I'm feeling it today & need to write this:
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.
Could you send a group email to all your colleagues (written when you feel up to it) to explain the basics, and have a code word/phrase to let them know when you need space? I will flat out say 'I'm not talking today' to mine and as they've got to know me, they've learnt not to take it personally, though it can be awkard at first.
we all feel for you and hope you well
Hi Sally, that's a good suggestion. In some ways I'm my own worst enemy because what stops me is that I sometimes feel embarrassed to ask for what I *really* want or need, especially with people who knew me when I was full-on masking and in a completely different "place" before my burnout.
I have sent a group email but not to absolutely everyone - I'll certainly think about what I could do along these lines.
I'm also suffering with the onset of SAD at the moment I think, and despite eating well, taking antidepressants and running 3 times a week and having a "bright light" on my desk, mornings are tough. Lay this across the still ongoing recovery from burnout and trying to be kind to what I now know to be the real me and it gets tricky - I'm learning to trust my gut and cut myself some slack, but it still feels shitty.
Thank you :-) As you will see from my reply above, evenings are OK (I'm at home not work, and the morning symptoms have gone) - but I'm steeling myself for tomorrow!
I can relate so much to what you have written. Best wishes, but also thank you.
You've come a very long way and just going to work when you're feeling like that is a huge achievement. I also felt I needed to hide today, but didn't know what to say to my colleagues (they don't know I'm awaiting an autism assessment). I ended up just getting through and feeling like a wreck by the time I got home.
You could always tell your colleagues you're going through a difficult time - they don't need to know the details if you don't want them to.
Take good care of yourself.
I think you shouldn't worry about being different to how people knew you before, everyone changes over time, I realise for you this may be quite a radical difference but probably they'll notice less than you think. And if they do, it's on them to respond like decent human beings and respect you as you are anyway. I'm terrible at asking for help too, but like everything else, it just takes practise.
If at least some people know - let them explain to the others. So long as someone knows what's going on, they can deal with the situation when you can't. Did you know it's been found that you get more pleasure from doing something nice for someone else, than someone doing something nice for you? So if you let someone else handle the situation for you, they get to feel good about helping - you're actually doing them a favour! ;P
As for mornings, I hate them any time of the year - sometimes there's nothing to do but buckle in and suck it up. I know that's not the most reassuring statement ever, but it sounds like you've got lots of things in place to make life as easy as possible while balancing everything you're going through. I find winter quite useful for hiding away and figuring things out though, maybe you could factor that into your getting to know yourself? A way to make something postive from it, and have a 'new start' in the spring. Continue to take care of yourself, in as many ways as you can. :)
I rarely tell mine what's going on, just not to ask. Like I said above, it's up to them to be decent humans and respect you. You don't owe anyone an explanation, especially if you're unsure what you should say without having the formal diagnosis yet; though it's nice to give them some sort of heads up when you're having a tough day, so as not to be rude. Hope you've recovered this evening and feel a bit better now.
I hope you’re ok? Figuring our pre-diagnosis lives out after we have a diagnosis can be ‘interesting’. Trying to figure out how to move forwards with this new information can be even more of a mine field! You need to know your limits and stick to them.
Thank you - I tend to try and give people the heads-up, but I struggle to do that when I'm feeling my worst. I should let them know though - it might make it easier for them to understand if I'm quieter than usual.
I'm feeling a lot better now, thank you.