What is Autistic burnout? From Autism Women’s Network

What is Autistic Burnout?
a guide from Autism Women’s Network

 

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Signs:
• Lack of motivation (hard to care about goals when everyday life is overwhelming)
• Loss of executive functioning abilities (decision-making, organization, etc.)
• Difficulty with self-care
• Easier to reach overload or meltdown
• Loss of speech, selective mutism
• Lethargy, exhaustion
• Illness, digestive issues
• Memory loss
• Inability to maintain masks or use social skills
• Overall seeming “more autistic” or stereotypical
• May have period of high energy before collapse

Causes:
• Passing as neurotypical / suppressing autistic traits
• Doing ‘too much’, too much stress
• Aging: needing more downtime, having less energy
• Changes, good or bad (relationships, jobs, living arrangements, belongings, environment, routines…)
• Sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, dehydration
• Illness
• Sensory or emotional overload

Strategies:
• Time
• Scheduling breaks, managing spoons
• Leave of absence
• Stimming, sensory diet
• Exercise
• Massage
• Reminders and supports
• Routines
• Better environment/job/etc.
• Boundaries, saying ‘no’
• Dropping the mask/façade
• Solitude
• Absolute quiet
• Creative projects, passions, special interests
• Paying attention to reactions and your body

Sources:
“Autistic Burnout – Are You Going Through Burnout?” Anonymously Autistic.
Endow, Judy. “Autistic Burnout and Aging.” Ollibean.
“Help! I seem to be getting more autistic!” Mel Baggs.
Kim, Cynthia. “Autistic Regression and Fluid Adaptation.” Musings of an Aspie.
Schaber, Amythest. “Ask an Autistic #3 – What is Autistic Burnout?”
Thanks to Lindsey Allen, AWN Nebraska, for compiling this guide ©Autism Women’s Network 2017

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