AUTISTIC NICK GETS HIT HARD BY AUTISM FATIGUE
I generally didn’t see the signs.
I didn’t see it coming.
For all I knew it was just another day in the office for me.
But my body had other ideas on Thursday.
When it reached 1.55pm on that Thursday my body said to itself time to unleash and give into the fatigue, which I did.
At that very moment in time 1.55pm (yes, I am being specific here) I was in the middle of a conversation with my boss.
My body wanted to leave the office, my eyes were darting here there and everywhere, my brain had switched itself off and I would have happily gone to sleep on the floor, or inside a quiet room.
Other than that, I just wanted out.
I had to leave.
I somehow got through my conversation with my boss, and I left for the day.
I’m unaware if he was aware of what was happening with me.
The only thing I could say or do during my conversation was to nod my head and agree with whatever it was he was saying.
Sorry boss if I was coming across as someone not interested or even rude.
I just couldn’t explain it to you.
Because even I didn’t know what was happening to me.
I didn’t care, I needed to escape. I needed to leave.
I felt my body shaking, I felt tears trying to form inside my eyes, I felt exhausted.
I’d taken on the task of too many articles once again.
I think that morning I had woken up earlier than I needed to.
I think that combination of waking up early, and then attempting to priorities three articles was all too much for me.
I should have scaled back, but for some reason I couldn’t.
I even had written it all down on my whiteboard in some chronological order, but to no avail.
I didn’t even see that this was all affecting me, I literally turned a blind eye to it and marched onwards.
I didn’t have time to think, to take a step back, relax. I had three articles on the go and multiple emails to send out, I didn’t have time for my fatigue to take over my body.
I put up a good fight but to no avail.
In the end the fatigue won.
The score was Nick 0 Fatigue 1.
That night I barely said two words to anyone because I was so depleted and because tiredness was consuming my body wrapping it up in its warmth and luring me into going to sleep.
That night I slept like a baby.
The next day I didn’t go to the gym, due to the extreme exhaustion my body was still going through.
When it came around to about 1.30pm I gave in and took a two-hour nap.
It’s now Saturday and I’m still not fully alert and awake.
I feel like I’ve been hit by a ton of bricks.
I’m still feeling very tired.
I’m thinking of making today my sensory day where I’ll just do whatever I need to do to relax.
But I feel the most important lesson that I learnt here was that I needed to start paying attention to my body and listening when it’s telling me to take a break and that it’s ok to come back to it later or even the next day.
Why overwork myself and stress myself out when I didn’t have to?
The last question that I would be asking myself Is it possible to prevent fatigue? And the answer to that is yes it can.
The key strategy for preventing my fatigue is self-knowledge which I am now armed with. I just like other Autistic people can learn over time which situations are most likely to trigger fatigue for me.
WHAT CAUSES AUTISTIC FATIGUE?
There are various things that can cause Autistic fatigue. Autistic adults suggest several causes, including:
Dealing with social situations
Masking or camouflaging their Autistic traits
A sense of not meeting other people’s/society’s expectations of them.
Changes in your routines or day-to-day life, such as a change of school or job, can increase anxiety and can be additional causes for Autistic fatigue and burnout.
For me I feel that I’m going to have to put in place some strategies around monitoring and managing my expectations and knowing the signs that I may need to step outside for 10-minutes to catch my breath or to have a stim.
Carry on the Conversation
What have you done to help you when you’ve had a fatigue?
Did you recognise the triggers and how do you manage to prevent them from affecting you?
Can you pass on any hints and tips?
Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.