Lack of energy

Really struggling with lack of energy - suspect some of it is because I feel stuck - off work with anxiety and stress waiting for various meetings to take place. It seems to be taking forever, and with each week that passes returning to work seems less likely. Pretty sure this is burnout after a prolonged period of being bullied and overworking. 

Today my dog managed to get me out of the house for a long walk. Since getting home I've been back in a slump. Wondered what you do when feeling like this? Not sure whether to give in to the exhaustion and let myself recover gradually, or force myself to do things in the hope of recovering more quickly. 

  • I sleep. Most days of the Xmas break (I'm a teacher so had 2 weeks off) I had an afternoon nap - and by nap I mean 2 hours. However I did also go for a walk every morning which was nice. So a balance of walk/sleep works for me.

  • Thank you Having a nap is a good idea. I am waking up several times a night at the moment so I am more tired than usual. I also think when I decide what to do about my current employment I will feel better. By this point I would usually have taken flight, but I have yet to find another job. This is forcing me to face up to things in a way I have not done before. 

  • I'm going to say all this. You can take it or leave it. If you take offence or anything else, I'm not responsible for that. But I can see and pinpoint, exactly where your areas of stress are. This is all I ever do but some people take it the wrong way. I'm only responsible for what I say, not how others receive it.

    So I'll say what I see. Baring in mind that as autistics, we often have very rigid black and white thinking patterns. It took me years to even understand what that meant, let alone realise I had it! Lol! But now I know I have it, I welcome other people's view points even more, because at the very least, it helps to open my mind. It's like greasing the cogs that keep the rigid thought patterns in check.

    So in that respect, other perspectives are always a treasure. You don't have to accept them as you're own. We must question everything. But it is good to see our situation from different perspectives, especially as it relates to our tendency to not be able to do this naturally.

    You said ~ 'Really struggling with lack of energy' ~ well there's your energy thief number 1.

    You're BELIEVING that you're STRUGGLING with a lack of energy (the ego will probably start arguing against that at this point).

    Think about that for a moment. This is meditation, so just feel into that for a moment, and see how that feels. Ask yourself, 'Im struggling with lack of energy'.

    Is that true? Really feel into that question, with your eyes closed, don't say the first thing that comes to mind. That's usually the ego. But just ask, then wait, feel, see what comes up. There are no right or wrong answers but there are only two options, the answer is either yes or no.

    So ask yourself, is it really true, that I'm struggling, with a lack of energy. Can I know for certain that it's a lack of energy I'm struggling with and not something else?

    Is it true? Yes or no. It doesn't matter what the answer is, just that it's true for you. So it could be yes, or no, it's whatever is true for you.

    If the answer is yes. Where? Where and how are you struggling with a lack of energy?

    And how do you feel when you believe the thought that you're struggling with a lack of energy?

    See yourself on the settee, or wherever you lay, laying down, exhausted, believing the thought 'I'm struggling with a lack of energy'. See yourself and feel how you feel, in that moment when you were believing that thought that you're struggling with a lack of energy.

    Do you feel even more tired, if that's even possible? Do you maybe shrink into yourself? Do you feel hopeless? What are the images that go through your mind when you're laying there on the settee and you're believing the thought 'I'm struggling with a lack of energy'?

    Keep the image of you, on the settee, tired and exhausted, in your mind, but this time, who would you be, in that moment in time, without the thought 'I'm struggling with lack of energy?'

    You're laying there, tired, exhausted, and you don't have that thought in your head, who would you be?

    I'm guessing, you would feel tired and exhausted, you would feel warm and comfortable on the settee, at home, nobody to bother you, the house is empty, you've got all the time in the world to sleep. I'm guessing you'd be so grateful for the settee and you'd snuggle up, close your eyes, and drift off to sleep.

    You don't have to struggle with a lack of energy. That would deplete your energy levels even more. Your body is telling you what it needs. It's giving you clues but you're not getting them because your believing your thoughts about struggle and what's going to happen in the future and what's happened in the past. You're in the past and the future (neither of which exist outside of the mind) so you're missing the present moment and what your body is saying to you. Which is please rest. I'm tired.

    That's your job right now. When the body is tired and it's screaming out at you, your only job is to serve your body and give it the rest it needs. That's the most important job you can do. Because without your body, you're not even going to make it out the front door.

    If the mind is going crazy and it's not easy to fall to sleep because of it, it's not a sin to get some temporary help with that. I have a box of the anti depressants the doctor gave me, which I don't take as directed. I use them occasionally as a sleeping tablet because they knock me out within an hour and I sleep for 16 hours straight.

    Since getting my diagnosis and realising that I clearly cannot create a life according to my needs, without help, I take whatever help I can get, or I at least consider anything I can get my hands on. I recently completed 4 months of weekly one to one intensive sessions with an autism plus worker (paid for by the job centre) which was hard work as well as emotional, but it was so helpful. And I've just been referred back to autism plus for them to help me with building new routines and getting back to the gym. It's like I literally can't do it by myself.

    You sound like you've got a lot going on in your mind, and the mind is creating wild images of how bad the future is going to be, based on how exhausted, tired and burnt out you are now. It's terrified for you. Its thinking, if you're this exhausted now, how on earth will she cope with the future? So it tries to keep you where you are where it thinks you'll be the safest. It can feel like you're r stuck. But it's your mind's way of trying to protect you from future perceived harm based on past experiences and your current state of health etc.

    We can only ever do one thing at a time and it sounds like your job right now is to rest. To nurture, honour and soothe your soul, your body, mind and spirit.

    I'm two years into my burnout and it's the greatest thing to have ever happened to me. I'm able to really get to know and understand myself and how I'm affected by autism and ADHD so I can find ways of getting the most out of it and avoid stress.

    I'm only just starting to process stuff from years ago. It's as if, all my life, I've been lagging a few steps behind, with time always on my back, to catch up. So I can see, that I never gave myself the time and space to process anything. So nothing was really ever getting processed. It's as if life was lived on a surface level. Learning the most important points as quick as I could, to get me by, then I'll go back to it later. But I never got back to it. Then over the years there was a huge back log of unprocessed information, just waiting for its turn to be processed.

    It's incredible to me, the things that I'm now understanding, now I have had time to process it.

    There's no wonder I was burnt out. I'm impressed I even made it this far, now I'm getting a better understanding of autism and what's been going on with me. And it's that, that makes me realise I can do anything. If I managed, to get by for so long, as a fake nt, without realising or understanding what was going, then I can most certainly move mountains now I've got not only knowledge, awareness and experience but also a new freshness about life. One in which I belong. My diagnosis gave me that. A feeling of belonging. I always thought I was an alien from another planet. But the diagnosis made me realise I was a human being and therefore I belong. But it can't live my life for me, I have to do that. And that's what this burnout is giving me. The opportunity to take my time to figure my life out, according to me and my needs, now I understand them. To me, it's a blessing.

    I reckon I've got about another year left, but if I need longer than that, then I'll take it. Because I've got first hand experience, that to me, life is not worth living unless I can live it according to me.

    If you have things that need to be done, do them to the best of your ability and then concentrate and put your focus on your main job, which is to give your body, that's carried you for all these years, the rest it is asking for. Listen to your body, not your mind.

    I could go through the whole of your post. The crunch points are standing out. But I think what you need right now, more than anything else is to rest.

    I was in bed most of the time in my first year. The second year I kind of got out of bed, sometimes and I joined a couple of local autism groups. It was more about coming to accept the diagnosis, to understand it and to come to a place of unconditional love for myself. I'm ready to get back to the gym now and move more but I'm going to work with the autism plus worker around this because clearly my methods of approaching life never worked! Lol! But I've enjoyed every moment of my burnout, even when it was painful. Because I know what pain turns into when you've felt it and let it work it's way through you.

  • Thank you Former Member there is a lot going on for me currently - a bit like an existential crisis that is really a break through rather than a break down. I am glad to be working through things properly instead of keeping myself so busy that I don't have time to simply be and let emotions and energy levels ebb and flow. 

    I will go back and re-read what you have written when my brain is less tired. I find it difficult to understand things at the end of the day. I really appreciate you taking the time to write such a detailed and helpful response. You are right, I need to rest and this may take a long time. Up until now I have always forced myself to carry on. I was afraid that if I stopped I would never get going again.