A kiln or a crucible?

Yesterday I wrote about what’s working for me as I recover from a case of autistic burnout.

Today offered an opportunity to reflect on what’s not working.

A quick list of things that still trip me up:

  • Setting boundaries with neurotypical people
  • Boundaries where it’s not safe to say I’m autistic (work, doctors)
  • Back to back meetings
  • Switching from many small fast tasks to one big focused task
  • Weighing my needs against the needs of the team I manage (I fear I’ll struggle with this forever)
  • When work makes it hard to pay attention to my body’s signals (like having to pee or being hungry or cold)
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Being able to avert a meltdown early in work situations, sometimes. (That failed today. I tried to bug out of a situation but the person I was working with failed to recognize my urgency.)

The good news here is that I’m getting more confident about being able to reduce the number of meltdown triggers I have. I just have to give myself permission to tackle them one at a time.

And I need to more consistently remind myself that failing in any given moment isn’t a failure everywhere all the time.

So yeah I melted down today. Only one person saw it happen and I trust her to be kind.

Now I’m stimming and trying to cool off my brain so I can try again.

I’ll be okay. Every meltdown erodes progress, sure, but there are also opportunities to analyze and learn and prevent the next one.

Meltdowns are not brushfires. They don’t destroy anything permanently. Not are they kilns that harden and strengthen. They are crucibles. They burn away shit I don’t need, leaving behind the truth about where to focus next on my path to feeling better (and mixing metaphors).


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