Autistic Burnout

I have read autistic burnout is a real thing and I am starting to think that I am suffering from it.

I have become very sensitive to noise, light, smells etc. to the point I am having regular shutdowns and the occasional mild meltdown.  In addition, my speech has been slow/slurred and thought processes have been frustratingly fragmented and delayed/non-existent at times.  Fatigue is a big problem where I am incredibly exhausted all of the time and spend more and more of my spare time in bed.

I have sought help on multiple occasions from my GP and hospital, but I have been told there is nothing they can do.

The only time I have experienced this in the past has been when I have had a breakdown or I am going through a very stressful time, but this was before my diagnosis.

Can anyone relate to this and if so how have to managed to recover?  This particular time seems very hard to shift and managed that previous.

I am relying on sunglasses, ear plugs etc. more and more.  I am resting when possible.

Sorry if my post is fragmented - struggling to get things out today.

  • Hi Starbuck,

    I’m interested in this question too, so thank you for raising it (it even convinced me to register with this website to join in this discussion). I’m not sure how useful my reply can be to you, but hopefully there’s something helpful in it somewhere.

    To answer your question, “can anyone relate to this and if so how have to managed to recover?” , I can say (1) yes, I can relate to it, and (2) unfortunately I haven’t found a way to recover yet (but I remain hopeful). I have experienced a lot of similar symptoms to yours (not identical, but very similar), so I know what it’s like. I don’t know quite how you’re experiencing it at the moment, but I know it can be very bad, even quite seriously disabling, at times.

    I’ve also read about ‘autistic burnout’. I use inverted commas because I have seen it called several different things, but I think this is probably the most common name. The problem I have encountered is that most, if not all, of the information is on forums similar to this of people who are experiencing/have experienced these symptoms reporting them and discussing them amongst themselves. I haven’t found any professional medical description to match the condition. I imagine you have found the same thing, although I would be interested to know if you or anyone else knows of any proper medical descriptions of the condition.

    I’ve also raised the condition in its ‘autistic burnout’ description with medical doctors, but they have always dismissed it as an invention of the internet. As far as I can tell, it is not a medically recognised condition in itself in the UK, although again I would welcome anyone to correct me on this if I’m mistaken.

    I understand the difficulties you can face bringing these symptoms to medical doctors, and I have been through the process on several occasions. However, the bit that causes me trouble is that the GPs and hospital told you that there was ‘nothing they can do’. Unfortunately, I can imagine certain doctors saying this in practice, but really I hope they would look to do something better for you than that as you are describing clear medical symptoms to them. If you are happy to (I would understand why you might not want to), do you know why they told you that there was nothing they can do?

    If you want to continue looking for medical help, I suggest the following. Before I do, I just want to emphasise that I am not a doctor or an expert in any other way, so I can only offer ideas based on my personal experience. If you went back to your GP (if you have several GPs, maybe ask to see one who you have had positive help from in the past), could you ask them for a referral to see a specialist? The symptoms you describe must at least raise a question about chronic fatigue syndrome (I’m not saying for a moment that that is what you have, but I think it is a question a doctor should consider), and maybe if you got to see a neurologist or similar they may be able to help more. When I said above that it is not a medically recognised condition ‘in itself’, I did that because, although I don’t think it is recognised in itself, there are other diagnoses that might be appropriate instead (within neurology in particular) and might offer you some help.

    I hope, however, that medical knowledge about this might improve in the future. There seems to be a noticeable number of people with ASD reporting these symptoms which medical doctors struggle to classify, so I think medical research is needed in this area. If anyone knows of any, I would be interested to see it.

    Finally, I hope you feel better soon!

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