Adulting: Handling Autistic Shutdown

This week I have been experiencing Autistic Shutdown and haven’t seem to be the only autistic at the current moment experiencing such. In case anyone is interested in knowing what it autistic shutdown is, I encourage you to check this Facebook Post from a fellow autism blogger. In essence, it is the following

It’s no communication.

It’s blank staring.

It’s no appetite.

It’s no reaction.

It’s laying down, under the covers, for days on end.

“Conversations By Chevy” Facebook Post

Literally, for me, the day this blogger posted this, I was experiencing autistic shutdown. How do I think that I got to this point? Well, I know I have been taking my medicine, because otherwise I would have had symptoms of mania, wanting to do everything and anything I could. This was different. I didn’t want to do anything but the bare minimum, and even doing that was a struggle. I would say it started as I went to sleep Wednesday (four nights ago.) I had experienced quite a busy day at the day program. Then I came home and did laundry and I crash. I got up the next morning to take a few phone calls and attend the virtual meeting. Then, I fell asleep until ten minutes before my telehealth session.

I attended my telehealth session and afternoon meetings with ease, then again, I fell asleep for the night, getting up and attending work and day program again the next day with minimal effort. That night, Friday, I came home and crashed again for a few hours, ordered delivery, ate it, and again, bed. This time not until 8 in the morning. Then up for a little bit to shower, medicate, check emails, etc., then bed again until 4 o’ clock in the afternoon. At that time, I know I need to eat something, so to Doordash I go ordering KFC, it comes in short order. Eat it, then crawl in bed (like at 8:00 PM Saturday.)

I awoke a few times through the night; however, I wasn’t somehow awake until 10:00 this (Sunday) morning, but couldn’t get out of bed until 11 or so when I took a shower and did some correspondence. For lunch I fixed some minute steaks and cleaned up that mess, before laying back in bed for a few minutes and getting back up to again take the trash out (I usually take it out on Thursday, Saturday and Monday, but I was behind.) Finally, we come to now when we are blogging.

I feel restored and feel somewhat energized but it hasn’t felt even though I have been living in my new apartment for a little over three months now, I now have finally gotten to the point that I can actually relax. You see, it’s been a year since I had to leave my last apartment suddenly and live with my parents in a substandard living environment, then COVID came, then coming to terms that I was relapsing on my mental health, then a new apartment, all while keeping several other responsibilities in check. I honestly never looked at it now, but it has been over a year of hell for me. Some of it I have to take responsibility for, some of it was good and some of it wasn’t my fault at all, however it was a lot to handle or just a neurotypical person, yet a neurodiverse individual with a host of mental health diagnoses.

During these four of five days of experiencing true shutdown, my mother has been in contact with me. One instance she asked me if I wanted to go to the store with her. I couldn’t even garner the courage or energy to go shopping. While I am stocked up on food, I just didn’t feel like I even wanted to eat or go anywhere, although I would have to admit It would have been nice to get out after only visiting day program or work the past few weeks.

When a person experiences Autistic Shutdown, the best thing to do is to just let them get the rest they need. We as autistics have just been at times too overstimulated and just need a serious recharge of our inner selves. COVID and all the changes, restrictions that come with it have caused many autistics to experience more periods of autistic shutdown. I would certainly hope that as time progresses our lawmakers and educators would understand this piece of the autism diagnosis so that proper provisions can be made for the periods of shutdown.

Get your rest if you need it, you deserve it.

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