially awkward and people will try and avoid me. One thing that makes me feel so overwhelmed is hearing new friends promise me that they understand and would never stray away when things get weird. Almost every single time, that ends up being an empty promise because as soon as my autistic traits start to show, they suddenly can’t handle it and walk away. Without mentioning any names, I’m going to go into a situation that occurred. So a few months ago when the pandemic started, I made a new friend. She promised she’ll always be myself and swore up and down that she understood me. Well, I started making masks for people and I had a big mask order to complete. She wanted me to make one for her mom for free since she was an essential worker. Since she was a good friend of mine, I was going to do it for free BUT I told her I needed to get the paid orders out the way first. That’s where the misunderstanding came along. Since I have autism, I have a set way of doing things. I have to do things in the exact order I had planned it out to be in my head. She wanted me to make her mask first and my brain told me to get the paid order done out the way first. She then said she’ll just pay me so I can do it first. But still, I wouldn’t get to hers until the first order was done because I had to do it in order. She got upset and made me out to be a bad friend and eventually blocked me on Facebook. It’s very hard to persuade me to do something a different way. I don’t like change of routine. Things have to be done my way or I won’t be able to function. I wish she knew I didn’t mean to be a “bad friend”. I just can’t change the way I do things. Just a simple research on google, and she would have known this to be a fact even though I already had explained my autism several times because I wanted to make sure I was understood correctly. But still she managed to misunderstand me and now we aren’t friends. It made me sad and even though it’s been a few months, I still find myself questioning why our friendship had to end like that. It makes me feel even more shitty because I just want friends who understand me and don’t fault me for my autistic traits. I don’t intentionally do things to upset people. I just process everything in a different way than everyone else. This is just one instance and there’s many more I’ve experienced as far as failed friendships. I felt compelled to post on Facebook not too long:

—————

PSA‼️

Please read up about autism BEFORE you decide to make empty promises to me about always being my friend and not running away when things get weird. I noticed people are fine when I say I have autism but as soon as my autism traits start to show, suddenly people don’t wanna be my friend anymore because they often misunderstand me or misinterpret my actions and the way I do things. As an autistic person, all I want is acceptance and love. If you’re going to be quick to disappear on me, please don’t bother calling yourself my friend and letting me get attached. It really breaks my heart that it’s so complicated for me to maintain friendships. 💔

jessicasautismjourney #lifewithautism #autismawareness #ASD #autism #autistic

—————

I really hope that post reached people in ways that will help them understand me and never jump to conclusions and ending the friendship. I felt like doing this blog because I wanted to vent and make it known just how hard it is for autistic people to make friends. I have a fear that automatically sets in every time a new friend makes a promise to me because I just don’t know if it’s empty or genuine. Please, if you’re going to be my friend, always keep in mind that I have autism.

10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Someone with Autism

Hey there, it’s been a while since I posted a blog so I feel it’s time. For those of you that don’t know, my name is Jessica and I have autism. I’m going to get into 10 things you shouldn’t say to someone with autism. I think if blog is very important because it’ll leave my family and friends a little more educated and more prepared to be around me. I know sometimes people say things without thinking and don’t necessarily know how rude it sounds to us. So here we go….

1. You don’t look autistic!

This has to be the most annoying thing you can say to someone with autism. You just simply can not look at someone and figure out that they have autism. Autism DOES NOT have a look!

2. Everyone is a little autistic!

WRONG!!! Not everyone is a little autistic. Yes, everyone has their own struggles. But telling someone with autism that everyone is a little autistic is rude because it seems like you’re undermining our struggles and chalking it up to something everyone struggles with. You have no idea what struggles we go through unless you have autism yourself.

3. You’re just doing that for attention!

We don’t do anything for attention. Our daily struggles are very much real and unfortunately it’s something you just won’t understand unless you were us.

4. You don’t care about anyone but yourself!

I know it may seem like we lack compassion but that’s far from true. We just don’t get social cues and have a hard time interpreting body language. Therefore, if we don’t have a normal response, it’s because we were not able to process it. The information didn’t come to us in a way we can fully process so it then seems like we don’t care. But the truth is, autistic people feel everything. We feel every emotion deeply and intensely. It’s just a matter of how the information gets processed and perceived in our brains.

5. You’ll grow out of autism!

NO, you won’t grow out of autism. Autism grows with you. I was diagnosed when I was 11 and I’m 24 now and it seems like it’s gotten worse for me over the years. I’m not an adult with autism. Although it doesn’t define me, I have it and it’s not going anywhere.

6. You’re lazy!

We aren’t lazy! It just takes us a while to process something and get our brains set to do it. It’s especially hard when our brains are already set on something else. It becomes hard to sway us from that one thing we were focused on. Most people with autism can’t multitask. I can focus on just one thing as long as I’m able to block everything else out. If I can’t, then I tend to shut down and not want to do anything.

7. I know someone with autism and you’re nothing like them. I don’t think you have autism.

There’s a saying that says “if you met one person with autism, you’ve only may ONE person with autism”. No two autistic people are exactly the same. What you see in me, you may not see in someone else and vice versa.

8. Stop stimming so much in public. It’s embarrassing!

People with autism stim to keep themselves leveled out. It’s an effort to counteract whatever sensory input is disturbing us at the moment. It helps prevent a meltdown! Telling us to stop stimming is like telling a baby to stop crying. It’s not happening!

9. You’re high functioning so it’s not that bad!

Just because I’m high functioning, that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle on a daily basis. High functioning only means my IQ is at least average or it’s above average. But it has nothing to do with his easy my autism is because one thing you will never understand is it’s not easy for me at all. I still struggle with sensory integration and sensory overload. I still have meltdowns. I struggle to maintain friendships and I struggle to regulate my own emotions. Yes, I’m verbal, but that doesn’t make it easier. I’m just more self aware of my struggles and how different I am and that’s what makes it worse.

10. Is there medicine for that?

First off, you should be asking a professional that question. Second, asking someone with autism if there’s medicine for it only implies that you’re not accepting of us. We don’t need a cure or a fix. We want to be accepted and loved for who we are. We don’t need to adapt to this world. The world needs to adapt to us.

Well, that is all I wanted to say and I hope you all got something out of this blog. And if you’re my friend or family, please keep this as a reference so you don’t cause me any unnecessary heartache by saying something without thinking. Please be sensitive to my struggles and be more accepting of me. Next blog, I’ll touch base on autism and friendships so stay tuned. If you read this far, thank you so much for taking your time to read this and it means a lot to me that you’re trying to understand me and other people with autism better.