Reminding myself that this isn't / wasn't trivial

I'm feeling it today & need to write this:

  • 1993 to 2003: 20 years of having a "real job" after uni
  • Most of those years struggling with depression & anxiety
  • Doing what everyone else does - modelling and masking
  • 1993-2014: Raising a family & step-family
  • 2014-2016: Starting to use unhealthy coping mechanisms
  • 2016-2017: Feeling successful & maybe a bit frantic (note - alexithymia)
  • 2017: BOOM! I don't care anymore!. Can't even write. Autistic burnout. 3 months off sick, still recovering today.
  • 2018 - referred for ASD assessment
  • 2019 - diagnosed autistic

I'm now trying hard to live in a way that is kind to me, to avoid repeating a burnout. It was a frightening experience and literally nearly killed me. Living by my new rules provides a healthy level of stress.

But, back in the work environment, the "do what everyone else does" drive is seductive. It whispers in my ear that it will be OK, I'm not really that different, and *everyone* does it - this is normal; go back to what you've been taught by observation since you were a child!. And when something unexpected happens at work, my mind empties of thoughts and there is total vacuum where my mental "to do" list was. The wolf of stress huffing and puffing and blowing down the straw house of executive functioning.

I might have to use the phrase "I need to hide today" and hope people understand, because I can't bare to go through the explanations of autism and how it affects me and how exhausting social interaction is.