What is Autistic Burnout? What CAUSES Autistic Burnout?

This is a replay of a Facebook LIVE video with Transcription 


You can find the original Facebook post HERE.

Facebook video about Autistic Masking – transcript in progress


[00:00:00] We are live. Whew. Goodness. It feels really early as anyone else been messed up by the time change? It’s really wreaking havoc on my brain. I can’t even explain why. It just feels like everything has been wrong ever since it happened. Okay. Threw me – it’s throwing me off. I’ll get used to it, but it’s been a weird week.

[00:00:28] It’s like. Come on. Neuro-typicals stop with the time change – ruining autistic routines everywhere. Anyway, so this week I am going to be talking about burnout and thank you so much for joining me on this surprise live. I don’t think anyone really knew it was coming. I think I may have whispered something on Patrion Lens yesterday evening that I was probably gonna do it this morning cause I’m about to head out of town for the rest of the week.

[00:00:54] So I don’t know if I’ll have a good enough internet signal to do a live. Later in the week. [00:01:00] So here it is today, Wednesday morning. And for those of you autistic people who pick up on patterns, I’ve been doing a lot of Wednesday mornings lately. It’s just been the easiest day for me so far. So maybe Wednesdays might be the day.

[00:01:17] We’ll see. Um, but I’m not gonna. Lock myself into anything yet just yet, cause that might change. But this week I’m talking about burnout. Uh, and I want to just start by saying that burnout is not a strictly an autistic phenomenon. Neuro-typical people can burn out too. Uh, but neuro-typical and burnout in the general population does look different than burnout in autistic people.

[00:01:47] So today, I thought it would be a really helpful, since last week’s video was about masking. And one of the consequences of masking a lot of people have said is burnout, [00:02:00] uh, that we. Talk about burnout this week. So as a followup, um, we’re talking about burnout, and I will, after this video, put a link to last week’s video talking about masking somewhere where you can easily find it.

[00:02:14] Probably like in the description for this video in the comments. Um. So we should be here for about 30 to 45 minutes, maybe at the most it is a Q and. A. So if you have questions as I’m getting into the topic, go ahead and pop those in and comment the questions and I will come back and read those and pause in between and get to those questions.

[00:02:35] Uh, so I’m going to go ahead and dive in and we’ll talk about burnout. Uh, so first I want to talk about burnout. In the general population and what looks like when neuro-typical people burn out, and then the causes of burnout in neurotypicals and autistic people and how they differ.

[00:02:55] Uh, so first, you know, with, when the rest of the [00:03:00] world, not autistics are talking about burnout. Their burnouts are generally caused by being over committed, overextended, and overworking. And generally they talk about burnout in the workplace more than anything else. Um, which I mean makes sense because the workplace can be exhausting place, especially if we don’t pace ourselves and make self care a priority.

[00:03:27] Um, with the general population. What’s interesting is, especially talking about workplace burnout in the workplace, to get burnt out, you actually have to be a highly engaged employee who really cares about their job to burnout because you kind of have to be on fire to burn out. You have to be like you have to care enough to put your mental energy into really care.

[00:03:51] Uh, and give more than you should be giving, and then you burn out. And that’s workplace burnout. Um, also, you know, just being over committed, [00:04:00] feeling like you’re not supported in a workplace can help, can lead to burnout. Uh, having too many tasks and too many tight deadlines can lead to burnout. Um. Feeling like you aren’t able to make changes or your job is not meaningful, can lead to burnout in an organization.

[00:04:19] So that’s workplace burnout. And that’s specific, you know, too, or that’s not specific. That’s just kind of for any human that’s that specific type of burnout. Um. And so it was workplace burnout or with, you know, neuro-typical or just burnout in the general population. Some of the things you might look for to see if someone is burned out is they might be fatigued and slowed down.

[00:04:43] Uh, they may be depressed or anxious. Uh, they. May have physical illnesses and other sicknesses come up, uh, in the workplace, or, you know, in another situation, you know, if they’re like, maybe, um, I’ve heard people say there’s parenting burnout too. I’m [00:05:00] not a parent, so I can’t speak to that. Um, but people say, you know, it’s a disinterest, uh, in the things that they once loved.

[00:05:06] So if they once were loved their job and were engaged in their job, they may now. It seemed disinterested in their job and dispassionate with their job. Maybe even critical of their job that they once loved or critical of things they once loved. They can become very cynical. And so that’s like burnout in the general population.

[00:05:26] Uh, and it’s interesting to see how some of that really is similar and mirrors autistic burnout, although the causes of autistic burnout and burnout with notice that people are very different. Um, but you know, there are definitely similarities. And so, um, as an autistic person. It’s interesting to see how that overlaps and how, you know, we were not that different from neurotypicals, you know, we are different, but there’s a lot of ways we’re actually the same.

[00:05:55] It’s a humanity kind of a thing. The burnt out as a human problem, unfortunately. [00:06:00] Good morning. Let me take a sip of my beverage. Dry it out here.

[00:06:07] I got an allergy alert this morning. I don’t know what it was, but I feel it here. Allergies. Woo. Alrighty. So that’s no typical burnout. And now you know what, let’s, um, let’s talk about touristic burnout now, because that’s, that’s what more of you guys ask about. I just thought it would be good to throw in that other piece.

[00:06:34] Uh, so. One, you know, autistic burnout is specific to autistic people. Um, neurotypicals obviously aren’t going to get out of super and out unless they’re autistics and they don’t know it and they’re masked there maybe way, you know, undiagnosed autistics like, cause I didn’t know I was autistic until I was like 30.

[00:06:52] So you know, you, you, uh, you burn yourself out a lot more when you don’t know you’re autistic because you’re trying to

[00:07:00] hold yourself to impossible standards when you think you’re a neurotypical and you’re not a neurotypical, it’s tricky to say the least. And so autistic burnout, you know, it, it is specific to autistic people and it is caused by very different things than neuro-typical burnout as well.

[00:07:25] Uh, and some of the signs of autistic burnout. Like I said, how they’re similar to neuro-typical burnout would be autistic people. We can- a lot of us do- and I’ll actually, you know, I’ll just speak for what I’ve experienced because a lot of you have said you’ve experienced similar. Um, so my personal experience, and like I said, we’re all different.

[00:07:44] Every autistic person is unique. Um, but so my personal experience, uh, when I am burnt out, I lose all my creativity. I lose all desire to do anything social at all, and I have [00:08:00] a very small limited social quota to begin with in the first place. So then I become like, no, I don’t want to go out. I don’t want to see anybody.

[00:08:08] I don’t want to talk to anybody. I become total recluse. I have no energy. I become basically a zombie, like a hollow shell of myself, and I am just on autopilot. And basically in that burnout stage, I can manage to kind of keep my life coasting along, but I’m really only getting just the bare minimum things of life essentials done and life’s bare minimum.

[00:08:36] It’s like I’m getting to work, I’m getting through work, I’m surviving work, I’m coming home, and. I am crushing out. I’m not keeping up with housework. I’m not doing anything. I’m creative. I’m not doing the things that bring me joy. I am just in survival mode at all times. And if I stay in burnout too [00:09:00] long, I, you know, I have no energy.

[00:09:01] It’s like one of the first things my creativity is gone. I, you know, like that zombie brain, I can have physical symptoms of sicknesses. Um. There’s some neurological things that come back and go away when I’m healthy and when I’m burning myself out. Uh, and so there’s some illnesses I’ve had that flare up whenever I am burning, when I burned myself out.

[00:09:26] Um, and I can get really sick. Uh, I have dropped weight rapidly before when I was burnt out because I often stop eating. I. It’s, it’s not a good place for me to be and my, my brain isn’t working as well as it should probably cause I’m not taking care of myself and I’m feeling stressed. And so it’s like even like communicating and speaking can be more difficult because it’s like I have a hard time making my words and like finding words that would normally be easy for me to [00:10:00] access, just aren’t there.

[00:10:01] It’s hard. To explain. It’s just like everything isn’t working efficiently anymore. It’s a crappy place to be, and I’ve done it several times in my life and that makes this a really easy topic to talk about because unfortunately I have a lot of intimate knowledge and experience with being one of those autistic people who has a talent for pushing themselves further than they should.

[00:10:32] And then they keep going even further than that. I can literally run myself into the ground, um, and just tune everything out and not take care of myself. And that is not okay. And I used to just do that and then my body would get sick and forced me to stop because if you don’t listen, like your body’s screaming for self care.

[00:10:55] If you don’t listen, eventually it goes, keep screaming louder and louder and then [00:11:00] your body will make you stop. I, you will listen. Trust me, I’ve, I’ve done that a few times too.

[00:11:10] It’s not worth it. Not worth it at all. Excuse me. So, you know, those are, those are the signs of autistic burnout. And like I said, the, the difference between autistic burnout and neuro-typical burnout, you know, it would be the causes is one of the big differences. Um, so, well, also similar though, at the same time.

[00:11:38] So one of the causes that can be the same for autistic and non-autistic people is overwork. Or having. Too many commitments and not enough support. Um, that’s universal. So that is, that will universally burn anyone out. That’s something we have in common. Um, but also something unique to [00:12:00] autistic burnout.

[00:12:00] And the thing that brought us here today is last week’s video, talking about masking, uh, that autistic people do that not, not everyone does, uh, is, is masking. And. I’m not going to dive too deeply into masking. I will link last week’s video on masking somewhere for you to easily find it, so you can check that out.

[00:12:24] Uh, but so masking, as we talked about last week is really draining. It takes a lot of your extra energy because you’re focused on being somewhere else. Um, but then also masking. It’s hard on your self esteem because Jim really, you know, if I observed myself when I’ve been in situations where I’m asking, I’m asking and I’m around people where I either can’t be myself and I can’t be open or I don’t feel safe.

[00:12:54] And that’s why I’m asking. Or you know, I’m asking [00:13:00] because I, you know, I just, I don’t know if the people around me. Will be accepting of who I am and you know, maybe I’m in a professional setting or maybe I’m just uncomfortable, you know? But masking generally, you know, it’s, it come, I feel insecure when I’m asking, and that’s why I’m asking.

[00:13:22] I’m not masking, you know, and to be deceptive or intentionally like. Malicious or vindictive and lots of people don’t understand about autistic people and we’re masking. We’re not trying to play a trick on you. It’s not a trick. It’s, it’s, it’s the self defense mechanism. Um, it’s, it’s something we’ve done because, you know, we’ve been bullied and picked on by people and you know, maybe we, we did something and people were like, “Oh, that’s weird!”

[00:13:51] “Why, why you do that?” :What’s wrong with you?” “You’re a freak”. You know, people say things to us. And we learn that whatever, you know, somebody said is like, Oh, [00:14:00] whatever I was doing just there, don’t do that. Cause apparently that’s weird. And you’ve been weird, checked so many times by society that there are a lot of things and you become really nervous, like don’t do any of the weird things.

[00:14:11] Don’t do any of the weird things. It’s terrible. You know? And it’s so crushing and it’s like. It’s just don’t be yourself. Don’t be yourself. You can’t relax when you’re masking, and so it’s bad for your self esteem. And that’s your mental health, and then your mental health being down another risk group run out there in addition to just the draining exhaustion of masking.

[00:14:37] Uh, so that, that’s the other piece is that the effect masking has on your mental health and how you are more susceptible to mental health issues when you’re burnt out and you’re more susceptible to burn out when you have mental health issues. It’s a dangerous, vicious circle. Um, so. That’s the other issue with masking.

[00:14:57] Um, and so burn- [00:15:00] masking can cause burnout and burn-. Any – brain tongue words, uh, hang on. Reset. Okay.

[00:15:10] Did you ever get anyone else get those autistic brain reset moments? I just got gotta. Clear the air. I’ve got my notes here to make sure I don’t, I’m not really, this is not all in my head. Well, it’s in my head, but I can’t stay on track otherwise.

[00:15:24] Um, yeah. Anyway. Yeah. So,

[00:15:33] Ready. Ready, ready? Ready. The other one that people don’t talk about is sensory exposure. Okay. Okay. Over exposure to, yeah. Things in the sensory environment. Prolonged exposure. Like if I’m going to go be around fluorescent [00:16:00] lighting every day, that will eventually start to make me sick. We’ll start to get burnt out.

[00:16:11] So that is a real problem. And that’s something I don’t think we have enough research and science on. And that’s not something that is talked about as much as it should be, but it is definitely something that I have personally experienced, uh, on more than one occasion. And for me, my trigger is often fluorescent lighting.

[00:16:38] But like I said, every autistic person has a different sensory profile and a different experience. So some people’s triggers may be set, smells or sounds. Um, it’s interesting how the sensory experience can differ and you know, my sensory experience differs from day to day. If I’m burned out and feeling [00:17:00] tired and exhausted, then  my sensory tolerance is really low.

[00:17:09] I become like, you know, sometimes I can go into a store for like five minutes, pop in, pop out, and I can handle it and I can be okay. But if I’m exhausted or I’m burnt out or I’m not feeling well, or there’s something where I’m not my a hundred percent best and I go into that same store, that five minutes, I think I’m going to pop in and pop out.

[00:17:31] I might feel really horrible and stuff and goes South really quick in an unexpected way. Because I wasn’t at my best and I couldn’t do it that day. And I overestimated myself. And that’s something else that can kind of happen with autistic people and burn out.

[00:17:48] And that’s why a lot of autistic people really don’t love functioning labels because functioning can really fluctuate from day to day. Uh, my functioning [00:18:00] fluctuates depending on how well I’m taking care of myself. Honestly. Uh, when I’m burned out, I would say my functioning plummets and I would regress and lose a lot of my skills and functioning and ability.

[00:18:18] Burnout sucks –  is, is the point I’m trying to make. Um, so yeah, that, that, that is, that is the burnout speech. I guess. It’s not really a speech. It’s just me with my bullet points on burnout. Um, I do see there’s some questions. I’m going to scroll through and see the comments and I’ve got a little bit of time before I have to pop off.

[00:18:42] If you guys have questions and you want to start putting them in now, if you haven’t already. I’m going to scroll and see what I’ve missed as I’ve been rambling on. Thanks for listening to me ramble. I can info dump with the best of them. Um, let’s, let’s see what we got here. Thank you guys for your patience.

[00:18:58] Do, do, do good [00:19:00] morning. Good morning. Good morning. Okay. Does burnout happen fast when you’re working? It happens to me. You know, it really depends. Um. So there is something called stretch. And this is another universal thing in burnout that is universal to non-autistic people and autistic people. So when we’re working on tasks, any of us that are difficult for us, we have to stretch.

[00:19:30] Um, and we can all stretch every now and then to do something that is outside of our natural ability. And. That’s okay. We can survive. We can stretch. But yeah, if we have to stretch too often, Mmm. Eventually we’re going to wear down from all the stretching and we’re going to get exhausted from all the stretching.

[00:19:55] Uh, so we need breaks between all of the stretching. [00:20:00] And if we have a job that is asking us to stretch too frequently and too often, and it is too much. Outside of what is our natural skill and abilities, or especially if we have a new job and we’re learning a lot of new tasks at once, we’re stretching a lot.

[00:20:19] And we’re stretching more. Uh, so that, that goes for anyone that’s, that’s autistic people, not autistic people, whatever. That’s everybody’s stretching. Um, and so in the workplace, sometimes, you know, we get when we have the wrong person in the wrong seat, or maybe, you know, it’s a new job, or like I said, you know, the, or the employer is just asking you to stretch a lot and all the time.

[00:20:46] And that’s when you’re going to get burnt out. Like maybe you’re not doing enough of activities that are natural to you, or maybe, you know, in the workplace, maybe there’s a sensory. Trigger that you’re not aware of that’s triggering you? Because I didn’t know fluorescent lighting was [00:21:00] the trigger to my migraines for like 30 years until I found out I was autistic and had sensory processing differences.

[00:21:06] So I went 30 years with these horrible migraines and being exposed to a trigger and then burning me out and making me sick and not knowing that that was the trigger. So it’s kind of complicated in that way. Let’s see. Good morning. Good morning, sharp. Sudden sounds wreck me. I have a really. Like the startle response I took.

[00:21:25] I did a poll on Twitter once and people said that a lot of autistic people feel like re sudden sounds wreck them period or anything sudden. Um, even if it’s not loud, I don’t think like my phone is. My ringer is always off almost when I can get away with it. Especially outside of business hours. I don’t have notifications on for like any of the social media apps cause I don’t want them startling.

[00:21:53] Me my, when I do have my ringtones on and my ringer on my text messages and all those tones, they’re like these really soft, [00:22:00] soft and soothing like. Almost like massage music, style chimes and things because I startled so easy. I really dislike alarm clocks because that’s like the most jarring, horrible way to wake up.

[00:22:12] Like lately, I just get, go to bed and get up at the same time every day and my brain is so used to it except for when daylight savings time screws up my life. My brain gets used to it. And then I naturally just get up at the same time every day, and I don’t need an alarm clock anymore. I get up really, really early so that no matter what, all the activities will be like hours later.

[00:22:36] Like I get up at like four 30 or five 30 in the morning, um, which is too early, honestly. But I go to bed early, so I do get sleep. I need to get a lot of sleep. I, I have some health conditions that flare up if I don’t get enough sleep. So. When people ask can to stay out late. No, I really can’t stay out late.

[00:22:52] I’ve got to take care of my health and get sleep and self care. Yay. Yeah. Help first. I’m not a party person. Sorry. [00:23:00] There’s, this is not where the party’s at. This is where the Netflix and documentaries is at nerd power. Let me see these questions here. Hang on, scrolling, because I’ve got, okay. I got a little bit, a little bit of minutes, a little bit of minutes.

[00:23:14] Sorry. The voice my first time seeing you and boy did I need to hear, Oh, welcome. First time person. I’m going to put your name. Uh. I, I can’t, I w I love, I love, I want to hear it. I’m going to Google it and probably see how I can hear it. Um, welcome. Welcome! Workplace equals school. That is true. And school was the first place I experienced burnout multiple times.

[00:23:41] Um. I started having the daily migraines in school and I was going to the nurse, but because I was going every day and I didn’t have a fever and they checked my eyes and my eyesight was fine. Uh, the nurse told my mom and the teacher that I was just trying to get out of class [00:24:00] because I didn’t like class.

[00:24:01] Also, it was just a coincidence, but since I didn’t like class. And class was making me sick. I had to go to class anyway because it was assumed that I wasn’t really sick. I was just faking. Um, and I was making it up and that’s literally why I had migraines for 30 years, and it never got diagnosed or treated or was helped because the nurses in the school and the teachers gaslighted me into, you know, believing that my pain, you know, I just needed to, I just had to suck it up and deal with, deal with it.

[00:24:40] So society, you know, maybe they really did think I was faking it and it was unintentional gaslighting. Um, but I think I could do a whole video on gaslighting and autism and unintentional gaslighting and neuro-typical people.

[00:24:57] Uh, and so. Those of you [00:25:00] who may not know what gas lighting is. Uh, gas lighting generally is when someone is trying to manipulate you and they are lying and saying things to make you doubt your own sense of reality. Uh, and it’s usually something that’s intentional, but I think with autistic people, because people misinterpret where we’re coming from.

[00:25:27] They can unintentionally gaslit us because they assume we act and think and experience the world the same way they do. Uh, and so I think it happens a lot, and it’s.

[00:25:41] Kind of why a lot of autistic people put on masks, if, in my opinion, um, you know, we, we are, we’re trained to act like everything’s okay and not express our discomfort when we’re uncomfortable.

[00:25:55] Because people don’t believe us when we try to say, we’re [00:26:00] struggling. This is uncomfortable, this isn’t okay, or that we need help. Um, we’re, we’re being, or being silenced or shut down. And so we just, we assume, Oh, everyone must be dealing with this, you know, or I must be a wimp. And they suck it up. And it’s unfortunate.

[00:26:16] Uh, okay. Reading, reading, reading.

[00:26:21] Yeah, I hated class, but it was, yeah, the environment  okay, guys, we are 6:41 AM central standard American time and I have to log off and get to work. Uh, and David and I are traveling this weekends and we’re actually off afterward today. So I’ve got a wild day in front of me that I’ve got a team, so I’m going to get to it.

[00:26:48] Thank you guys so much for hanging out with me this morning. Um, if you enjoyed or found any of this useful or helpful, please share. Um, so that [00:27:00] somebody can find this because Facebook’s algorithms are very tricky. Um. And I could use all the help I can get with that visibility. Uh, thank you guys so much.

[00:27:11] I will talk to you next week. I do these live videos fairly regularly and I will try to leave this up so that people can catch the replay. Um, if you have. Things you would love to hear about next week. Leave them in the comments for this video and I will come back over the next few days and look and see comments and check back to see if there are any requests for topic ideas for future live stream videos.

[00:27:40] Uh, thank you guys so much for hanging out. I will talk to you next week. Bye. Okay. In the video.




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One thought on “What is Autistic Burnout? What CAUSES Autistic Burnout?

  1. Hi, I’m liking these videos as I’m visually impaired so reading hurts my eyes. Thank you for sharing this stuff. Theres not a lot out there from what I’ve found about Autistic adults. Which is what I really need. Thank you again 🙂

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