Coming Out of Autistic Burnout

autism burnout pda practical tips reader question Apr 19, 2023
Coming Out of Burnout

Originally published Apr. 19th, 2023. Written by Amanda Diekman. 




"How do I start adding the occasional demand/opportunity for growth as we come out of burnout?"

First, double-check the assumption that it's time to add in these opportunities for growth. Sometimes we latch onto the earliest possible signs of stability because we are so eager to leave this terrible, hard time in our lives. The solid ground needs to be strong and stable enough to put some weight on it. If it's too fragile, it will still break.

Second, determine your deep why. This is the thing that matters most to you in this season. It is your North Star. The "why" matters much more than the "what" in this season. You can introduce any tiny challenge, any opportunity for growth, but you must know why you are doing it. For example, as we were (slowly) leaving burnout, I was laser-focused on trust. If anything compromised the tendrils of trust we'd built, I let it go immediately.

Third, the point of adding in opportunities for growth is not to "get back to normal" as quickly as possible. It's not even about accomplishing a desired goal (brushing teeth, showering, leaving the house). The real point is your deep why, the thing that matters most. Trust, connection, communication, safety, confidence, autonomy. Keep your focus here.

Fourth, let's define your role in creating the opportunities for growth by distinguishing between pushing versus stretching. You are not the one to PUSH your kid into a new challenge. You are the one to create a safe environment where they are able to STRETCH toward a desired goal. You create a clear and competent role where they can do well. You set them up for a win.

To create an environment where they can stretch, you align with your child's intrinsic motivation and desire.

What does your kid want to do that has been too hard in the past (but you suspect is doable now)?

How can you support this by letting go of additional demands (to increase capacity)?

When my son was taking his first steps out of burnout, we recognized a pattern emerging: one good day for stretching, two days to recuperate. Just because they can do it once doesn't mean it becomes a standing expectation. Just because it becomes a standing expectation doesn't mean they always do it. Continue to stay closely monitoring regulation and be prepared with what you can wholeheartedly drop to maintain stability.

Why is everything so hard?


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