Day 8 post failed suicide attempt – Autistic Burnout

Sunday

5:00am

Nurse takes blood pressure. Inspects the wound on my wrist, stitches can be removed in the next day or two. Healing very well.

Breakfast

Shower

Wait for Psychiatrist…

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He arrives at 9:00 and we start talking in a very relaxed manner. He looks calmer than in the previous sessions. He is as tall as I am and today he is wearing casual wear. It adds to the relaxed environment. He even smiles a bit. I feel like he is actually onto something and I start to feel a bit of hope spring up inside me.

He starts asking me about the feelings I experienced just before I tried to commit suicide (and I didn’t want to kill myself).

I explained it like this:

I was always aware of extreme pressure in my life. Mentally, emotionally and physically. Life was always tough. I remember the day my body drove me out to the mountains and tried to kill me, that I felt exhausted. I felt empty. I needed rest. I needed sleep. I felt that I have reached the end of what was possible to give in this life. My life-force has been drained. My ‘chi’ was disappearing. I felt that this wonderful scary adventure called life has come to an end. I was done…

He looked at me with a little bit of a smile and said I experienced autistic burnout. I literally lived my life to the fullest and I drained every last drop out of every facet of my life, and the suicide attempt was me trying to end me because I had nothing left to give. I spent it all.

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He complimented me on my self awareness and my ability to communicate extremely well in describing exactly what transpired. He started explaining to me that people with autism build a public persona to mask their condition, in order to be able to function in society. This masking or camouflaging is extremely taxing on your resources: spiritually, mentally and physically. He explained that my unique, complex condition fascinated him. Apparently people with my condition and the co-morbid ADHD and OCPD (OCD) and depression, usually attempt suicide at 15. I managed to fight off this dragon of death until I was in my early forties! I started building an entire personality with this masking technique and drifted away from my own core. I also started developing a third entity when I drank alcohol, a kind of a man-child if you will. The rebel, the risk taker, the instigator, the reckless, the dangerous one. He suspects that my true self, and the other two were at loggerheads and tried to ‘take over’ the executive functioning, I was about to split! After the battle for my soul, one of those three survived, and he suspects it is the true me.

He asked me to read up on Autistic Burnout and see if I can recognize myself in some of the literature.

He double checked on my prescription and told the nurse that I can stop taking the heavy sleeping pills. He prescribed an anti-psychotic which would assist me with falling asleep at night. We’ll try it, I thought. He greeted me and left.

Lunch

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I spent the afternoon reading about Autistic Burnout

‘Autistic burnout’ is the intense physical, mental or emotional exhaustion, often accompanied by a loss of skills, that some adults with autism experience. Many autistic people say it results mainly from the cumulative effect of having to navigate a world that is designed for neurotypical people.

Burnout may especially affect autistic adults who have strong cognitive and language abilities and are working or going to school with neurotypical people.

Like many aspects of autism, burnout varies greatly from person to person. Some autistic people experience it as an overwhelming sense of physical exhaustion. They may have more difficulty managing their emotions than usual and be prone to outbursts of sadness or anger. Burnout may manifest as intense anxiety or contribute to depression or suicidal behavior.

spectrumnews.org

Well, that explains a lot!

I read and read and read and read…

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Dinner

Shower

I read more and more and more and more!

Finally I felt like the past started to make sense, I kind of started to see why he had that look on his face, like he thinks I need to put my own puzzle together and he just handed me the last piece.

I had tea.

Took my medication, and for the first time felt that this day was well spent, and eventually I drifted away…

Day 2 post failed suicide attempt – what is BPD?

Morning

The first morning I wake up at the hospital when a nurse come to check my blood pressure. I am still a bit drowsy from the sleeping pill and I kind of put together the room, the day, the previous day and why I am here…

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We have breakfast, I go to take a shower and get dressed for the day, not knowing what to expect.

They call me to inform me that a Psychologist is waiting for me in the consultation room. I go in and he introduces himself and tell me to sit and get comfortable. I tell him what I told the Psychiatrist the day before and he takes a lot of notes on the file in front of him.

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“Sounds like Borderline Personality Disorder to me…’ he says.

“I am not saying it is, but it sounds like it…’ he continues.

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‘Excuse me?” I ask, “my Psychiatrist mentioned Autism and said I should rest as much as I can today while reading up on Autism, what is Borderline Personality Disorder?” I continue, kind of confused but also intrigued at the same time.

He hands me a piece of paper which reads:

  • Individuals who match this personality disorder type have an extremely fragile self-concept that is easily disrupted and fragmented under stress and results in the experience of a lack of identity or chronic feelings of emptiness. As a result, they have an impoverished and/or unstable self structure and difficulty maintaining enduring intimate relationships.
  • Self-appraisal is often associated with self-loathing, rage, and despondency.
  • Individuals with this disorder experience rapidly changing, intense, unpredictable, and reactive emotions and can become extremely anxious or depressed. They may also become angry or hostile, and feel misunderstood, mistreated, or victimized.
  • They may engage in verbal or physical acts of aggression when angry.
  • Emotional reactions are typically in response to negative interpersonal events involving loss or disappointment.
  • Relationships are based on the fantasy of the need for others for survival, excessive dependency, and a fear of rejection and/or abandonment.
  • Dependency involves both insecure attachment, expressed as difficulty tolerating aloneness; intense fear of loss, abandonment, or rejection by significant others; and urgent need for contact with significant others when stressed or distressed, accompanied sometimes by highly submissive, subservient behavior.
  • At the same time, intense, intimate involvement with another person often leads to a fear of loss of an identity as an individual. Thus, interpersonal relationships are highly unstable and alternate between excessive dependency and flight from involvement.
  • Empathy for others is severely impaired.
  • Core emotional traits and interpersonal behaviors may be associated with cognitive dysregulation, i.e., cognitive functions may become impaired at times of interpersonal stress leading to information processing in a concrete, black-and white, all-or-nothing manner.
  • Quasi-psychotic reactions, including paranoia and dissociation, may progress to transient psychosis. Individuals with this type are characteristically impulsive, acting on the spur of the moment, and frequently engage in activities with potentially negative consequences.
  • Deliberate acts of self-harm (e.g., cutting, burning), suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts typically occur in the context of intense distress and dysphoria, particularly in the context of feelings of abandonment when an important relationship is disrupted.
  • Intense distress may also lead to other risky behaviors, including substance misuse, reckless driving, binge eating, or promiscuous sex. (APA, 2010)
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“Well, I will leave you to rest as your Doctor suggested, I will see you again tomorrow” he says, and say goodbye and leave the room.

I go back to my room I share with 3 other men and lie down on my bed. I read what I can find on Autism, but I also read the paper he gave me. I do not recognize myself at all when reading about BPD. Strange…

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I guess I have to wait for the Psychiatrist to clarify exactly what this means. He will only be back the next day and he has prescribed pain killers for the suicide attempt wound on my wrist, anti-depressants and more sleeping pills (which I have to take in front of the nurse so they can confirm that I did take the medication).

Afternoon

I eat lunch and read, I eat dinner and read, I take a shower and read, and I take my evening medication and sleep….