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Overstimulated & Experiencing Autism Burnout/Chronic Exhaustion

Community Member

Very recently, I have started back at University. I have a new timetable, brand new classrooms, some new peers/lecturers to associate with and even more information to comprehend and retain. 


I'm not use to my new timetable. This is the first week back and it has really made me feel chronically exhausted. I'm so burnt-out. I'm tired. I feel overwhelmed. I just want to go home and sleep under my soft blankie. The lights are really bright at university, in the classrooms. The fluorescent lights on the train ride to and from university is blinding and really difficult for me. I have to mask my autism in front of everyone. The loud noises from the bustling city and new content has just been too much for me. 


Don't get me wrong, I LOVE learning and coming to university. However, I just feel so chronically exhausted from masking my autism to make other people feel comfortable, BUT masking requires SO MUCH energy and effort. 

4 Replies 4

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear PS~

It's good to hear from you again.  It's a pretty gutsy step to go back to uni considering the problems it is giving you. I guess particularly at the start it is going ot be very exhausting, even wihtout the autism and anxiety to cope wiht too.


Do you  mind if I ask if you like the actual units you are doing? Maybe it's a bit early to tell but you might have some idea. You've often talked of study before. You certainly have the intelligence for it.


Being light-sensitive is a problem too, can you wear shades on the train to give your eyes a rest?


Can I suggest you give it a bit of time? I know at the moment it must seem overwhelming but perhaps you will end up with a routine you  can manage.


Of course a lot can depend on the support you get when reaching home all washed out. If I remember correctly you mentioned your partner was very understanding, do you get looked after OK?


You did talk about you dad and his recent breakup , do you see much of him now?


I"d be interested yo=to know if oyu have any new music you are enjoying



Hey Croix, how are you?


I am trying to make a routine for myself now. As for units I am studying Journalism law & ethics, Journalism fact checking & Verification, Music in popular culture and Journalism reporting & writing. I love my course and I want to definitely graduate. Just the change of routine is hard for me. 


As for my Dad, I live with him and he is one of my best friends. 


And music- well I LOVE Steve Winwood's music at the moment. How about yourself?


Great to hear from you again. Take care Croix. 

All the best,


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi PS,

Congratulations on getting out of your comfort zone and taking on such a positive experience. But growth experiences can be so darn challenging and uncomfortable at the time. You have a lot of new things going on but remember, this is going to be the most overwhelming part until you settle in and it becomes the new routine (I remember I went to my degree head in tears after my first lecture telling them I had made a terrible mistake). As someone with an invisible illness, I also understand how hard it can be having to act as though you have to ‘act normal’ so to speak. I think you need to develop some strategies for when you are feeling overwhelmed, or even that you can implement to help stop you becoming overwhelmed. For example, I found a quiet spot on campus that I could go and listen to music. Sometimes even putting my noise-cancelling headphones on and not playing music was good so I didn’t have to interact with people. Even leaving the campus and going for walks between classes helped me as it reminded me I could leave whenever I wanted so didn’t feel as trapped. Could you wear sunglasses on the train and pretend to sleep etc. I would recommend going and having a chat with your disability support services and see whether they have any suggestions to help you, that’s what they’re there for.

Dear PS~

I'm OK thanks.


You have chosen a set of units that could suit you very well. The journalism ties in with your clear posting style and the music unit not only gives a break but also follows one of you major interests.


You never know you may end up using journalism in the music arena.


I'd not listened to Steve Winwood  before but now you have mentioed him have listened to a couple of albums, I guess my favorite songs so far are Horizon and Take It To The Final Hour. They are both very different in style and the lyrics have a slightly religious flavor - or mybe that is just my impression?


It's been a week or so since we talked, are you finding things any easier or is it too early yet?


I'm glad you are with your dad, you've spoken of him often in the past. Do you think he will end up finding someone nice?


I saw another Topic of yours about your partner's separation anxiety. If it is the same peron you talked about before, it may be the age gap has been commented on too much by others, giving him a hard time and stopping him from having the confidence you will return.


I'm not sure that you can do that much personally except be yourself. You may be able to encourage him to seek medical treatment for aniety, perhaps he could see a GP and explain how he feels? It can't be any fun for him worrying all the time.


I hope the uni study and travel goes well