Before my autism diagnosis, I didn’t understand why I kept getting depressed.
I did notice a link between juggling conflicting priorities e.g. a pressurised project at work at the same time as problems at home (e.g. my eldest was a frequently unwell baby), or two big work projects at the same time.
Every time it was diagnosed as depression and treated like depression: a month off work, SSRIs, counselling, talking therapies and I did a lot of soul searching, theorising (e.g. is it because my first long-term boyfriend eroded my self-esteem, or because I was bullied at school, or because of traumas like my two missed miscarriages), and self-care like long country walks.
Every time I’d bounce back strong, positive, and highly productive. Hyper-productive, even.
After fourteen years of this, I asked my doctor for a referral for bipolar disorder. I felt “crazy”.
Eventually, I was told this couldn’t be bipolar, because that is apparently cyclical, and what I was experiencing had a specific trigger… being stressed beyond my ability to cope, and crashing.
Only after my autism diagnosis, which only happened because it was picked up as the underlying cause of my son’s anxiety when he was fourteen, did I realise this was autistic burnout.
Only then was I was able to identify the triggers, and start self-advocating to avoid it happening again… Successfully!
What a shame the medical profession didn’t pick up on my autism sooner! All the signs were there, even the family history (my brother). I could have been helped so much earlier!