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I'm Not a Failure for Quitting My Job Because of Autistic Burnout

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I have recently been experiencing severe burnout. As an autistic, burnout is when I have been pushed to my limits. I feel like every social interaction I do is incorrect. Basically, I am unable to keep my (metaphorical) mask on, which, unfortunately, is what I need to do to function in this neurotypical society.

Lately, I have been having multiple panic attacks every day. My current living situation is not ideal and it has been causing me to have PTSD episodes that bring me back to my childhood abuse from my parents. It has made me unable to complete basic human tasks like drive or cook dinner, which is a huge sign that I am burned out because cooking is my passion. I decided that something needed to change. Since my living situation is not able to change at the moment, I decided I needed to quit my job.

I have been working since I was 16. I’ve only been able to work around 20 hours a week because of health reasons, but I have always at least had a job. Having to quit my current job made me feel like I failed. I know as an autistic how lucky I have been to be consistently employed, since many of us struggle in the workforce. The job I had to quit was as the administrative assistant at an autism resource agency, which made me feel even more like a failure, because my job is so understanding about autism and has accommodated me to the fullest. If I can’t succeed in that work environment, where could I succeed?

After giving myself some time to process quitting my job, I have realized that I am the opposite of a failure. I am so proud that I was able to assess my situation and realize it wasn’t healthy, that I was pushing myself too hard. Since quitting my job, I have been able to take some time and do activities that nourish my soul and help me put myself back together. I have been baking bread, knitting, and most importantly, writing.

My true dream is to be a self-advocate full time. By quitting my job, I fulfilled that wish in more than one way. Not only do I have more time to write, but I also proved to myself that I am my own best advocate. I hope that my burnout will dissipate soon. But for now, I am very proud that I have been able to make my own decisions about what is best for me and my mental health.

Getty image by Casper1774studio.

Originally published: October 16, 2020
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