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Hardest Post I have had to write...

When I started Autisms Alright I did so with the promise to myself that I would always be as honest as possible. The good the bad and the ugly...

I am a high achiever always have been but it is because I have more coping mechanisms than a therapist could ever suggest and I am open about being autistic and the accommodations I need to help me succeed. The problem comes when people seemingly don't understand why I need the accommodations or think 'it can't be that bad she has coped with x.y and z' so they push that boundary further and further. It is like they want to see a physical representation of what autism really looks like. This is also the problem with masking autism.

The hardest thing about being autistic is not being autistic itself. It is other peoples lack of understanding about the condition and the almost unwillingness to want to understand it.

Yesterday (Friday the 17th of February) I had an autistic meltdown in work. My worst nightmare came true as I had discussed in detail the support I would need should this happen and yesterday it happened.

So a bit of background I have been struggling with autistic burnout for the past 3 weeks as I am also planning a wedding so my weekends have not been within my usual routine. Routines for me are crucial as they keep things safe and stable so when my routine is out it can cause stress. However, I have been pushing through and using sensory aids more to help me such as weighted blankets and taking social media breaks.

I often feel that because it appears I have most things together to the outside that this can be taken advantage of as in accommodations I have in place are overlooked. The slightest change in environment such as a desk move, unscheduled meeting or late notice meetings can cause me to feel anxious and overwhelmed. However, because in my head I know these things might happen I always prepare for them everyday.

I often feel I have the weight on my shoulders. I hold myself to a high standard because I hate to show weakness and this comes because my biggest weakness is my inability to connect with peers because I am autistic. So to make up for this deficit I have, and to me it is a deficit, I will prove myself in other ways like making sure I am performing at a high level.

For the past 2 years I have worked unbelievably hard to work on my career with two employers. So hard I even let me guard down and started to feel safe and confident. I am open and honest and have friends within my teams who have took the time to understand me and know how to help me if something happens.

So burnout has been a thing and only on Wednesday my counselor suggested I take a mental health day from work but I don't see my issues as works issues and I hate letting people down like I have literally only had 1 and a half unavoidable sick days in work.

I went into work on Friday and a change was announced that was bigger than a desk move and that was it. It was the straw that broke the camels back. I knew I needed to get out of there. In that moment I felt extremely vulnerable and unsafe and there was no way in hell I was prepared to let any colleagues see that so I let someone know to let my manager know I was going for a walk. (This is an accommodation I have should I ever get or feel overwhelmed)

As soon as I left the building I felt calmer a bit safer but then came the emotions and the dis regulation. I was conscious I couldn't be outside all day and also struggling with going back. I was taken to a quiet room and because I have an excellent and trusting relationship with the person who took me and we had spoken in detail about what needed to happen should this ever happen I was able to in that moment be my authentic self with no judgement which is what I needed. I am not prepared to go into detail about how this looks just google autistic meltdown and use your imagination.

There was no pressure on timing I was just in there until I was able to reregulate and get it out of my system.

The problem I have now is because that happened I am having to use CBT techniques this weekend and have been battling with anxiety ever since. Anxiety for me is heart palpitations, shortness of breath, feeling hot and trapped and a constant feeling of wanting to be sick.

I had a 5 year plan but now I don't even have a 48 hour plan and for an autistic person who needs routine and structure it is a very scary position to find myself in. I am over the meltdown but am still in burnout and what I would call a partial shut down. The worst part is my fiance has to take the brunt of it so when he was eating his cereal this morning I immediately left and told him I would wait for him in the car.

So for me my main battle on Monday morning is going to be to have the courage to step into a building that my brain now has negative connotations with. It will take ages to rebuild myself and my confidence back and I don't know how this is going to look.

All I would say on the matter is it isn't really for me to fix as I haven't done anything wrong.

Autism is alright when people take the time to understand and think about how actions can have consequences. A very small gesture or change or accommodation can absolutely make the world of difference for me and now I am completely conflicted, anxious, vulnerable and lost.

Below is a link on Autism meltdowns and how to help someone when they are experiencing one



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