Navigating Neurodivergent Burnout Challenges
As a 32-year-old woman, I’ve been grappling with the complexities of chronic fatigue, sudden skill loss, and heightened sensitivities since 2018. This reality became clearer in early 2023 when I stumbled upon the term “neurodivergent burnout.” Gone were the days of futile attempts to alleviate concerns through depression tablets or sleep hygiene. Instead, I came to understand that a range of symptoms – memory issues, mood changes, weakened immunity, accidents, poor balance, and cognitive struggles – were all part of this intricate puzzle known as neurodivergent burnout.
It is an ever-moving target and my best doesn’t look the same every day. The challenge is to keep myself accountable while being realistic, such a handy skill to learn.
#Neurodivergent Burnout: Beyond Exhaustion
The chronic fatigue that accompanies neurodivergent burnout is unlike any tiredness I’ve experienced before. Picture the most severe sleep deprivation, stretched out indefinitely regardless of the amount of rest. This profound exhaustion transforms routine tasks into daunting challenges. It’s a struggle that’s hard to fathom unless you’ve lived it. This fatigue shapes my daily life, even as I run my business assisting others on the NDIS. Fortunately, my clients and my family and friends, relate to and understand when my energy reserves need replenishing.
#Adapting to Skill Loss
Imagine suddenly grappling with tasks you once handled effortlessly – a sudden loss of problem-solving prowess. It’s a bitter reality of autistic burnout. What used to be manageable, like work tasks or personal interactions, becomes perplexing. It’s like attempting to solve a puzzle in the dark – the pieces are there, but connecting them feels impossible. Admitting that I need help from mentors in my dog training business is essential during such times.
#Heightened Sensitivity: A Daily Challenge
Sensory sensitivity takes on a new dimension in the journey of neurodivergent burnout. Imagine commonplace sounds becoming deafening, and textures turning abrasive on your skin. Engaging with the world becomes overwhelming, amplifying the challenges I already face. Working with dogs having behavioural issues is an added challenge, given my heightened sensitivity.
#Cognitive Impairment: Navigating the Fog
Cognitive impairment during neurodivergent burnout is akin to navigating through fogged glass. Concentration, memory, and problem-solving abilities become hazy. From everyday decisions to recalling basic instructions, the hurdles seem boundless. It’s like wandering through a labyrinth with no clear path in sight. It’s a struggle I manage in my dog training business, where memory lapses can occur. I am so blessed that my clients have empathy, and don’t take it personally if I forget to email them their homework or invoices, but they are also happy to remind me!
#Embracing Solitude for Energy
To manage, I often find solace in solitude, not out of choice but necessity. It’s a means to conserve energy. However, this withdrawal can strain relationships, as not everyone understands the need for increased alone time during these periods. This affects my personal life as I isolate myself to recover from my professional engagements. If also becomes a challenge financially because if I don’t work, I don’t get paid, but such is the life of someone working for themselves.
#Recognizing the Journey
It’s crucial to acknowledge that each facet of neurodivergent burnout varies from person to person and fluctuates over time. They aren’t issues to be ‘fixed,’ but rather indicators for greater support and understanding. Acceptance of this reality has been a transformative step, both personally and professionally.
#Navigating the Journey
Embracing the complexities of living with neurodivergent burnout isn’t a simple task, but it’s a journey I’m learning to navigate and embrace. As I traverse this path, my aim is to foster conversations, deepen understanding, and facilitate better support for individuals facing similar challenges. It’s a part of who I am, and those who are a part of my life need to understand and accept this – just as I have.