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B19
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22 May 2018, 4:05 am

This is a big read, though information of burnout is generally lacking even in the AS world, and this article covers it more deeply than most I have seen:

http://www.theautisticadvocate.com/2018 ... t.html?m=1

I am posting this in the Haven as burnout does seem to be an underlying issue in many of the threads posted here, and the article addresses links between burnout, suicidal perception, depression and has some insight to offer.

Hope that it is also of general interest and adds to awareness about the phenomenons of burnout and the different ways it may show itself.



leahbear
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28 May 2018, 5:04 pm

That’s a great article. His list of warning signs of autistic burnout is very accurate from my point of view. I’m just coming out of a burnout and it took me around 9 months from my lowest point. I was lucky enough to be able to quit my job and focus all of my energy on taking care of myself. Thanks to WP I realized I was going through a burnout but at the same time I kept worrying that it was never going to end as it went on for almost a year. I also occasionally had the feeling of being backed into a corner and wanting to escape and thinking that death sounded so peaceful. At the same time I wasn’t depressed and knew I wouldn’t act on it, I think I felt desperate. It seems sad that this is such a common occurrence in our population but is only talked about amongst ourselves and is not acknowledged but is misunderstood by professionals.



B19
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28 May 2018, 5:18 pm

Thanks for your feedback. I hope more people access this information and find it helpful.



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28 May 2018, 6:18 pm

Phew, that brought a few tears, but thankyou very much B19, I am so glad I read that. :D

So much of what is written there is, as the author puts it, "my normal". Even the terrible crashes every few years have become so routine that they are "my normal" too. The last time I was referred to mental health services, they asked me what benefits I was hoping for from therapy; all I could come up with was; "to not have to come back here; one way or another, I'm not going through this again." But I had no idea what "this" even was; I was told it was depression, but I had met enough people who had suffered depression to know that there was something different about my experience, and that it never seemed triggered by any notably traumatic events in my life, just exhaustion. This eventually led to my autism diagnosis, but not really to much explanation for the crashes.

It is so true that the autism community seems to be the only source of information and advice about this. Everything I have learned about burnouts has come from on-line forums (mostly WP, of course!) I think the article does a very good job of showing how the different kinds of burnout relate to each other and to other autistic traits, which is naturally harder to do in short forum posts, so it's been a valuable read because it's helped me glue together what I've been learning elsewhere; I shall definitely be reading it again and sharing it.

I wonder if it would be worth collecting together some of your article links into a sticky, B19; you really do pick some absolute gems. :heart:


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B19
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28 May 2018, 7:08 pm

It's great to read your feedback.

We can no longer create stickies here on WP. They start to get so numerous that they can become noise rather than sound (if you get my meaning).

I have a particular interest in burnout though, having experienced some severe episodes of it myself, before I knew about AS. I knew that it wasn't the depression that doctors thought it was. I am a good researcher, (university made me one, decades ago) but I couldn't really find anything that was a "good fit" for what I was experiencing. Some of the PTSD literature and research came much closer than the depression misdiagnoses that were so unthinkingly (and so quickly) wheeled out by doctors who had never met me before and hardly listened to me. They saw that something was distressing me, and made the reflexive misdiagnosis of depression. I am sure this still happens to AS people and is happening to hundreds of them while I am writing this post.

Anyone quickly browsing this thread can quickly self-test their level of burnout awareness by answering (or not being able to) these 3 questions:

If you saw someone going through Autistic Burnout would you be able to recognise it?
Can you describe to yourself exactly what Autistic Burnout means?
Would you know, and be able to write down, what its impacts would be for yourself (if you are an Autistic person)?

I think it is a topic that we could do with more threads on, more discussion on, more attention to. Very few AS members (if any) will never experience it. And the relationship of undiagnosed burnout to suicide, discussed in the link, is very real too I think.

So it is for me one of the BIG topics.
Thanks for your support :heart:



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28 May 2018, 7:33 pm

B19 wrote:
And the relationship of undiagnosed burnout to suicide, discussed in the link, is very real too I think.

Indeed, that part of the article was particularly poignant for me, and what brought the tears. I understood completely the description of encountering simple everyday events that, apparently out of nowhere, make me think; "if I just step a couple of feet that way, I can have peace at last." It can be very different from the stereotypical idea of the lonely depressive, obsessively planning their demise, or much of the common advice about spotting suicide risk. It's also very easily hidden for those of us with years of practice at passing, or when our behaviour can't be read according to the usual neuro-typical models of behaviour.


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28 May 2018, 8:08 pm

Excellent article B19 and thanks for posting. It makes so much more sense than "depression." I have always felt that I have never been depressed...just exhausted beyond comprehension. And indeed, when I rest enough, I come out on the other end full of love of life and living. I was very lucky to have had the experience of being told that when emotions run high, I would need more sleep. This was in the middle of a crisis, of course. I didn't know I was aspie at the time and certainly the other person did not know that about me, but he did know that there is physical recovery (rest, sleep) involved in emotional stress, not just emotional recovery. His comments gave me "permission" to rest more, something I was loathe to do because I thought I could take anything. (Superwoman, anyone???) :oops: I need a lot of rest and a lot of alone time to function. Luckily being self-employed, I have control over my work schedule and much of my work is from the home office.


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B19
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28 May 2018, 8:23 pm

Thanks. I think the "first mantra" of burnout is GET THE REST YOU NEED. People here are probably sick of me saying it.. though it is the foundation stone of subsequent steps to recovery.

It's a kind of fatigue that strikes on all levels at once (unlike most other kinds of fatigue) - the physical, the emotional, the psychological, the deep level of Self beyond those levels. It totally infiltrates the mind and heart and core of a person, and reclaiming some physical energy can be the most important thing in the critical early stages, and not beating yourself up because you need to rest/sleep all day until some new green shoot of new energy reappears.

I fear that many AS people are shamed for needing that kind of rest in burnout, and it grieves me.



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28 May 2018, 9:43 pm

That article really resonated with me , it explains so f*****g much , shame it took decades to be enlightened.

I have never posted anything autistic related on my facebook ever but just posted this article 8O

I think I may of just outed myself :roll:


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28 May 2018, 10:05 pm

Trogluddite wrote:
B19 wrote:
And the relationship of undiagnosed burnout to suicide, discussed in the link, is very real too I think.

Indeed, that part of the article was particularly poignant for me, and what brought the tears. I understood completely the description of encountering simple everyday events that, apparently out of nowhere, make me think; "if I just step a couple of feet that way, I can have peace at last." It can be very different from the stereotypical idea of the lonely depressive, obsessively planning their demise, or much of the common advice about spotting suicide risk. It's also very easily hidden for those of us with years of practice at passing, or when our behaviour can't be read according to the usual neuro-typical models of behaviour.


Being at height is usually when it occurs to me - if I just jump it will be over in a flash. I always thought it was L’appel du vide but maybe not.


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29 May 2018, 9:48 am

Thanks for posting the article B19.


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30 May 2018, 10:15 pm

B19, I struggled with explaining this to my therapists for years and they would always tell me that I had to learn how to balance it. This post meant so much to me because it not only told me that I'm not insane or going insane, I'm simply not surrounded by people who would have similar experiences. I immediately consider suicide as a first option in my trough periods. . . But I always seem to bounce back to the point that I forget I was in a dark place. I just don't want "this" to happen again.


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30 May 2018, 10:28 pm

SaveFerris wrote:
That article really resonated with me , it explains so f*****g much , shame it took decades to be enlightened.

I have never posted anything autistic related on my facebook ever but just posted this article 8O

I think I may of just outed myself :roll:


Edit: I bottled it and removed my post 24 hours later


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B19
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30 May 2018, 10:39 pm

It probably helped someone out there SF, and that's one more who benefited :) I wouldn't post it on my FB page, though I would post it on a neurodiverse FB group's page, and there are some good pages.

I think so much about people who are misdiagnosed lately, where they are medicated for other conditions while the burnout cause is ignorantly ignored by the prescribing of medications that often worsen the person's plight - and it is TRAGIC that when that happens, the ignorant professional's response is to INCREASE the dosage of the wrong drug for the wrong condition, compounding the patient's personal situation and missed diagnosis.

Because the extent of the ignorance in the medical community is so great - we have to 1) educate ourselves 2) help each other fill in gaps about this and 3) spread the knowledge in ways that are SAFE for ourselves. Having advocated to doctors and others for a long time myself, I would say (from my experience) that the importance of balancing the last with self care and self protective skills can't be over-estimated.

I am really glad that a number of people thus far have found the article validating and helpful.



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31 May 2018, 2:38 pm

My doctor tried really hard to convince me I was depressed. I left her office in tears and won’t be going back. Instead I did a half dozen sessions of self regulation therapy during the worst of my burnout and I think it really helped to settle my system down.