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Autistic Burnout vs Depression

I don’t have depression (as far as I’m aware) but my girlfriend does.

We had a chat about it to help me figure out what I was experiencing, and came to the conclusion that it was autistic burnout, not depression.

She described depression like being in a pit that keeps getting dug deeper, but it’s not her digging it.

I had a think about how I would use that analogy, and what I came up with was that my “pit” is filling up with things.

Thinking more about that analogy now, I think I would also say that I can usually deal with the “things”, but when I notice I’m in burnout it’s like I’ve just realised things have been coming in faster than I thought and suddenly I can’t see the steps I need to use to be able to take the things out again.

Something else that helped me understand it better was a tiktok I saw talking about the differences.

One thing that stuck out to me was:

(Paraphrasing) “do you feel excited about the future?”

I’ve always felt excited about the future – even at my lowest when I couldn’t understand how I would ever not feel that low, I’ve still always been excited for the future.

I know you can experience autistic burnout and depression at the same time, so that’s not necessarily going to be helpful for everyone, but that’s my experience of it so far!