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Autism and Burnout – My Experience With Autistic Burnout

Patreon members had access to this video on October 20, 2022. The video’s public release will be December 14, 2022.

ID: Lyric, a pale skinned nonbinary person with short green, teal, and blue hair with shaved sides and jet black roots is sitting at the dining room table, next to an RV window. They The words “It Took me more than 6 years to recover from Autistic burnout” floats in front of them in pale teal and green letters.


Hi everybody, welcome back, and for those of you who are new, my name is Lyric, pronouns they them. Some of you may also know me as the NeuroDivergent Rebel.

I am a late discovered Autistic adult, and I talk a lot about my experiences of finding out I was Autistic when I was already almost 30.

A big part of my own, personal, Autistic discovery, and learning I was Autistic late in life, was Autistic burnout.

Unfortunately, many Autistic People, often reach crisis point before we will find out we are Autistic.

 For me, my life was spent in an endless cycle of Autistic burnouts, starting from a young age, when I was in school, and continuing into the adulthood, until I was diagnosed Autistic at the age of 29.

So. . . yay, Autistic burnout!!! It is a topic I am very intimately familiar with, unfortunately, and it is taken six years, to recover from my most recent Autistic burnout.

I’m gonna share about that in great detail. If you’d like to know more, please do stay tuned.

You’re still here!!! Welcome back. I’m glad I didn’t lose you.

Let’s talk about what Autistic burnout is first:

Autistic burnout is often described as the mental, physical, emotional exhaustion, that is often accompanied by a loss of skills that, unfortunately, many Autistic People experience.

Something that we tend to agree upon, when talking about Autistic burnout, is that it is the result from having to force ourselves into a society that wasn’t designed to take our needs and considerations into account, whether that is our sensory processing differences, our differences in the ways our bodies move and the ways we communicate.

The differences in how we experience the world are often pathologized, scolded, looked down upon, and so there is a lot of pressure to fit into a world in which is not very kind to us.

In Autistic adults we call it burnout. In Autistic kids, we call it regression, when we have this loss of skills.

As someone who has experienced this over and over again in my life, starting in elementary school, possibly earlier, I have a lot of insight into what it is like to burn out as an Autistic Person.

 So talking about how we are described as having a loss of skills: a lot of times, when I am burned out, I do not have the energy to do things that normally would come easy to me.

Taking care of myself, cooking, housework, things like that…. I have a loss in those skills, from the outside perspective, because I am in survival mode, and I don’t have extra energy to do anything else.

When I used to work full time in a corporate office, I would come home from work and I had no energy left to give to my passions, hobbies, or the people I loved and enjoyed spending time with.

Additionally, being burnt out meant that, even my communication was impaired, and I would struggle to find the words for things, and would struggle to think straight.

It was like my capacity for being able to use my brain fully was not there. I was a hollow, empty, robotic shell of myself, when I was burnt out. I was much more of the stereotypical, medical textbook definition, of an Autistic Person, who is struggling.

To get the autism diagnosis, you have to be struggling in one or more major life occupational areas.

 I had to be struggling in order to receive the Autism diagnosis.

Burnout was me at a crisis point, and led to me getting diagnosed Autistic… I’m really grateful for the burnout because without it, I might not have figured it out.

There are Autistic People out in the world today who likely may never know they’re Autistic, because they’ve managed to stack their lives in a way where they’re completely avoiding any of their weaknesses, and they’re just doing things they’re good at, which did well for me for a while.

I got by in life, just avoiding things that weren’t naturally suited to my Autistic skill sets, but eventually I wanted to do something that wasn’t very well tailored to my Autistic brain, and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do it. It was really soul crushing… until I applied the right expectations to myself, and found out I was Autistic.

Can anyone hear the snoring pit bull in the background? Because it is making it really hard for me to gather my words and think straight.

As I said, it has taken me over six years to recover from my most recent Autistic burnout fully. It took me six years for my hobbies and passions to start to return, after I lost all of my passions to do anything I loved, because I just didn’t have the energy.

It has taken me years, and then also, complete and total lifestyle change… acknowledging my Autistic brain.

The big thing is what really broke me, as an Autistic Person, was camouflaging and trying to blend myself into the NeuroTypical standard. When… I mean, just look at me. I wasn’t really designed to blend in, that’s completely unnatural to me, trying to blend in, and it was really counterproductive to my mental health, my physical health, and even my relationships with other people.

Because I didn’t really have people I could trust and count in my life. When I wasn’t being authentic, and I was putting this false NeuroTypical self out to the world, I wasn’t attracting the right kind of people, because nobody could get to know the real me. So people didn’t get to know me, and it kept everybody at a distance from me.

Not only did the masking and the camouflaging lead me to really intense burnout, once I started to burn out, I was losing my ability to camouflage and mask and I couldn’t do it anymore, because I was too burnt out and exhausted by life to keep it up… it all fell apart.

Once I lost that ability to camouflage the way I had been doing for so many years, it was kind of like, why, why do I have to keep doing this anyway? It was me letting that go, putting the mask down, changing our lifestyle completely, moving to a smaller space, downsizing, moving to a more minimalist lifestyle, and hitting the road, and not doing things the way everyone else does it, and being willing to do things in a way that really, truly, suits me, and my life, and what my brain needs for it to be healthy.

I burnt out because I wasn’t taking the necessary amount of time to recharge and take care of my brain and my, my batteries.

I was like a cell phone. We recharge our cell phones every day, or whenever the battery gets low, but we don’t recharge ourselves, especially if we’re Autistic or NeuroDivergent, a lot of times society will talk us out of things that we say we need. Like, oh, if I say, “Oh, these lights are too bright and they hurt my eyes”, people say, “Oh, it’s not that bad. Quit complaining.”

Or if I complain about a sound, people will tell me I’m being whiny or “suck it” up a lot of times, because they don’t have my brain, they don’t understand what it’s like to be in my sensory system. My whole life people have pushed me and told me I don’t really need the things I’m trying to say I need.

When I found out I was Autistic, I had to really start learning boundaries, and learning what my needs were, and how to be very assertive and firm with my needs, because I had to be prepared for people to say, “Oh, you don’t really need that”, or “you don’t need to rest after work, it’s Friday… just come out with us.”

It’s like, “no, I’m really, I really don’t have the energy” and it was getting pressured into going to places and things that weren’t good for me, that I didn’t even necessarily really wanna be at, but I would go because I thought it was what was expected of me.

It’s been a lot of doing what I really want to do, what I need to do, and what’s good for me, instead of what other people think is good for me.

Other people don’t have my brain, they don’t know what’s good for me, and so understanding that has been a really big part of me recovering from burnout.

Now, here’s the thing about these burnouts: a lot of us have been burnt out, since we were children.

My first burnout, that I can clearly remember, was when I was 11 years old. I was in this perpetual cycle of burning myself out, because I was exposed to sensory environments that were bad for me, I was exposed to people who were pressuring me to act, and present, in a NeuroTypical way, because of being exposed to cultures that looked down upon those whose brains work differently, and having societies message to me, that who I was naturally wasn’t good enough throughout my entire life.

I became this perfectionist, with no off switch, that doesn’t see their own limits, and I just smashed right through them…. so now my life is a lot of prioritizing and scheduling rest time.

Some people have different substances and vices they, they bury themself in to escape the pains of the world. For me, for a lot of years, burying myself in my work, and working way too much was the thing I did to escape the stuff in my head.

You know what the problem with that is?

After work, unless you just work until you’re so tired you pass out, those things are still there and unresolved and undelt with.

It didn’t work out very well for me, and eventually I did have to deal with all of the traumas in my life, that I was trying to ignore.

Let me ask you, are you NeuroDivergent? Have you ever experienced burnout from trying to fit yourself into a NeuroTypical world?

Are you an Autistic Person trying to fit yourself into this world, that wasn’t designed with your communication sensory and other different needs in mind?

Some people have experienced Autistic burnout, had their burnouts misdiagnosed as depression, when in fact treating it like depression never helped- the only thing that helped was treating it like Autistic burnout.

We just don’t understand Autistic People very well. That’s an unfortunate thing to have, you know, all of these other diagnoses instead of autism, when finding out you’re Autistic can do so much good for someone’s life.

If you’ve ever burnt out, how long did it take you to recover, and how many times in your life have you burnt out? Do you think there was any one particular trigger?

I’d love to know your experience. Thank you everyone who shares your own experience.

Thank you everyone who shares this video, who hits the thumbs up button, hits the like button, who helps get these videos out, so more people will get eyes on them and help spread more understanding of NeuroDivergent and Autistic brains. I’m really grateful for you.

Also, before I go, I don’t wanna forget to say thanks to the Patreon subscribers, those of you who do that little monetary subscription, to help with things like website hosting the, the transcription software I’m about to go use, the technology with which the videos are filmed on.

None of that would be possible without those of you who do help in that capacity. So thanks. I’m really grateful for you Also. Those of you have helped with things like getting the first book out, the Neurodiversity and Workplace Culture book that’s about to be coming out just before Thanksgiving of 2022.

That wouldn’t be possible without my Patreon subscribers. So thank you everyone. I’m really grateful.

I will see you all next Wednesday. Bye.


Help me get the word out!!! – If you like what I do, and would like more, please consider subscribing on Patreon. This blog is made possible by support from readers like YOU!  (Sharing my content is also, equally helpful!)

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With gratitude,

– Lyric

2 thoughts on “Autism and Burnout – My Experience With Autistic Burnout

  1. My last burnout was just before I retired in May. I went on medical leave last April for stress-related ailments, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and panic attacks, I was in a full-on “fight-or-flight” mode because of the toxic workplace issues I was dealing with and my boss was not at all sympathetic that I was feeling overwhelmed, by her rapid fire demands. (Because I’m an undiagnosed autistic, I wasn’t going to be given accommodations by my employer for being “different.”) There was also concern that I was presenting early onset dementia symptoms, but it was ruled out by summer once I settled into retirement and spent time at home resting, making art, and working in the garden. I never completely shut down, being in fight-or- flight mode made me ultra-aware of all stimuli, which was a special hell of sensory overload. There were skills that were becoming lost, including my ability to focus on tasks, even simple domestic things, and expressing myself verbally was shot, but I could write things down and be understood. I was scared I would forget to pay the bills or miss meetings or appointments. I set alarms on my phone to remind me to do things, it was driving me a bit crazy to have my phone going off for every little thing I needed to do, but I didn’t know what else I could do. It’s been nearly 8 months since I left behind my day job, and I have fewer alarms on my phone, so there’s progress. I’m thankful that I have a supportive family and friends who helped me through this difficult time. I’m safe and happier than ever.

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