What comes to mind when a person tells you they are tired? Do you ask them if they didn’t sleep well the night before? Do you start talking about changing diets or increasing their amount of exercise? Do you think of anything at all or do you just nod your head and start chit chatting about other things?
I don’t remember the last time I wasn’t tired. I am perpetually tired. The word “tired” doesn’t even seem to be an appropriate word for how I feel, but I don’t know what other word to use. Exhausted? Fatigued? Overloaded? Drained? Burned out? Stressed beyond what would be considered acceptable levels?
In September 2012, I began writing publicly about my journey with my family. That was eight months after I was diagnosed. I was the third in my family to learn that I was in fact autistic. We each also have our own co-existing conditions that manifest themselves in ways unique to each of us. We might share diagnostic labels, but how these conditions present themselves is different depending on whom you are talking about. Age, personality, genetics, and environment all affect how these presentations occur.
This all plays into what it really means when a person says they are tired. Looking back over my old writings I see that there are common themes in many of them: exhaustion, stress, pain, burnout, and making it through it all.
When asked how they are doing both my children often have a scripted response of “I’m tired.” That simple two word response is actually a very loaded response. Hidden behind these two words is a long story of struggle, confusion, stress, frustration, pain, and exhaustion.
How does one go about breaking down all the components of “I’m tired”? Do you even try or do you just shrug it off, because you don’t know how to respond to it? You see the person who said they are tired still getting through their day with everything that is required, so maybe you think their tiredness really isn’t so bad? Maybe you don’t stop and think about the reasons behind their tiredness and just add more to their already full plate. Maybe you are unaware of how their plate changes sizes depending on the day, so you just keep loading more things on them. More requests, more demands, more expectations, more and more until the person either explodes or shuts down.
Human beings are amazing creatures. They can take a lot of shit before it is just too much and their bodies and minds simply cannot endure any more. Resilience, determination, patience, and stoicism are aspects of me that have gotten me through so much crap in my 41 years on this planet. I endure. I go on. I keep moving forward, because there is no other direction for me to go.
I’m tired, sooooo very tired. I often wonder if there will be any time in my life when I am not tired. I think there will be. I really do. There has to be. My brain cannot fathom that there will never be a time when I can say I am not tired, so I keep moving forward. I look forward to that day when I am no longer tired, a day when I can wake up in the morning and actually feel refreshed. It has become a quest of sorts. A day free of exhaustion! That will be an awesome day.
A few past blogs about exhaustion, burnout, and resiliency:
Here is the blog I wrote about resiliency.
This blog was a response of mine to Musings of an Aspie’s blog that is entitled “Autistic Regression and Fluid Adaptation”.
Here are some helpful Tumblr blogs about autistic burnout.