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oboeyoudidnt
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28 Mar 2024, 4:36 pm

Is anyone willing to share their experiences with autistic burnout? How can someone tell it apart from, say, depression? And, for those who have been through autistic burnout before and gotten their lives back on track, what advice do you have for overcoming it?

(Sorry if this is the wrong forum for this, I just joined today.)


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PineappleLobster
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28 Mar 2024, 5:05 pm

I usually get burnout after going downtown, going to events, or family gatherings. I need about 1-3 days of recovery before i can go out and do things again.

When i’m burntout, i get very quiet. I don’t want to talk and i don’t want to be talked to. I need my headphones, as they comfort me and they block out unwanted noise. I whisk myself away to my room, away from any potential interactions, even it’s family. In my room, i just sit, crochet, and watch or listen to something for the rest of the day.

When I’m depressed, i’m bored. I feel like crying, i feel sad. I just want to go crawl into my bed, buried under so many blankets, and sleep. I want my thoughts to be gone, i don’t want to be conscious and experience the terribleness that is depression.
I don’t feel this way when i’m burntout, when i’m burnout, i just need a break. I need rest.


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utterly absurd
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28 Mar 2024, 10:03 pm

I don't get very serious burnout most of the time. For me it's usually just getting home after a long day and needing to rest. I go to a private space and read, listen to music, or something and don't want anyone around me. I just need time to reset because I'm exhausted from being around people all day.
If I go on vacation with my family or something where I have very little alone time for several days, I need more time to reset. I've tried to skip this and it always ends in yelling because I can't stand to be around people any longer.
Maybe this isn't really burnout; I don't know. It seems to me like small-scale burnout from being constantly around people for a few hours or days. As long as I can give myself some time to reset often enough, I don't tend to have larger-scale burnouts.


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Comet Zed
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29 Mar 2024, 6:53 am

I had a big day of socialising the other day. the next day my motivation was low, I was even more distractible and unfocused and quite sleepy around midday. I've not been too social lately so it was quite noticeable to me.

With prolonged socialising I start to feel exhaustion that is almost painful through my whole body. My executive function goes out the window and I will fall asleep easily but only sleep for an hour or two then be wide awake. My cortisol levels go through the roof, I guess from being in constant fight or flight mode. I will be masking heavily when I have to, then as soon as I can stop masking I will withdraw mentally and be very irritable if anyone imposes on me. I will engage in interests only as an escape and not really get too much pleasure from them. I will get pretty selfish trying to preserve what little spoons I have left.


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j_k
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29 Mar 2024, 5:15 pm

Experiencing now, and didnt manage it well this week. I was trying to continue to work and just make it to the weekend. Instead my anxiety went into high gear, I couldn't stop shaking, I was pacing, crying and eventually threw up. I work from home, so I feel very lucky for that. I'm on the couch flipping through some funny TV shows, the only thing that will change in the next day or two, is I'll move to my bed.

Socializing or being in busy, noisy places will definitely do it for me. I notice going to the grocery store around the holidays is difficult to manage.

I don't know how it would compare with depression. I guess, at least for me and my understanding, with burnout it seems I have a bit more ability to control avoiding the big crowds, or minimizing my time in then. Or I can try to take a break from more stressful things. It's not always possible, but it feels like something you can control with planning and being aware of how you are feeling.


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Donkeykid
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01 Apr 2024, 6:16 pm

My therapist and I are trying to get me tested, and these treads are really helping me put words to how I feel and burnout will be a new word I use. Thank you.



Tigato
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01 Apr 2024, 8:24 pm

I joined to reply (and hopefully discover a community) but now I can't figured out what to say, so it will be short...
I consider my self into deep autistic burnout for years and I can't find my way out... It's a horrible never ending experience during which I can barely do the minimum to live. I don't have supportive people around me and that's not helping.
I consider the autistic burnout to be a state lasting longer than few days. For shorter durations (hours/days), I prefer the term shutdown. I experienced a lot of shutdown during the last years which last 3-5 days.
(My executive functions are terrible which make writing "smart" comments very hard. I will try to come back for more practice...)



Tr1s
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05 Apr 2024, 10:42 am

I think there's no hard definitions, but for myself I'd consider burnout indeed lasting (much) longer than a few days.
I've been experiencing burnout since last spring/summer, and for me the biggest difference to depression is how physical the symptoms are. With depression, I feel mentally drained and don't want anything anymore, nothing makes sense. With burnout, I want to do things but my body just says 'nope'.
Some symptoms are lots of really terrible headaches, extremely tight muscles. I often feel like I have the flu, with body aches, feverish (but no actual fever). I have no energy at all. I used to be able to run 10k without problems, now I'm struggling to walk for 10 minutes and if I go much longer my body reacts with pain and sickness. With depression, once I actually made it outside, I'd actually feel much better also physically.
I'm nauseous a lot; I feel hungry but can't get myself to eat (whereas with depression I don't even feel hunger). I'm much more sensitive to sounds, light, smells than I was before.

To be fair, after now 8-12 months in burnout (depends on how you count it) I'm definitely also depressed again but mostly because my life has become very isolated and lonely because I can't do anything.

I don't have any strategies yet because so far nothing seems to really help and the fluctuation of symptoms seems quite random. I'm currently not working, I do the bare minimum in the household to stay alive. I started resting on a schedule (currently after 75 min I take 20 minutes rest) instead of listening to my body because I kept going on for too long every time, making symptoms worse. I've only been doing that for 10 days now, so not sure yet. But I have heard success stories with this approach.
I started meditating, trying to listen to my body better, working on feeling my emotions (instead of bottling them up).
I have been told it just takes a lot of time for the body to heal.

If anyone else has tips and advice, I'd be more than happy to hear them.