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My Autistic Wings and Mental Health impacts on Chronic Sickness and Pain...

As a disabled chronically ill person, I tried to examine every possible cause of my pain, fatigue & sickness, to try & help it.

Was I recovering adequately from shutdowns? Did I need more exercise or a healthy diet? Is it *just* my illness?

I Improved my diet, & had more sensory rest bites, yet Still, the fatigue & pain persisted.

No matter how much I changed, I felt guilty for resting, & so the rest was fruitless in allowing my brain the rest it needed. Regardless of how much rest I got I would still have to face the ever mounting to do list of ‘adulting’.

Recently, I FINALLY understood, my problem. I’ve realised, it’s not just being ill-it’s the mental health toll of all that too.

My brain is just so overwhelmed battling itself, with anxiety, injustices, overload & consequential shutdowns, that it doesn’t have any energy left for anything important like the adulting or chores I never seem capable to do.

My shutdowns & anxiety have me in constant fight flight or freeze mode. I’m constantly overwhelmed, even when I have ‘nothing to do’ but basic self care or chores.

Although I didn’t realise I was depressed, because I don’t tick my usual ‘depressed’ boxes- I’ve realised there’s different levels of depression for me. Right now my depression is making it difficult to think the way I normally do. Unable to ‘be’ in the present. Self de-appreciation. Lack of mindfulness & self acceptance. Haunted by anxiety & ‘what if...?’. Constant brain fog & inability to process information that my body knows could harm me into another shutdown.

Then, of course, my disabling shutdowns-endless visual & auditory hallucinations contribute to my anxiety.

The cherry on top? my rare diseases are back & I’m no longer in remission. I’m ill & the symptoms are physical, exhausting & disabling.

Aha! Is THAT why I feel awful all the time? Yes...!

I’m totally overwhelmed by pressure & adulting & constantly feeling ill. There’s no wonder my brain & mental health is also anxious & overwhelmed by that too? How did I NOT realise my mental health was suffering too?

How exactly did I not realize that my brain is just overloaded & that’s why I’m so exhausted? I had been looking at every cause, except my brain. I was used to symptoms of mental illness being fairly obvious — changes in mood, ptsd flashbacks, paranoia, panic attacks or insomnia.

I never considered that my brain being tired of dealing with its own problems would leave me with an utter lack of energy & exhaustion to ...simply ‘adult’.

A total & complete inability to process anything at all, just entirely shutdown, even after adequate rest. Nothing was enough. My brain is exhausted from handling the mental health toll of all my brains lil problems. No wonder I’m exhausted for ‘no’ reason!

So I’ve taken extra steps to improve my mental health toll. Mindfulness, meditation, designated screen free time, more rest & more recovery without forcing myself to recover before I’m ready. I’m really trying. it helps.

The fatigue has not left yet. I have learned, however, that some things – like limited exercise (walking when I’m capable) going out in my wheelchair, sitting in garden instead of inside, & meditation – can help me calm my brain so I can become more capable of doing all the things that I need to do.

We need to support each other. But to help others we must first help ourselves.

I do #ArtTherapy - I illustrated all the pictures in my book & I do #MusicTherapy & (stim) dance. I read, I stay mindful, I count my blessings & if I’m too unwell or disabled to do these things? I find a reason to genuinely smile. Today, I smiled at the wind in my hair. I can’t walk or talk in agony today but I’m still smiling & mindful. Most importantly? I don’t hide from my feelings or pain-I try to let them help me to grow.

I think to myself, how can this emotion help me support someone? How can this problem help me grow?

Then I never put ‘end dates‘ on my goals, I try to be #Mindful, & I never give up!


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