3 March 2022

A small, blue, tin wind-up robot stands on a wooden coffee table. The robot is meant to look sort of retro and 1960s-ish. It has large pinkish-red eyes with white pupils, and has a stylized atomic insignia on its forehead. It is exceedingly cute.

Reading what little academic research there is on autistic burnout and trying to be all cool and professional about it, but then I come across something like this and have to stop and have a bit of a cry:

“Participants also related struggling with boundaries — for example, not understanding that they were able to say ‘no’ to tasks or expectations, how to negotiate their own limits with external demands — or understanding how to self-advocate…”

Raymaker et al., “Having All of Your Internal Resources Exhausted Beyond Measure and Being Left with No Clean-Up Crew”: Defining Autistic Burnout. Autism in Adulthood, vol. 2, no. 2, 2020.

I mean… ya know?

Thinking too about autistic burnout as a chronic health condition, and how this fact can co-exist with the notion of autism as a neutral, non-pathological mode of being. That is, while autism itself is not inherently a disordered state of existence, being autistic in an autistiphobic world and having to consistently submit to neuronormative expectations does result in burnout, which is disabling. Which might be why I relate so strongly to so much literature and theory around chronic illness. Autism isn’t the disorder; burnout is.