Oh, so THIS is burnout — Autism and Emotional Soreness

After enduring a day in which I had to throw my bones ahead of my soul, nap in between meetings to recuperate, wrote way too much in musing poetic howling meter, and falling asleep cold whilst still daylight at 07:54 PM — the reflections converged.

Yes, Hunter, you can indeed burn out.

It wasn’t how I expected, nor did it come about like I expect this would for most autistic people.

You may know I do A LOT. It’s not a complaint: if anything it is a compulsion and pseudo-showcase of the insane autistic inertia I generate.

I can do and overdo a lot, but it doesn’t necessarily burn me out.

For me, my burnout appears to be emotional soreness.

Let us revisit the previous day:

This would not be a routine Wednesday, so already, my defenses were compromised.

My eldest daughter graduated Kindergarten, a first for us, in terms of experience as a parent, and in attending one of these ceremonies. I don’t remember my own Kindergarten graduation, but this carried some emotional heft — where it involved a mix of baby/toddler wrangling, event socializing, and a mix of finality. Our first official school year done.

My youngest daughter turned 1. She achieved this milestone in a year, so we’re proud of her in that. The day began with getting her cake shoot pics and just wrapping our hearts around little Jo — where we wanted to make the day special, knowing it would be a full day. Then again, she’s 1. She’s pretty happy with Goldfish crackers and being picked up.

We had an awards event that night too – I’ll leave the details scant, but we still had a major social obligation that night

AND THEN I was relayed some news (not bad, don’t worry) that packed a leveling blast-from-the-past punch, enough to where I basically tripped a fault wire and couldn’t process the enormity of it in the moment. I can’t wait to share that.

So the chain of events, plus a workday, just led to a lot of heavy emotional and practical lifting in the moment. And it was just that, lifting.

I didn’t feel it until the next day. I was hollowed. Vacant. Drained. Emptied and spent.

In the day I don’t think I could explain it.

But this must be my kind of autistic burnout.

Where some events are too much to process in the moment.

Where some enormities set in, but not all at once.

Where the emotional toll is felt as a booming echo that steals my strength.

I don’t remember the last time I collapsed into sleep before sunset — but the events of the previous day had taken my shell and plunged it into the blackened sand.

And that was that.

I was feeling it as emotionally sore.

It burned me out.

And now I know.

To learn more about autism from an autistic person’s perspective, follow & subscribe to The Life Autistic here and on YouTube — and follow the more whimsical, spontaneous, and amusing content on Instagram as well.

Oh, you’ll like this, by the way:

One thought on “Oh, so THIS is burnout — Autism and Emotional Soreness

  1. That tracks with Herbert Freudenberger’s definitions (with disassociation and performance drop). I think I’m coming out of a bad one from end of 2020 till March 2021 that left me unable to mask and with a psychological aversion to hyperfocus. It’s like someone stole all the spoons out of my kitchen draw. My good pal Mel Granchi who was going through the same thing wrote and excellent guide to recovering from autistic burnout.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s