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The term burnout is not a new concept for me or many readers I suspect. Maybe you or a loved one was fatigued by life’s stressors and were unable to push forward with goals or aspirations. What I think is missing from this conversation is what happens after recovery from burnout and the anxiety that comes with that healing. The fear that you could end up at that point again and how that impacts how you view your life’s choices. I would like to utilize this month’s blog entry, to define burnout, my recovery from past burnout, and how I dispelled lingering doubts in my mind even after making the most pragmatic moves to stay on track.
Burnout is defined as a state of emotional, mental, and even physical fatigue brought upon by prolonged or repeated stress. While burnout is commonly attributed to workplace stressors it also can impact those who are parents, in a caretaking role, or in a romantic relationship. Individuals with ASD can suffer from “autistic burnout” where stressors can be the aforementioned examples in combination with sensory burdens, masking “a strategy in which autistic people mimic neurotypical behavior by using scripts for small talk, forcing themselves to make eye contact or suppressing repetitive behaviors. These strategies can help autistic people in their jobs and relationships but require immense effort.” – www.spectrumnews.org
In my own life, addressing burnout meant going to therapy, attending groups, and working with autism counselors. These avenues of support were not granted to me during the state of stress but rather served their purpose after those events, to help me understand why certain stressors were so impactful in my point of view during that time.
I had two parents that were disabled and needed a great deal of support. An older brother with developmental disabilities and household finances I was handling as well. During those times, I’m not even sure if I knew what the word stress meant, honestly. I did my best for my family and I have no regrets about doing that. When my mother passed away, the veneer that I wore holding everything together fell apart and I could no longer do those duties. At that time, my older sister and other family members stepped in to support my father and brother, and for that, I’ll always be thankful.
Today, I have my own place, job, purpose, and higher education goals. By all intents and purposes, I made it. I even have a therapist that helps me along the way. Still, I have doubts if I can succeed, if I take on too much what will happen? Will I go back to that dark place? Those intrusive thoughts at times can render me immobilized, unable to think about or consider my future.
What has helped me though, is realizing that I’m not alone. That it’s okay to ask for help. That it’s okay to prioritize workloads that are manageable. I have to remember that I have to prioritize my own wellness. I’ve already accomplished so much, and with careful planning, I intend to continue walking a path to reach my full potential. I know that these fears won’t overtake me.
What about you readers? Do you have any stories about your own recovery from burnout? I would love to hear from you. Or perhaps did anything I write resonate with you?
Until next time, please take care.