It's over a year now since I suffered a major burnout leading to long term sick, and since I've returned to work I've been taking care of myself by not travelling and really carefully managing my sensory environment & keeping away from hubbub (lots of conversations etc.). My self care has worked really well, and I've feel that I've discovered "normal, healthy" levels of stress for the first time in my working life (healthy levels of stress for *me*, at least).
Now that I'm looking like I've recovered from burnout and I'm starting performing at 95% again, I can feel myself coming under pressure to start attending meetings in person again and travelling again. Before my burnout I was flying into Europe alone maybe every month and just feeling important rather than stressed. Now I'm very wary about returning to what everyone else will see as normal.
I don't know what I'm asking others here for - maybe just sympathy & to tell me that yes, I need to look after myself and not put myself under pressure.
By the way, one of the things I'm *really* mindful of is giving an inch and being expected to do a mile.............
Oh god I so relate to this, "feeling important not stressed" - till I burn out and have to sit with headphones in a darkened room for a few days forgetting to eat or sleep! I'm also experimenting with self-care strategies cos sick of burning out constantly. I partly do it to myself cos I get interested in stuff and take on too much. But most of it is being overwhelmed by the people stuff - and I have really crappy exec planning function which really is stressful. I've cut down to 3 days a week but still struggling to pace myself...
The problem with us is we feel compelled to do the right thing. NTs don't seem to have this so slacking off comes naturally.
We over-drive ourselves while achieving perfection.
Ah yes but, in their defence, I notice in terms of policy thst when good people fail to prevent bad policy decisions, the NT tendency to do as little as possible whilst grabbing hold of very small parts of the nature of the animal actually does a lot to prevent the awful consequences that speedy and effecient implementation of bad policy would have led to :D Eventually the errant gov will observe the chaos and rethink...
Plastic said:We over-drive ourselves while achieving perfection.
This pretty much sums up every working day for me - I end up making myself bad through sheer grit of trying to get everything perfect and sacrificing everything at all costs (including my health and well-being). I still haven't figured out how not to do this.
Likewise. It took a full-on burnout to make me stop. On reflection I wonder if work became like an improved version of family for me; the work environment understood and properly valued my abilities, where my family had no clue and no way to appreciate it apart from repeating "You're *so* clever". I realise now that it was a mistake for me to respond to this by giving everything in return.
That’s interesting that you see doing the right thing as a problem, whereas I see it as a virtue - if that’s the right word. Basically I see it as a good thing. I wouldn’t want to do the wrong thing.
Work on your self esteem. A sense of perfectionism stems from a lack of self esteem.
With me, as soon as I felt even a little bit ok, I would rush back to getting things back to where I was before the burnout. But that was pre diagnosis. So I’m learning from that and I’m getting good at it and I’ve learned the art of baby steps, knowing my limits and being able to pick up on them before I get overloaded. But it’s been a process which has taken me a good year to get to grips with.
I seriously wonder if burnout is what I'm going through. The cumulative effect of years of 'coping' in the workplace, increasingly more frequent periods of sick leave, then the stress of mum's final illness and my caring for her, then her death and my going back to work quite quickly afterwards, then the bullying in that job necessitating more sick leave... and then finally starting my new job this week and effectively crashing back out to more sick leave. But I feel that pressure that you talk about - I feel it all the time. 'Come on, pull yourself together. Soldier on.' And then, when I'm in work, not asking for special considerations. Still trying to perform at peak, and sometimes finding myself in overload.
Yes, you need to look after yourself. Don't pile on the pressure. Maybe it's difficult for you to accept - it is for me - that I have a condition that does inhibit my performance in certain situations. I need to learn to speak up for myself. I need to go to interviews and instead of saying, as I usually do, 'I have Asperger's, but it doesn't usually have any impact on my work', say instead 'I may need to ask for some reasonable adjustments.' Part of it is fear of being turned down. They aren't supposed to discriminate, but we all know they do.
Traveling is a big one. I find commuting very stressful. I don't like using public transport any more because of the all the noise: gadgets going off, loud phone conversations, etc. And driving to where I work is a nightmare. 20 minutes to do the first 6 miles, 20 minutes to do the final couple, no guarantee of finding a parking space close to where I work, stop-start stop-start getting home at rush hour - taking an hour for 8 miles. The job I'm going for on Friday is 15 minutes walk from my front door, on a quiet country estate on the outskirts of town. I actually think that's more valuable than commuting to a job that gives me much longer holidays.
Yes it can be difficult to stand up for yourself and say "Yes, most people would be OK with X, but I'm not most people and saying no doesn't mean I'm lazy or uncooperative or being difficult or not a team player." Two and a half decades of working life I've absorbed the norms of behaviours and logically judged them all as reasonable expectations, but now I'm entertaining the fact that maybe following suit has been causing me more pain and exhaustion than it does for others, and so it's OK to say no.
I'm allowing myself to live by "look after yourself, trust your instincts" now because the stakes are so high, but I still have 25 years of learned behaviours fighting back at me.
But I remain determined; now I've passed 50, I have maybe 15 years to retirement and 20 concurrent years of life to enjoy fully, and I'm going to put myself first now. My kids have grown up, and my parents seem to be finally accepting that my life is for me and not for them.