autistic people need
to take a break,
in a big way.
This might look like not responding
to your messages instantly,
Or at all,
Not being as engaged
with the regular things
we engage with,
We might stay in comfortable clothing;
Tracksuits or pyjamas
For a number of days or weeks.
We might take time off work or study,
Invest large amounts of our time
in sleeping or watching Netflix,
Drawing, writing or creating.
We might appear
From our regular selves.
This is not something we can control.
It isn’t something we do
to hurt or harm others,
To concern others,
To have others feeling rejected,
Dismissed or abandoned.
For many of us,
Disengaging is easier
Because it is difficult to explain
An experience many do not have.
And this can be exhausting
When it’s something you find
Yourself doing regularly
Due to having a divergent neurotype.
It is often easier
To allow others to believe
We are depressed
To allow us
To get on with what we need to do
In neuronormative standards,
This would most commonly be referred to as
However, for me personally,
I am adamantly aware
That when I am in these stages
I am not depressed.
I am engaged in what has been a very ‘normal’
Process of rest and rejuvenation
For most of my life.
Before I knew I was autistic,
Yes. It appeared I was depressed. A lot.
I would go go go at life,
Thriving, energetic and driven for long periods
Before burning out.
Suddenly, without warning
Without a quick return,
Lacking any possible intervention.
This may even be labelled
‘Bipolar’ or any other diagnoses from the DSMV
That a medical professional sees fit
At the time
For many autistic people
Who may have been misdiagnosed.
Yet, I knew,
I was not ‘depressed’
Or ‘Bipolar’ or disordered.
This is one of the most important lessons
about the autistic way
to the neuronormative standard
This is my normal.
It is part of the ebb and flow of being autistic
I don’t speak for all autistics.
My entire being will retreat,
It will command rest.
It will command my head be less in the clouds
And my feet more firmly planted on the ground.
Because the reality is,
We autistics can do both
But after some time,
I can only pick one.
Head completely in the clouds
Where I live only from my imagination
Or feet solely and firmly on the ground
Where I lose my sense of creativity and connection.
My thoughts will begin to clatter about in my head
My body will tire.
I have an autistic expression that will mimic
Many non autistic behaviours.
Yet signal completely different needs
From those of my non autistic peers.
Autistic people require
a lot of
These are the things my mind
Is built for.
And so now,
Armed with the knowledge that I am autistic,
I have a new understanding of myself
And what I need.
I am not depressed,
But in a state of whole being rest.
I will return to my regular self
But it will take longer
If I am contacted often
Asked if I’m okay
I require space and time
Freedom and respect
This is quite different to the neuronormative way
Where connection, community and socialisation
Is prioritised in order to fix those who are depressed,
Yet these are the very things that I require respite from.
I trust in what I know about myself
I trust in my needs.
I always return
To my usual self
When given the space and time.
NB-Many Autistic people have a number of diagnoses of many conditions. They are valid and real. This is my experience only.