An Autistic Perspective – Autistic Burnout


Some autistic people have a “talent” for pushing themselves past where they should push themselves.

What do you do to get out of burnout?

I like to take a lot of time alone to just rest and recover and do activities that are “downtime” activities.



Hey guys!  So, in this video, I want to talk about autistic burnout because it is something people talk about a lot, and I don’t think I’ve seen a lot of videos on the subject.  So, here we go.

Some autistic people have a “talent” for pushing themselves past where they should push themselves.  I don’t know if that’s because some of us also are able to kind of tune out our bodies at times – and this isn’t everyone – but, when you keep pushing over and over and over again for an extended period of time, eventually you do start to wear down.  You kind of break down, and that’s when autistic people say we’re experiencing autistic burnout.

It can look different for every autistic person.  For me, that can look like … generally, I might be more tired.  I will be more withdrawn, and kind of retreat into myself a bit more.  I may be less talkative for a period of time, and that’s probably because I’m finding that having communication is taking a lot more energy and effort than normal.  And I feel like sometimes getting even the correct word out of my mouth can be difficult when I’m in these burnout periods.  It really can take a toll on communication.  I’m just like, not into it right now.  I think that’s just a self-protection – I’m like “Nope!” because it becomes more difficult.

You know, certain things … I just don’t feel myself.  My creativity struggles.  But if I keep pushing myself past that point, I can start to have physical health problems flare up, because I do have some health conditions that lay dormant and stay that way.  But when I push myself too hard, that’s when those things tend to get aggravated.  So, that’s what happens for me in burnout.

Other autistic people say they may have more meltdowns in burnout, or they may have a lot of different things, and I don’t want to speak for other people.  So, let me know in the comments if you’ve experienced burnout and what triggers that for you, what that’s like for you, and also how you get out of burnout.  What do you do to get out of burnout?  I like to take a lot of time alone to just rest and recover and do activities that are “downtime” activities.  Let me know.

Alright guys, I’ll talk to you next time!  Bye!




If you like what I do, and would like more, please consider subscribing on Patreon. Transcriptions above paid for by the Patreon Subscribers.  I truly appreciate you!

13 thoughts on “An Autistic Perspective – Autistic Burnout

  1. I love the fact that there’s a transcription of your video ❤

    My auti-burn-out symptoms are pretty much the same as an NT-burn-out: tired, worn out, emotional. But the difference is that it keeps flaring up and it doesn’t go away after a few weeks, or months, of ‘just not working’.

    After every one of my three burn-outs, it has taken me YEARS to regain the energy to do basic selfcare. I still don’t have enough to also do household chores and/or have a social life. I can either be showered, fed and had some semi-restful sleep, OR I can come to parties (and leave after 30 mins and recover for a week), OR have a clean house.

    And yes, I usually prioritize showers over parties and a clean house. Also because I hate parties and hoovering (and only semi-hate showering).

  2. I’m in burnout atm after moving back home for summer after uni. The past week has been like constant stress of me trying to control and organise packing and cleaning and also maintain my relationship with my girlfriend (who is amazing, but she isn’t autistic and I sometimes find it overwhelming to have to think about her needs and emotions when I can barely get the hang of mine). Now I’m home I realise that I’d been carrying on as normal through more mental and emotional and physical stress than I can actually handle and I’m burned out. My burnouts look like: way more tired than usual, physical symptoms like earache, backache and stomach pain, more sensitive to light and sound than normal and either not wanting to communicate with others or actually going nonverbal. Haven’t really figured out how to deal with it, I know that hot baths help me and just spending a few days in my room

  3. I’m in burnout after publishing 8 separate titles and 2 boxsets in 2 years. A combination of that and the counselling service I was seeing closing caused me to hit a wall last September and I still haven’t recovered.

    I have 3 more manuscripts to publish, but no matter how much I want to, and how hard I try, I’m lucky to work on them for more than 1 day a week. The rest of the time I’m practically a zombie, staring at the computer screen and doing little else.

    I know I need to take the time, and I will come back to myself, and it’s good to know what it is I’m going through, and that I’m not alone, but it’s still frustrating.

  4. Yeah as an autistic it’s taken me many years to learn to pace myself and ease off before I push myself passed the breaking point.
    Learning to self-regulate is an ongoing process

  5. Burnout for me has lasted eight years, and with some recovery since reducing my stress significantly three years ago. But that recovery has been slow and only partial.

    I have experienced all the symptoms that I have ever read regarding it.

    My burnout may be exacerbated by chronic illnesses, however. I also have fibromyalgia symptoms, inflammation of my gut and all the joint in the right side of my body, and a form of hypothyroidism. These things give me a constant dose of overwhelming sensory stimuli in the form of discomfort and pain, so a prolonged burnout is to be expected.

    But, I basically didn’t even know I was autistic until I found myself acting stereotypically autistic post burnout. Since realizing that I’m autistic and luckily getting diagnosed as well, I can look back on the rest of my life and see how I have been experiencing the world as an autistic this whole time, just not adequately accommodating myself or demanding accommodations from others.

    1. Most autistics (if not all) experience gut problems. Do you get treatment for inflammation? I also have inflammation and leaky gut which manifests itself as chronic fatigue. Fibromyalgia is another common outcome. I was able to recover from my burnout (which was diagnosed as depression) that lasted 7 years by mostly fixing my gut through fecal transplantation, dietary change and antioxidant supplementation. Only after this I noticed that I was autistic as all that stimming and the overwhelming effect of social gatherings were almost gone. I avoid some foods (especially anything with additives) as they exacerbate these symptoms along with my other health issues such as gum disease.

  6. It baffles me a little bit to see people talking about burnout like it is a short term thing, lasting hours or days or just weeks, because my own experience has been so sever. And also, the first articles I’ve read regarding burnout were written by people who experienced it lasting from months to years to the rest of their lives.

    But I realize that it can occur on a spectrum, and it’s important to recognize that. It’s also important to recognize that if you keep pushing through your short burnouts, you’ll eventually experience a long one.

    1. With regard to these shorter term struggles, I think people use ‘burnout’ when they mean ‘fatigue’. It’s worth delineating, as the former is far more acute and prolonged than the latter.

      I liken it to when people say they have the flu, when in reality they just have a bad head cold. A head cold is still a legitimate ailment (that might even lay you up for a few days), but people often want the seriousness of the illness to reflect how awful they’re feeling, so they exaggerate a bit.

      For others, I think it’s just a lack of linguistic framework to explain their experience, so they work with the most prevalent phrase in the lexicon, as it most closely describes when they’re feeling.

      I get autistic fatigue when I’ve pushed myself beyond my limits for longer than my brain (and body) can handle. It might mean a need a day (or two, or three) of complete solitude and limited sensory input to process to recalibrate before re-entering the world. It’s unpleasant and inconvenient, and I’d rather never experience it, but it’s only a short term issue.

      Burnout (which I’ve experienced a few times in my life – once in university and twice in the workforce) is when you reach autistic fatigue, ignore it, and keep pushing on for weeks or months or years, even though your synapses are on fire. You keep going until you literally break down. Burnout takes months or years to recover from. It often means withdrawing from education or quitting/taking an extended leave of absence from work, and almost certainly means withdrawing from most/all social demands. It can look to outsiders like ‘autistic regression’ – losing language, reduced proprioceptive or interoceptive capacity, loss of fundamental executive function.

      Burnout is frightening. You don’t recover from that in a matter of days or weeks.

  7. I have burnout at the moment. I don’t know how to get out of it, I’m not even sure I’m autistic. But I know I’m not normal. This can’t be normal.

    Thank you for sharing.

  8. My son is learning to prevent/manage burnout. His go-to is screen time playing Fortnite and watching videos of other people playing Fortnite. People like to shame parents for giving screen time, but my kid needs it. It’s how he resets himself.

    I was really proud of him when we went to camp this summer. When the crowds and activities got to be too much for him, he took himself away and sat on the hill to just watch without interacting. I went as a chaperone to make sure no one tried to make him rejoin before he was ready.

    In our individualist culture, it’s ironic infuriating that we want to make neurodivergent people conform. “Be yourself, as long as you’re just like me.”

Leave a Reply