Requesting feedback about adult breakdown/burnout

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cardinality
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21 Feb 2014, 12:18 pm

Hi all,

I'm kind of stuck at the moment life-wise and was hoping I could hear from other adult Aspies who have had similar life-breakdowns/burnouts at some point.

TL;DR: I used to be a functional adult but then I just couldn't do it anymore & I had a Total Life Breakdown. :( I don't know what to do next.


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kirayng
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21 Feb 2014, 1:41 pm

I went through this type of thing a few years ago and am now coming off another "crash". I wish I had better news to give, I wish I could say that I rebuilt, tackled life head-on, then succeeded. The latter just isn't true I'm afraid. I'm again looking to applying for SSDI, this time with a lawyer's help. I hope for the best for you, if you are able to triumph over this seemingly repetitive adversary.



BirdInFlight
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21 Feb 2014, 4:55 pm

I'm still in process of coming out the other end of something similar, so I don't yet have a "here's the way through!" story for you, but I just wanted to say how I agree with you how damned frustrating it must be when those counselors say "But you worked hard before! Was in school before" and fail to get how high a stress price you paid for exactly that kind of sustained effort.

I totally get that as its similar in my case. "Before" means nothing, in fact the "before" is exactly what got you to today's issues, as is my case also. Just wanted to say I totally understand.

I wish you well and hope they understand that too, one day soon.

.



alpineglow
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23 Feb 2014, 12:43 pm

After my partner's suicide a long time ago, I should have made myself get more counseling and deal with it. It has become a long drawn out bad stress for me as a result. My suggestion is therefore based on that experience: focus on processing (I really don't like that word, but it works here) the death of your partner first. Then the other issues and necessities. Maybe get a part time job that is super easy, for now.



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23 Feb 2014, 2:20 pm

I crashed and burned in 1989 - 90 aged 26, and the worst/most extreme and manic-depressive part of the breakdown lasted until Spring - Summer 1992 when I had a brief and weird out of body experience during which I seemed to see my body below me looking somehow like a beaten/battered/broken animal, and feeling terribly sorry for it and my role in its "abuse" started crying, and my hands rose to my face to wipe away my tears, and I "understood" that my body "loved" me, and would do anything it could for "me", and so I kissed my wet palms, and decided to look after my body "in return" for all its love ... :)

I know it sounds whacko, :lol but it happened and was transformational. :)

I began to exercise ( walking and swimming mostly ) and to eat wholefoods, and finding that this was only partially successful I began to read books about health from the local library ( it was pre-internet! ) and accidentally came across a book about the links between diet/nutrition and mental health, ( including bipolar, anxiety and depression and schizophrenia ), and I began the long and often astonishingly difficult process of excluding gluten and other things sometimes, esp sugar, from my diet ... and my mental health improved, in some ways almost overnight.

The morning of the fourth day of my first ever exclusion diet I woke up and could hardly believe it; there was an incredible peace. I had without realising it been living for years with the most shattering/exhausting noise in my head, like living in a shopping mall over a motorway next to an airport and a construction site, and suddenly all at once the endless racket was no more. I had become so used to the "noise" that I wasn't even aware of it until it had gone.

I managed to get my first "proper" ( ie. not just a few weeks of p-t waitress or petrol-station attendant ) job in over three years, ( in a library ) and stuck it for three years, mostly on a part-time/jobshare basis, but it was enough to pay the bills etc, and began my long journey back to some sort of stability and solidity.

I *have* been depressed a few times since, had bouts of anxiety, etc, ( for a few weeks or several months on occasion ), but nothing like the total collapse of that time.

I have excluded gluten on an increasingly long-term basis, after many years of on-off exclusion, having found that whenever I reintroduce it the negative effects gradually accumulate ( after the initial "high"/buzz etc, over a few weeks to months ) until become unbearable/increasingly hard to cope with, and also avoid/cut down on sugar and dairy and odd other things from time to time, having found that I really am "what I eat" etc.

I have been a full-time home-unschooling mother of one, probably AS, son for the last 14 - 15 years, and not had to go out to work/earn a living, but I definitely put my turn-around/recovery/partial renaissance down to changes in my diet. :)

I recently had to exclude gluten again after almost two years back on it, ( because things had seemed so solidly good, and I thought *surely* I can handle some pizza!! ! :lol :( ) in bouts but with not enough time between them to fully clear my system of it ( it can take up to 6 months to see some of the more profound positive effects ), because of creeping insidious and increasing depression/negative outlook on things, and am feeling, four months on, much *much* better for it! :D :)

Good luck and best wishes with your own repair/rest/recovery and stability. :) xxx



mouthyb
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23 Feb 2014, 6:49 pm

Sounds familiar--I tend to overload myself, working several jobs and taking a full time load in grad school.

I've never gone quite as far. Never been institutionalized, never checked myself into a hospital, even though I've badly needed to. You would know best what you can and cannot take, but for me, it's a function of various forms of compensation (which are completely exhausting.) I can get away with more at work/school/wevs when I spend an adequate amount of time off the job/school/etc in a carefully created safe space for me. My house is dim, quiet, full of books, smells good and is otherwise as low stim as I can get away with. When I'm not out doing the s**t I gotta do, I'm in this space, re-cooperating.

There's something about making a space which I control, in which I can make myself comfortable, that helps prevent me from doing what I often think about doing (ie running screaming into the sunset.) I don't know if that's helpful advice, but I find it helpful.

Another thing I do is spend a lot of time with my computer, which is also a controlled environment for me--if there's a problem with my computer, it has a fixed cause which can be discovered and repaired, unlike interactions with people.

Finally, I get away from therapy professionals and other people without my condition when I'm really stressed. They mean well, but you've probably noticed that they give advice for normal people, with completely different functioning profiles, and that they keep placing the burden of compensation directly on you. What this means is that they can and often do make the situation worse--we may have to compensate for them, but you need some space in which you aren't constantly freighted with the burden of compensating for NTs.

I come here and read the words of people like me, who have similar problems and to whom my functioning is not.... aberrant and in need of repair. It may be that they help you, but I find therapists make my life worse (and since I've been going to therapists off and on since I was 16, I feel qualified to make that assessment, 20 years later.) People having similar problems, however, even if they can't offer a solution, make things better.

I've been lucky enough to exchange messages with some people on here. It's been of great use in making me feel less like a freak and more like someone with a unique functioning profile.

That's my $.02--I hope any of it is of use to you.


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Buttercup
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25 Feb 2014, 9:14 am

Yes, it could be said I've "crashed". You are not alone.
I've come to the conclusion that society is moving faster and faster and those of us who have trouble keeping up (but might do very well in a slower paced society) are getting sidelined.
So often I look out into the world and I see the rat race picking up speed. I am content to sit and watch the rat race without being part of it because I see their goals and want nothing to do with them. And I am noticing more and more people like us, who do not want their lifestyles, or their games.
It's sad you are by yourself and resources are limited, and few care. So sad. :(

I'm thinking there should be some new Personality Disorders added? Apathy Disorder, Shallow Personality Disorder, Stimulus Craving personality disorder.
But of course we will not be seeing these. I used to be told not to point my finger at others.
And good luck on ssdi.



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25 Feb 2014, 10:34 am

Apply for SSDI, get a lawyer and be prepared to fight for it if need be.

Do NOT feel guilty...the system is there for people that need help, and right now you need help...and all these other people who are telling you what you should do aren't living in your body...remember that.

You need time to heal and regroup...there is nothing saying you have to stay on SSDI...you may find something later low stress that you'd be perfect at, you might find a work at home option...in two years you might feel on top of the world...or you might not.

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"Well you did so well before...you were working before, you went to school before..." but what they aren't getting is a.) what that cost me, and b.) my store of energy for that type of coping is completely done. I can't go back to living that way; I would rather be dead, and I have told them that.


Yeah, I heard that one a lot. People tend to look at what you've done, never how you managed doing it. For me it was shutting myself in a room every day after work because I was so overwhelmed from dealing with people at work there wasn't anything left, I couldn't deal with what life had to offer because I was already used up.

That strategy worked until I got married and had a kid. We all know a mother that can work full time, take care of the house, kids, attend little judy and johnnie's soccer games and chit chat with the mother's on the school board. Well...I'm not her...and trying to be her would is impossible.

I have a crap load of sensory issues along with AS, and fibro. I crashed in my 30's.

Therapists may try...but unless they really "get it" or like I say "live it" most don't really have a clue. They are there to help you get back into the normal world, and function like one of them. Which is great...if you were normal...I'm not and even 80 years of therapy is not going to change most of my issues. :lol:

Good luck.


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mouthyb
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25 Feb 2014, 3:01 pm

You know what would be completely awesome? An AS friendly retreat, somewhere quiet. I'd imagine there's an audience for that product, either privately or through the use of public funds as a therapeutic device for helping people with AS recover from and/or deal with life crises.

I'd go. Especially if it was staffed by non-NT people.


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ouinon
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26 Feb 2014, 8:32 am

mouthyb wrote:
You know what would be completely awesome? An AS friendly retreat, somewhere quiet. I'd imagine there's an audience for that product, either privately or through the use of public funds as a therapeutic device for helping people with AS recover from and/or deal with life crises.

I'd go. Especially if it was staffed by non-NT people.

I looked into that :) ;) ; convents and monasteries usually only take novices until about age 35, ( convents are the worst for wanting new members young ), on average/except in special circumstances/unless already doing regular voluntary work in their community, so get your application in quick! :) Lay communities are slightly more flexible about age of entry, and instead place lots of emphasis on regular voluntary work/involvement in retreats/activities with them. :) Seriously, this is what I began to think would be perfect, except that I only had the faintest and most intermittent interest in joining such a place *before* my burn-out, and by the time I was up to looking around for things like this I was already hitting the upper age limit. :) :( :?

Some lay communities/eco-villages/spiritual centres do offer/allow people to stay with them for periods of a few months etc while working in their kitchens, gardens, on maintenance projects etc, but not always, or often, for free, or without prior connections with them.

I haven't given up on such a possibility though, just waiting until my son is 16 - 18 and to see where and with which, if any, community I would like to "settle"/invest in sustained voluntary work/time and effort to support an application for permanent membership.
.



otherthan
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31 May 2014, 9:56 pm

I am crashing in mid-life. I've cried everyday for the past 3 years. I've had many stressors and feel like I am in perpetual melt down. I am going to see a psychiatrist who is an asperger's expert in hopes he can work his magic on my over taxed brain. My CNS has been working overtime since I came out of the womb and now I'm just pooped and have to learn to decompensate whether I want to or not. My executive function button is completely switched off and I have a mountain of bills I keep putting off till tomorrow. I still have hope though, hope that there will be something that will all work out right in the end. Most of us aspies have an optimistic wild streak inside. Mine just teeters between idealism and nihilism and lately the nihilistic is winning.



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31 May 2014, 11:58 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet

I am trying to recover from Adult AS burnout with VR and will try for SSDI this summer.

Don't let those counselors force you into doing things unhealthy for you
You need most of all TIME to recover.
You are NEVER going back to all that crazyness. That level of all out pushing yourself and stress will cause a extroverted neurotypical to burnout, never mind an Aspie with low working memory/executive function. That you got as far as you did is a miracle, pat yourself for that and don't try it again.

This is really important. You have to differentiate between what you need and what you want. At least some of what you want but do not need, should to be cut out for a while if not for good. With our executive function deficits this will take time and can add it's own stress but at the end goal is to find out who you are. The real Aspie you has been suppressed in the service of pleasing others, she wants to come out, let her. If that means stimming find a private place and do that

I see you like New Wave and other tense, stop start music. I have been loving and relating to it since the 1970's . But lately I have been mixing in stuff I used to think was cheesy stupid stuff. We have more then one emotion, so we need to listen to more then style.

Good luck and keep in touch.


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otherthan
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01 Jun 2014, 9:06 am

I am crashing in mid-life. I've cried everyday for the past 3 years. I've had many stressors and feel like I am in perpetual melt down. I am going to see a psychiatrist who is an asperger's expert in hopes he can work his magic on my over taxed brain. My CNS has been working overtime since I came out of the womb and now I'm just pooped and have to learn to decompensate whether I want to or not. My executive function button is completely switched off and I have a mountain of bills I keep putting off till tomorrow. I still have hope though, hope that there will be something that will all work out right in the end. Most of us aspies have an optimistic wild streak inside. Mine just teeters between idealism and nihilism and lately the nihilistic is winning.



jrjones9933
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01 Jun 2014, 9:41 am

Just doing what I want for a while usually helps me recover from burnout. I try to take at least one afternoon a week and not put myself under any pressure to do anything at all during that period. If I stay in that mode long enough to get really bored, though, it seems to take longer to get myself moving again.

It sounds like you and other posters in this thread have had a more intense experience of burnout than I've ever had, though, so I don't know if my scheme will work as well for you as it does for me. Probably, though, having some kind of break on a very regular basis will help at least a little.



B19
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01 Jun 2014, 6:27 pm

Discovering a book called The Edge Effect helped me recover. It helps you identify how your neurotransmitter levels are impacting on your behaviour, emotional state etc and which ones you personally need to build up from a deficiency state. I bought the book really cheaply from The Book Depository - though it was really priceless in terms of the value it had for me.



TraceyWalker
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08 Oct 2015, 5:03 pm

I was hyper focused successful model in my 20's - 30's retired while opening an agency, then international agency owner in my 30's. I was a workaholic and then I crashed and burned in 2006 at 39. Become a reclusive hermit making avatar 3d online gaming creations 18 hours a day for 3 years, then I crashed even more due to home stress.

I finally somehow had either 2 directions to die (I was giving up on life completely) or to run and I ran in 2012 and now coming back the last 3 years to life with a wonderful new husband who is crazy about me and has gently let me pull my millions of pieces and glue them back together, finding out it was autism since birth and not being diagnosed till 2014, everything fell together...

now i am on a new journey hoping my once hyper focused energy comes back but this time as an autistic advocate....

researching everything I can and today is about the burn out I experienced and came here....

:-)