I’ve had problems for years with just zoning out or completely shutting down. I don’t know what causes it sometimes, it’s like if I sit still everything shuts down and I either completely go to sleep or it’s like I’m asleep with my eyes being shut but I can hear things, but I just can’t respond or even move. Does anyone else get this? I was told it’s a response to being constantly overwhelmed and my body needing to rest from it all.
Other times, like the three days annual leave I’ve had this week, i zone out for hours in a similar way, it’s very unproductive but it’s like I can’t fight it. I had plans this week for my three days off but spent most of each day just lying still as if asleep but without being asleep. Just zoned out and completely still. I go back to work today and despite all this I feel completely exhausted.
does anyone else get this? I read that it’s common for people with autism to be tired all the time.
Yes , it's very frustrating and bad news. you must try and break out of it as the longer established it becomes, the more difficult to improve it and there is the worry that it may affect your work and employability. My advice would be to try and structure plan each day with times for doing things and times for rest/ recovery and not et the rest recovery get too large
OMG - Until it was identified that I was highly likely to be on the Spectrum, I had been doing this off (good times) and on (bad times) for the last ten years following something someone said that I took literally. It has taken 50 years to realise it is my Asperger's condition that remained unknown to me alongside other hereditary things.
Currently I am two years into a complete mental mess due to my workplace damagement and have zoned out again (to the detriment of both myself but someone else) and unable to put it into words at to what it is like when the fog/cloud fills my brain.
Without any routine/structure that is part of my small steps then I hyper focus on something and only that.
Yes, what you're describing is something which happens to me rather a lot - sometimes only for a few seconds, and other times for much longer. Like you, I can sometimes identify the source of the problem (e.g. overwhelming social environments), and at others, it seems to happen completely out of the blue (though notably more so when I'm generally stressed out or haven't slept well.)
From talking to other autistic folks about it, I get the feeling that there are at least two possible reasons why this happens. Firstly, as you say, it's just our brain deciding that if we're not going to let it have a rest, it's damned well going to have one anyway. Other times, I think that executive function problems may be the cause, as if there's a blockage between the bit of the brain that wants to do something and the part that actually does it - if I'm able to speak, I find that I can sometimes "unblock" these by commanding myself out loud.
The bits or amount of my brain that shuts down can be very variable too. Sometimes I get the almost complete catatonia which you described, and other times, I'll just lose one or two functions - not being able to speak or understand speech, or losing the ability to find my way around a familiar place, for example.
Improving the situation is definitely a matter of prevention, as far as I can tell - once I'm in that state, I'm powerless to do anything about it, and I don't even know how long I've been like that unless there's some outside way to tell. So, for example, I take precautionary breaks from social situation now and then to stop the overwhelm from building, and do my best to manage anxiety and my sleep (not altogether successfully!) I suspect, too, that many autistic people live with far more stress and anxiety than they're aware of. It's been there since infancy for many of us, so our measure of "normal" levels of stress is likely to be very different than for most other people. It was only thanks to the careful observation of a counsellor that I was able to really see just how much pressure I was always under which I'd always accepted as routine.
You need to seek help but I suggest it isn't through your lovely friends on slack, I would offer but am kind of tied up with just putting one foot in front of the other...
I get migraines that shut me down for days. Sometimes I zone out in the shower and forget if I have just done shampoo or conditioner. Or I wrap myself in a towel after and sit down and the next thing I know it's ten minutes later !
I’m glad it’s not just me. And yeah I too lose ability in just some functions at times. Like I sometimes just completely lose the ability to process what’s being said to me and be able to respond. I hear what’s said but it’s like it goes to the wrong part of my mind and then I can’t do anything with the information. And sometimes my mouth moves as if I’m going to say something but nothing comes out.
When I watched a video of how people without autism view the world without the same sensory problems I was really shocked, and it made me realise that no wonder other people were able to just ignore things like they’d been telling me to do for years, and no wonder other people weren’t so stressed about stuff as me, or constantly tired.
Any time I go somewhere like the cinema or theatre or on a train etc, any where busy, bright, loud, I have shut downs that can last a few seconds or go on for ages.
you have to be careful you are not suffering from depression so it best to mention it to your GP and ask to be referred on. U might have more than autism which is not uncommon. I do get similar attacks as u described (Just zoned out and completely still) but only for 1/2 hours and i am getting better at preventing them ( using meditation ). but everyone is different so run it by your GP just in case.
try to reduce the trigger via sunglasses and headphones. might help. keep watching videos thats where i picked up knowledge about myself. eg princess aspie (utube) Charlotte poe (utube,bbc), agony autie (twitter, utube, facebook), aspie world (utube). also TEDx channel on youtube. just remembered agony autie does videos on meltdowns and shutdowns
I quite often come out of the twilight zone with no idea what I've just done and/or was intending to do beforehand. It can take me an hour to have a cup of tea by the time I've zoned out while the kettle's going cold (again), found the mug that seems to have magically vanished from my hand, forgot that I wanted a cup of tea, remembered again, let the tea go cold while staring blankly in the vague direction of my computer screen, gone to the kitchen and back to make another one without remembering to put the kettle on,... etc...
I even seem to have some kind of auto-pilot for my legs, and can completely zone out while I'm out for a wander. The mud on my trousers will tell me that I must have gone for that walk in the woods, but I don't have the faintest idea which path I took, or how I managed to get covered in scratches! When I look back over my life, I'm astonished that I've never been hit by traffic, given how I seem to teleport from one place to another sometimes - there must be a little green-cross code man buried deep in my sub-conscious somewhere.