9

Autistic Burnout

I am burned out.  I am tired. I am weak. I am weary. I am completely depleted of spoons.

Autistic Burnout is a very real problem. Burnout is what happens from years of passing. Years of floating through and coasting as a neurotypical. And right now, it’s where I am. Right now, I am burned out.

I spent my school years pretending to pass. Pretending to be normal. Even though I’m a 2E kid, I still passed.

And all these years of passing are taking a dangerous toll.

Years of passing have lead to regression. To me losing my words more and more often. To me going into sensory overload more and more often. To my already shit memory being even more shit than usual.

I’m losing my coping skills. I’m regressing to a world of watching Pokemon, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Sailor Moon, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I’m escaping to a world of video games. I’m pulling away in some ways. I’ve tried so hard to pass as neurotypical and it’s becoming more and more evident that I cannot. That it’s not in the cards.

Autistic burnout is scary and tiring. I’m exhausted, but I cannot sleep. I’m always sleepy and yet never rested even when I sleep for hours on it. It even takes a toll on my physical health as I am weak and wary. I have nearly three decades (I’ll be 30 next year y’all) under my belt of faking it until I make it – but that’s come at the toll of my own health and my own life. I’ve always fully thrown myself into everything. I’ve always taunt myself how to cope. I’ve always acted like I’m NT, even when I’m so obviously not. Even when being Autistic is who I am.

I am burned out. I am regressing.

And while that’s not ideal…

for now, it’s okay, because it’s where I am.  Perhaps it means I can’t volunteer right now (I am unable to work for non-Autistic reasons and am totally and permanently disabled. It’s not bleak, it’s not hopeless, it’s just the fact) and perhaps it means I have to withdraw from advocacy to take care of myself. Pulling back sounds silly when I’m a baby newbie activist and advocate, but taking care of myself is important. I can’t help others if I can’t help myself (I’m not though – throwing myself into being an advocate is one of the few things giving me joy despite burnout).

Burnout is real.

Pretending to pass is dangerous.

And this is why I’ve had enough of your awareness and it’s fucking time for your acceptance.