When you're autistic and you're not okay, you're really not okay.
Sometimes, everything feels bloody hard.
Setting boundaries, carefully sifting through language in order to avoid hurting others in your expression of boundaries, having your character questioned, and then,
We turn on ourselves.
What's wrong with me? Is it me? What did I say wrong?
People can be so challenging to navigate, so traumatic to navigate.
Liking ourselves as autistic people is forever a work in progress when the consistent feedback from the world around us is that in some form, we are not okay.
In many forms, we'll never be enough.
Sometimes, my body hurts from not being okay and pushing forward and I ignore it.
Sometimes, I am exhausted from my threat response being consistently overactive.
In those moments where my body hurts and I'm in fight or flight, a simple criticism, disapproval, comment, look in my direction can cause me to want to run away forever.
Feeling so much all of the time becomes too much.
Thinking so much all of the time becomes too much.
My body calls for me to rest, my cognitive processing lags significantly and I'm no longer able to push forward or respond with careful consideration.
I'm raw. I'm an open wound. My mask is dangling.
I don't want to talk. I can't.
I can't listen.
Leave me alone. Go away. Forget me. Leave me here.
I don't care. I can't care. I don't want to talk. I won't remember that. I can't get that done. I'm not answering the call. I'm not reading the email. I'm not answering the door.
I'm raging inside.
And because I haven't been honest in my struggles, I'm disapproved of.
This is autistic burnout.
Image Credit: Tomek Pietrzyk
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