Burnout in a newly diagnosed doctor

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Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 3 Nov 2022
Gender: Female
Posts: 1
Location: New Zealand

03 Nov 2022, 5:52 pm

I’ve been suffering from what I now understand is severe autistic burnout for the last 3 years. I had finished residency, worked in the military (which I hated), and had two young children who are very demanding (also ASD???). And I just fizzled out. I’ve been working very part time since then doing telemedicine and otherwise just sleeping all the time. But I’m beginning to wonder when/if I will come out of this & whether I have to just give up being a doctor? That would be a hell of a shame and a lot of time spent to do something that I’m going to just walk away from? Anyone else very high functioning and then just crash? Did you recover? If so how?


Joined: 29 Nov 2021
Gender: Female
Posts: 19
Location: South Pacific

03 Nov 2022, 8:50 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet. I'm glad you've joined us.

You reminded me of a terrible time in my life years ago when I became very ill and was missed and misdiagnosed (which wasted critical time) by 3 doctors before desperately seeking help from a 4th at a clinic. Unlike the others, he instantly realised my experience of severe intermittent loss of vision coupled with double vision episodes and staggering were due to a stroke and rushed me to hospital.

It turned out that he too was on the spectrum. The 3 previous NT doctors seemed to think I was making my symptoms up - not unusual I think as we AS people communicate in atypical ways and often avoid eye contact when concentrating or distressed, as you will know; and both doctors and the public are misled by the insistent misleading advice in NZ that stroke symptoms are only the acronym "FAST" ones, and nothing to do with vision at all, a myth unfortunately promoted by the Stroke Foundation in NZ.

There is a huge need for neurodiverse doctors in our medical system. Especially women.

Burnout passes; you may emerge from it stronger than before. May I ask if you are tended to perfectionism? Beat yourself up for minor self-perceived failures? Many of us are to self punishing levels and unrealistic expectations. We can emerge from burnout as stronger people; its a big lesson...

For now, perhaps, give yourself credit for all you have achieved. PM me if you wish. Best wishes (hug)

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Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 19 Nov 2022
Gender: Female
Posts: 3
Location: Monterey County, CA

19 Nov 2022, 10:20 pm

Hello, Please do not stop being a doctor if that is what you want to do.We need better doctors, there are so many bad ones. You already know this. And if you don't want to be an MD there are other ways you can use your knowledge. All that is good about what you learned was not a waste of time.

I hope you can take the time you need to get better, but, I don't think you need to quit medicine. I know it sounds redundant and obvious but, I find it still helps when anyone, even random strangers, say things like it really is okay to take care of yourself. Or, taking quiet time does not mean we are lazy and incompetent... I laugh saying this because I do need to listen to my own pep talk. It is hard to give ourselves permission to rest, to not beat ourselves up. I also know that it seems impossible to, "take care of oneself," when you are the one required to take care of others. I couldn't do it for years. Maybe I didn't know how or who to ask for help. It seemed like trying to talk about my issues got the response, "life is tough all over." Many things are a lot worse than having a strange brain, even worse than burning out. But, what I am trying to say is, no life is not the same kind of tough all over.

I hope you can find a way to use your knowledge and wisdom in a medical career if that is what you want. You are in a position to become a Dr. that can help the dysfunctional fracking medical system get a clue about how to help people get through burnout, and the rest of it.

I was diagnosed about a year ago. This was after several years of psychologists and psychiatrists saying ptsd, grief, severe depression and severe anxiety disorder. All that led to them doling out drug after drug. I had bad reactions to drugs, very bad. The anti-anxiety are not as bad as the anti-depressants and anti-psychotics. Anyway, what may very well have been burnout was aggravated by all the awful chemicals half a dozen different psychiatrists kept wanting me to try. Finally, a therapist suggested I may be ASD. I filled out forms and seemed to match almost all the "criteria." When I told a new young woman psychiatrist this, she sent me to the behavioral specialist who made a pretty quick diagnosis. I still haven't sorted out what it means to be an ASD person. But, I do know we need more people in the medical field to figure out how to help rather than do more harm.

Maybe seeing my exhaustion, sadness, inability to get things done and moderate agoraphobia as a burnout rather than incompetence and failure will somehow help me pull out of it. I hope saying all this is helpful in some way.


Joined: 31 Mar 2022
Age: 44
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,467
Location: Cardiff, Wales

20 Nov 2022, 6:27 am

Why not keep doing the part time telemedicine? You might recover while doing that?

Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 6 Dec 2022
Age: 23
Gender: Female
Posts: 6
Location: Canada

06 Dec 2022, 2:04 am

Honestly? I wish I were a doctor so that neurotypicals would finally give me the respect and basic humanity/decency that I deserve. Has this been your experience?


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Joined: 23 Feb 2020
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,265
Location: Alpena MI

07 Dec 2022, 7:49 am

burnout is real! Would it be an alternative to rest up and take a break for a while, recover your emotional and neurological resources, and take more training as a specialist in autism? there is such a crying need for autism specialty doctors. Doing work as a doctor in another form may be a way to keep the profession you have worked so hard to train for, but alter the way of doing things to fit your diagnosis and your best strengths. Sounds like everything is happening so fast and you have sustained for so long that you may be simply overwhelmed. Take time for self care and sorting it all out. Glad you are with us.


"Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.” Samuel Johnson

Sea Gull
Sea Gull

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Joined: 6 Jun 2011
Age: 48
Gender: Female
Posts: 221
Location: Scotland

13 Dec 2022, 9:13 am

ASD diagnosed advanced paramedic here. If you still want to be a doctor, then please don't give up. I burned out in 2020, ironically because they switched me to telemedicine on 12 hour shifts. I managed it for about 6 months. Overclocked my brain and broke it for a bit. Took me 10 months to recover from depression and PTSD symptoms. All good now.

I reckon the most important thing is to take a break. Be as nice to yourself as possible. And as others have said, ASD doctors are a valuable thing.

Take care, hope you feel better.