Need help, not been myself for months.

I'm not even sure where to begin trying to explain this, because I'm genuinely stuck & don't even know how to articulate my thoughts into words.

I guess that's one way of explaining it... Stuck.

I'm on the spectrum, was diagnosed about two years ago. I'm a stay at home mum of 3. My eldest is a teen with ADHD, my middle is pre teen & showing signs of being on the spectrum, & my youngest is 4 & a double of his eldest brother at that age (thought it was ASD at first; but we're leaning more towards ADHD). They're not bad kids; but they're still kids & they need a lot of attention, time, guidance, discipline. Even if we have good days, I feel utterly worn out by dinner time; & that's even if they've been at school most of the day. My partner (their dad) very clearly has ADHD, he started a new job at the beginning of the year, which he now hates & is in the process of returning to his old job (he's changed his jobs a lot through the years). He's also predisposed to depression, he has abandonment issues & is generally very needy & overly negative a majority of the time (in fact pretty much every day, he says something negative about how he is feeling, or the day in general). I'm constantly worried for his mental health as well as the mental health of our kids, & I really don't have the energy to keep micromanaging everyone anymore.

For months now I've been feeling 'down' & utterly worn out 24-7 (‘I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.’ as Frodo says in The Lord of The Rings).

I've been severely depressed before, so I know what to expect in that department, but this just seems different. I noticed my shutdowns were much more frequent in the past few months, which is never a good sign. It all came to a head when I went through a pretty intense burnout a couple of weeks back, I had to completely isolate myself just so I could 'get better', although now I'm wondering if I ever actually did 'get better'...

My kids offered to help out more, which they have; at least in some places. But as expected, they help in some places but then fall behind in others, or need constant reminders. On top of that; I've also been having to deal with a lot of meetings relating to the new school my youngest will be attending in September, even today I'm expected to go to some 'picnic' they've arranged, & I'm struggling to find the spoons to even go out to drop him off & pick him up from nursery each day as it is. I had to really fight to appear pleasant when I had to sit through another 2 hour meeting at the school last week (which was ultimately pointless!), & I think I may have come across as rude to one of the other mums who had befriended me at the previous two hour meeting, she didn't say much or really interact with me, so I'm sure I came across as 'moody' or unpleasant to be around in that second meeting.

There's so much I want to get done. I'm a freelance artist & I have my own projects that I want to get off the ground... but I never have the time for these things, & even when I do I am so mentally exhausted I can't face doing much of anything. I enjoy gaming too; & for a while I was obsessively playing survival games that require the player to grind for materials so you can build bases & make equipment, at least doing that I had some feeling of accomplishment. I noticed the past week that I don't even have the drive to do that anymore. I feel like I'm in a haze again. Like my head is wrapped in cotton wool & I can't think straight. Every f*cking day I've been getting out of bed & looking at the clock; waiting for the time to wind down just so I can get the damn day over with & go to bed. That's all I've been doing, just looking at the clock & waiting for the day to end, every damn day.

I knew there was something seriously wrong when I actually sat down to work on something, a personal project, & my brain just wouldn't 'work'. I knew what I wanted to write, or at least a general idea, but it's like I couldn't kick start my head into working, & this was something I usually enjoy & I really wanted to do it.

A lot of people usually say to do the things you enjoy to help you get out of burnouts; meltdowns/ shutdowns etc... But I can't even do that at the moment.

I don't have family of friends I can lean on for help with my kids (& a majority of them don't understand ASD, or think it's not much of a big deal, or just flat out don't believe me & think I'm being overdramatic about some things that they personally consider to not be a big deal, & yes I have been diagnosed professionally).

Even my partner, because he's quite delicate mentally & has ADHD as well as a slew of other problems, I think he believes that I'll be ok in a few days or weeks whenever I say something is wrong or when I need time to myself. I worry that if I overload him with too much negativity; or make him 'work' too much he'll overload, especially as he works full time 5 days a week. Even when I do manage to break away on rare occasions, it never feels like it's enough. Even each morning I 'get to myself' when my youngest is at nursery, it never truly feels like 'me time' or time to relax or work on projects, because I'm still waiting to pick him up, or I'm constantly mindful of my time limits because I know my alarm will go off; telling me I need to get ready to go get him.

Plus I have terrible 'mum guilt' when I have to keep taking time away for myself. My kids want me to spend time with them; play games together etc but it's to the point where I don't even have the spoons to even talk to them, it's too much, & that makes me feel terrible.

I think it all came to a head this morning, I'm sat at my desk, I've been trying to work on something for me. I thought if I was creative with something I like; it might help. But I could feel I have no drive whatsoever. I've been watching videos of people creating stuff that I'm interested in, hoping it will give me the bump I need. I could feel I was struggling; & I was getting so frustrated & angry. I'm even monitoring what I talk about with my online friends; because the past few months I've been doing nothing but complaining; about everything, & I don't want to be that friend, the one who constantly complains & is always a downer. I even stopped talking to them for a month, hoping to come back when I was 'better', but I can feel that's still not the case,  when they ask how I am or what I've been up to, I feel like a corked bottle, & just fob them off with 'this & that, nothing much' & then focus the conversation on them. I'm pretty sure one of my good friends; who I've been talking to for over tend years is fed up with me by now...

This morning I considered contacting my GP & asking to be put on anti depressants, I just keep feeling like I want to be left alone by everyone & every thing. At times the thought of admitting myself into a ward so I could stay there for a month or so; just so I could be disconnected from everyone & every thing, & just staring at a white wall all day, has seemed pretty damn inviting for too long. But where would that leave the family? We don't have anyone to help us look after our kids, so it falls on me.

I know if I say to my partner or my kids that I need to be left alone; for a long time, they will take it personally. They say they understand; but I know they can't seem to grasp the concept that me enjoying time to myself doesn't mean I hate people/ hate spending time with people or them.

I feel like I'm trapped & stuck to my home because if I want some time to unwind I'll have to go out, which I don't want to do; especially not at the moment! But if I stay home; the house is still full of people; & if my partner takes our kids out, I know my 'free time' is on a time limit; & even then I'm still to damn tired to do much of anything.

I don't know what to do. I'm so sick & tired of not having energy, of constantly feeling tired, of not being able to focus or concentrate, of dreading interaction & feeling incredibly guilty because of it.

I guess I'm just venting here?

I don't know. I just don't know what to do or what the solutions are anymore...

  • Hi so sorry you are feeling low, it sounds like you have an incredibly busy life, I think going to the Gp would be a good move, maybe discuss your problems with a view to counselling or anti depressants. You could also contact the NAS helpline to find out what support is available in your area. you've made the first move opening up and asking for help on here so that's good.

  • Hugs...

    It definitely sounds like you are pretty ground down and have got in a rut. I know it is difficult to see the way out, but you have to fight for it and take action. I cant say what the right action for you is, but you need to work that out and take a step in a positive direction. Take little steps, plan it out and it sounds like you need some you time. I know what you mean about having a set limited time to do something and how that stops you getting into it and enjoying it. I have that problem with a lot of things I like to do, which then stops me from doing them at all. I would guess you need to set aside a full day on a weekend rather than a couple of hours on an evening, etc. Maybe you need a little holiday away from the family, although I know how hard that can be. Maybe you could sign up to an evening class on the creative side and try a new art medium. I always find learning and experiencing new things fires my mind into a positive drive. I also find that the tiredness is mostly down to the feeling down, and once you get fired up in a positive mindset you will likely find you get some new energy. Try to think positive, try to smile about whatever good things there are in each day, and if you look for them there will be things to smile about, no matter how small, and good luck with getting through it.

  • Everyone needs a break! I'm on my own with one ASD child. I'm pleased we have no school run for the next few weeks as our mornings are terrible. I could barely manage my work or talk to my colleagues. I feel guilty for everything too but he also wants to have full control. I'll be singing along to a favourite song on the radio and he'll be shouting at me to be quite. I love him to pieces but would like a break from him and the house too. Try to schedule in time for yourself each day and set he boundary that it's your time and your not to be interrupted. You'll feel more in control and it will build stronger relationships with your family. 

  • Hi Autistic Introvert, I can relate to a lot of what you've said from when I went through what I now believe was an autistic burnout. As an example of how I felt, I generally love writing and was blogging quite prolifically and enjoying it before the "crash", but in the months following the crash I couldn't even think of doing *anything* productive and when I tried I would need a 15 minute break after each sentence - or paragraph if I was lucky. If the ground had opened up and threatened to swallow me, I would have simply said "Hi, ground, nice to meet you".

    Antidepressants certainly helped / help me, but in this circumstance the main healer was time, and lots of it. Although two years later I would say I have recovered, I've recovered to a different place, a different version of me - one who is much more alert to things that exhaust me and things I need to care for myself.

    On the topic of caring for yourself, is there anything you can do whilst *in* the home that would help? For example I've found that noise cancelling earbuds, or even simple earplugs, provide a safe haven from the constant emotional energy bursting from the TV that my wife loves to watch & this enables me to sit with her rather than escape to another room - but I do that too.

    I know it's extra hard with a young family, because you have to deal with the guilt of not being your idea of a model parent on top of it all. I also understand what you mean about not being able to make the most of an hour's "free" time because you are watching the clock and believing that it's not worth starting any "me time" stuff. I don't know but maybe mindfulness practice might help here? If you can use the time to relax mentally without any goals, even five minutes can work wonders.

    Celebrating your successes, however minor, is another way of building yourself up again. Be kind to yourself and good luck; you're not alone.

  • Hi. So glad I read this. I’m diagnosed autistic. I am a single mum of three. My eldest (16) has ADHD and ODD. My other son (6) suspected ASD and my youngest daughter (3) is extra extra sensitive!

    I feel exactly the same.  I’m an artist too and can not get into the mood to complete any paintings even though they sell pretty well. 

    I totally get the time out bit! It’s never time out as your anxious it’s going to start all over again!

    I am on antidepressants.  Prozac is apparently good for us ASD’s. I’ve tried others but Prozac seems to give me motivation. I was quite ill before I went on them , just like you I couldn’t see a way out.  I’ve also applied for a volunteer to come round. My health visitor came round to check my 3 year old ( for the 3 yr check) and she told me about Home Start and they have volunteers who come round to help you reach the services you need. Have you heard of a needs assessment? Your local council should be able to do this for you. You can be awarded home help, help with cleaning , cooking etc and CAHMS should be telling you what help your other children should be getting.

    my volunteer comes on the 5th Aug so I will let you know. 

    I feel trapped. I have no partner. Sometimes I feel like I can’t breath and yes when I take a breather I feel guilty. 

    I feel my health is deteriorating and I’m extremely tired. I got diagnosed 07 th June and I’ve not even had time to let it register, I don’t even know how to take it.

    keep in contact x

  • I'm only a mum of one child but he has asd. My husband works away a month at a time and I have no family at all. My husband can't cope with my son so I'm the main carer for him. I too probably have asd I cant afford to pay for diagnosis.

    I've had 2 breakdowns which a doctor mentioned were probably huge meltdowns but I didnt know ar the time.

    My husband has always asked me to work so I've also taken jobs on but cant manage everything so they dont work out.

    I've decided to become self employed but my husband couldnt cope with our son after just a day and a half of watching him so again all on me

    I understand your pain, I dont have any answers as I'm in the same situation. I've learnt to step back and spend more time on my interests to lower my anxiety