(Autistic) Burnout 01

I do not know at which nth cycle of the autistic burnout I am in. I actually need to do homework and readings right now as some are due tomorrow (Monday) and Wednesday. This is my last semester in the university-space; my "trauma-ish" driver. It has been a tough 6 (or rather 5+1) years in university, struggling through a sea of apparently apathetic studentbody, periodically being dragged down deep, then rewarded by air at the surface only to be dragged down again. Much of my framing of these struggles involved pinning myself to the corkboard. I do understand that many of these failures I could have improved myself. I am actually writing this (write) now while procrastinating my linguistics homework that I started more than a week ago during the one-week Reading Break in my university. Perhaps dumping my thoughts here would clear up my stubborn brain.

I have been watching videos today about autism. One of said videos was by Meg X whose channel is I'm Autistic, Now What? called all-lowercase struggling with autistic burn out.... She described her experience in the UK's version of K-12 education until a full crash during her in-person A-levels. Much of my childhood was enshrouded in the framework of "grades for grade's sake," a non-denominational "Protestant work ethic" for yet-not-working-age students. But I did spend a lot of my K-12 asking "when will the homework finish?" and "when will the maths homework end?" Funnily, I ended up in astrophysics for uni, itself constructed upon layers of maths as its main tool. Thus in first year, I started asking myself again, "when will the maths end?" I have never been able to narrow down my options; cleaning my drawers last year I found a letter to myself I wrote in a school success club/program during 2017-2018 of what I hope future me would look like academically. I realised that none has change, still the same confused choices of astrophysics, urban planning, linguistics, musicology. Linguistics was a special interest and my second choice in uni after astrophyiscs, and urban design & planning too was a special interest due to my obsession with Cities Skylines I. Musicology was a special interest that "I know I could not achieve, none the least enter for the time being" as I had a late start in formal Western music theory at the end of junior high school. Astrophysics was... an interest. Was it pride that drove me into it? Expectations of the STEM kid? Did it stem from some culture I adopted? By seventeen years old, I already felt worn out and that I already messed up other's expectations of me so I asked,

How could I make it up to them? By being successful on a limited definition of success: financially.

And here I am. 23 turning 24 at the sixth year of undergraduate uni. Well, fifth because I had a fifth year where I basically had a de facto break. A mix of the gratitude for finally finishing this hell to hop on to the anxiety-driving anxiety of... the unknown. Currently my time is occupied by school work and team video games. I feel addicted and worn out from both. It feels weird to equate them, maybe I will explain this later. But I feel burnout from Cities Skylines I (which is the driver of my urban design & planning special interest) and I am too tired to pick up new hobbies and skills currently. It has been one year and a half of my "official burnout phase." I thought I was recovering until this new semester started; I felt like I just felt down a ladder. In addition, my ADHD medications causes me to focus on the wrong things and weirdly, started engaging wrong muscles in myself causing them to feel tired. This meant that I started focusing too much on school, focused on the wrong task in homeworks causing delays; as friends and colleagues and family are not schoolwork, I have socially isolated myself. It's lonely, although I have been attempting to go out of the house (and school) more outside of Discord (as a lot of my friends are there and even I socially isolated from them). The social isolation means that I started shying away from classmates too; the lack of collaboration causes me to fall behind in school and struggle more. I have now entered Hikikomori, motionless to turn into a rock. A year ago, I told myself (before I took my ex-girlfriend's autism accusation seriously) that maybe I can simply work to be a waitress for the time being. Then I got fired for, I'm guessing, asking too many questions as the pub's management was unbelievably messy. Even that is a precarious option for me now.

I know recovery is non-linear. Weirdly, I started to disdain the word "recovery" as it carried the stain of some sort of retvrn to a glorious past that my brain frames as one that I had. But this past was never: it was not sustainable. As an annoying STEM student, perhaps I introduce a similar term with a caveat:

pronouced recovery-prime, is recovery towards a future and the recognition of futures being distinct from the past. This is distinct from recovery being grounded in a past state being manifested once again the future.

So perhaps towards recovery′ I can ground myself towards. Cynic that I am, I am aware of details. But I do not want to shut myself down, I do believe that I have some future. I do want to help, to contribute, to spread knowledge. Perhaps the first step is to open myself up to special interests again.

Knock knock, Miss, are you there?

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