(and writing, too)

Live Wire

Posted by Wicasta on 14 Feb 2024.

Last weekend was a wild ride. I want to talk about this.

Autism Burnout

This is what I feel like today.

Decisions... Decisions...

The prompt for the A.I. created image about was; “Today I feel like a live wire and every physical sensation is nearly overwhelming, I'm living on the autism spectrum and feeling like a live wire because I'm off my meds”.

I'm teetering toward full-blown sensory overload today.

I'm in the worst place I could be today. I'm at work. In an office. People are talking. The phones will ring as reports come in. The jabbering going on in the background is like icy needles in my brain. I turned on my desk heater because I thought the white noise of the running fan would help mask the yammering. But the sound of the heater fan is like an abrasive heat. It doesn't really mask the room noise. It just adds to it.

The call I just took between the last paragraph and this one sums up how well the day is going. When the phone rang I put on my headset and clicked the OK button on the phone to accept the call. But I found myself pausing, because I suddenly felt choked up. I had to take a breath just to be able to say, “ARMS. This is Kevin.” It was enough of a pause that the deputy noticed.

So... what's going on?

I'm off my meds, for one thing. Well, off of the Buproprion, which is what I take for... well, I don't know what I take it for. Is it for anxiety? Depression? Both? I don't even remember at this point. I do think it helps overall. It helps to deaden things, I guess. Which is preferable. Or, as I've told various therapists, “It takes the edge off.” Until you run out, that is. Which I did.

I won't get into the bullshit as to why I ran out. The suggestion will be made that I should have been more proactive. But I made several appointments to have this addressed, all of which were canceled by whoever. In the meantime, after this had gotten kicked down the road a couple of times the prescription did run out. And so here I am. I did eventually manage to see an telehealth doctor who prescribed Bupropion for me. But my local pharmacy couldn't pull it off yesterday. Now I'm just hoping I can pick it up on my way home from work today.

When I get the pills, I will have been off the meds for 4 days. I've been a little squirrelly at times, but thought I was doing well enough overall. So much so that I'd started thinking maybe I could do without Buproprion altogether. I'd braved the worst, after all, and was still standing. But, of course, I was wrong. Today I feel like a live wire. Everything is too intense. Every noise. Every sensation. My supervisor came back to my desk to let me know she was going to be doing some training and to re-route supervisor calls to another desk. I didn't hear her approach, and when she spoke I twitched enough that it startled her. So yeah, I'm a live wire today. I guess this would be withdrawal? I mean... from what I understand, you don't just go from 450mg a day to nothing.


I'm done with the Bupropion. Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm going to pick up that prescription today and I'm going to start taking it again. But this is a stop-gap measure. Ultimately, this is not the solution for me. We've been treating the wrong problems. I'm sick of it. Sick of doctors not listening to me. Sick of being forced into their categories. Sick of their one-size-fits-all mentality. I'm desperately sick of pretending I'm not on the autism spectrum because it's easier for doctors to “treat” me for depression than autism. It's easier to diagnose depression in adults than autism.

Here's what I decided today. I came across some information online about Autistic Burnout vs. Depression, which talked about why depression medication isn't as effective for people with ADHD and those on the autism spectrum. It all made a lot of sense to me. But the big frustration I've had for so very long now is that I've never seriously been able to have the conversation about autism or Asperger's. Therapists don't seem to want to have that conversation. And so I've accepted their recommendations, which is to pretend that I'm depressed in the traditional sense, and therefore pretend that traditional treatments for depression will be effective.

But... they're just... not.

I've looked up some informaiton this morning, trying to figure out if I was tweaking because I'd suddenly stopped my Bupropion, or if I was just returning to my natural state. I do remember how intense everything was before I started taking it, and it's not such a stretch to consider this might be what I'm like, that it's not just withdrawal. But even when there is Bupropion in my system, it only takes the edge off. It doesn't solve the problems. It just makes them a little more manageable. Even before this, I was already questioning if that was enough.

An Underlying Cause?

I think we need to stop fucking around and face the simple reality that the reason antidepressants don't work very well on me is that the symptoms they address are not the problem for me. I'm as convinced as ever that my issues can be traced back to undiagnosed and untreated autism. If your primary issue is not that you're depressed but rather you're suffering from ongoing autistic burnout, all the antidepressants in world will have little effect. Drugs are only effective if you have the problem they're designed to address. The chart I found on a web site about the overlap between Depression and Autistic Burnout (an overlap which often leads to misdiagnoses) explains a lot to me, because most of what I struggle with can be found on the Autistic Burnout side of the chart.

This is something I'm going to discuss with my new doctor. I think I need to try Adderall or Ritalin. Or Vyvanse.

All I really know, in the end, is that the kid of day I've been having today simply cannot continue. So... what do we do to fix this?

Doctor? Hey... um... Doc?

Now, what are the chances of finding a doctor who won't fuck with me? I've read a lot of stuff this morning about how reluctant a lot of doctors are at prescribing ADHD medications to older patients. It's pretty hard to get a diagnosis, I hear. Mostly, I think, because doctors themselves have ADD. That's snark, of course, because doctors generally can't seem to pay attention long enough to hear anything you're saying. But we do what we must, right? Maybe I'll find a good doctor who'll be more helpful than what I'm used to.