I’ve spent my whole adult life as a self employed person being told (by mostly not self employed people):
“You’re always so busy! Rest! You’re going to burn yourself out!”
But no one ever offered practical advice or support to help me rest whilst building my business.
Back then, I had the energy & capacity to do what I was doing, and this “concern” people expressed for me honestly just pissed me off, because when I told them I thrived on the energy I got from everything I did, they refused to believe me.
They’d ‘encourage’ me to do more “fun” things, eg: socialising, because I was told:
“it’s not healthy to focus on work things all the time!” and “you’ve got to do things FOR YOU, and not just work, because that’s what will lead you to burn out.”
I knew I loved my work and it brought me so much joy and energy, but I trusted the people around me, so I did my best to make sure I was always doing enough social things to be considered as having an okay work-life balance. (Which I never achieved in most people’s eyes)
I didn’t know I was autistic.
My job is my special interest, and that’s why it’s always brought me so much joy and energy.
I also do enjoy socialising in many ways, so friends would see this & say things like “see, wasn’t that so much fun?!” And insist I did more.
What they didn’t see was the way it impacted me later.
But I didn’t know it was because of socialising I felt so drained sometimes, so I assumed it was because of work, because that was what everyone kept telling me! (This led me to not trust my own judgement of myself too.)
I’m now 1.5+ years into autistic burnout & a big increase in my chronic pain.
My executive functioning is almost non-existent, meaning I can’t keep on top of “life” things anymore because I have to make sure I have enough brain power to work, because I have bills to pay.
BUT I finally know what support I need & have done the work to be able to “reach out” & ask for help, as I’ve been told to do many times by people saying things like:
“If I can do ANYTHING to help just ask!”
“I’m always here for you!”
Except no one is there.
Or rather, no one who is able to give the support I need is willing to.
And those who could, are of course the people who expressed their “concern” for me way back when.
So I stop asking, because it takes a lot of energy & once again just try to figure it out for myself.
But this time, I don’t really have the capacity to do that because I AM burnt out. So I’m stuck & at this moment in time, I honestly don’t know how I’m going to get better.
If I’d had the support I needed before I did hit burnout, would I have been able to avoid it?
But because of the society we live in, I couldn’t figure out what I needed, because I didn’t know I was autistic.
I only worked that out when I hit burnout
And even if I had known, honestly I doubt it would have helped much, because people still wouldn’t have listened to me & believed what I said I needed.
What time, resources, and support am I meant use to recover from my burnout? /partially rhetorical