Autistic Burnout: What Is It and How Do I Fix It?

A photo of Morgan's notebook, which xe has begun to colour in with an irregular pattern, using biro

Ugh. I don’t know how to start this blog post.

I don’t know how to start anything, actually, at the moment. I have to be prompted to get a drink of water. I have to be bribed into doing work for the Master’s course I am genuinely excited to be on. I have to break down tasks like “get ready for bed” into their smallest parts if I’m gonna have any hope of starting them – steps like: 1. Remove blanket from lap. 2. Stand up. 3. Pick up medication from sofa. 4. Put medication in mouth. 5. Swallow with water. 6. Walk upstairs. 7. Pull down trousers. 8. Pee… and so on.

Sometimes, when I get stuck on a seemingly trivial task, I laugh. I say, “I’m a postgraduate student,” like the juxtaposition is funny. But I’m getting more stuck more often on more trivial things, and it’s getting harder to laugh.

I’d heard of autistic burnout in passing. I knew it happened, and I knew vaguely what it was. Everything is so difficult for autistic people, all the time, and atop all those difficulties we have to place a carefully-constructed neurotypical mask, and naturally, we get exhausted. And we get so exhausted that we burn out, like anyone would, and we struggle more, and we need to recover. It’s sometimes called “autistic regression”, especially in kids, because one of the effects of being chronically exhausted and autistic is losing the ability to do things that you used to be able to do – including sensory processing. People suffering from autistic burnout will often experience heightened sensory sensitivity, as well as a decreased ability to process spoken or written information. I knew all this.

But I didn’t know – really know – how it would feel for me.

One of the reasons I find the terms “high-functioning autistic” and “low-functioning autistic” so infuriating is that I function… selectively. This week, for example, I did the reading I was set for one of my uni modules, made it to my seminar on time and didn’t have a meltdown, but I also had to buy a packet of new underwear from Tesco because I haven’t done any laundry (or even asked anyone else to do it for me) in weeks. I went to the GP and gave an honest report of my recent symptoms, but then had to nap for five hours and have a hearty cry. I sort of shift all of my “functioning” to the places I need it the most, often to the detriment of self-care. (And I don’t mean what Meg-John and Justin have brilliantly termed “neoliberal bubblebath self-care”, the kind where you pamper yourself a bit and eat chocolate. I mean, like, eating meals and showering and shifting positions on the sofa when my hip starts sliding out.)

Unfortunately, it turns out that my functioning is finite. And, sort of like a health bar in a mobile game, it doesn’t recharge as quickly as I need it to. But, unlike a health bar in a mobile game, I can’t watch an ad or make an in-app purchase to refill it instantly. I’ve been bridging the gap between my ability to function and the things that have been required of me with a lot of things – caffeine, nicotine, sometimes adrenaline – but the gap is widening, and I’m falling into it.

The reality is this: I’m suffering with autistic burnout. Right now, in real life, no matter how hard I ignore it. I’m constantly exhausted. 90% of sensory inputs make me want to scream. In the evenings, I literally cannot read. (I’m a sex blogger and a fucking English student, so this is a problem.) I’m irritable and confused most of the time. Like a lot of people with autistic burnout, I’m teetering on the edge of suicidal ideation – not making plans, but often catching myself thinking, “God, I can’t believe I have to be alive tomorrow,” or even, “If that car hits me right now, it’ll all be over.” I’m safe, because my support network is wonderful and I have responsibilities that would make me dying right now really inconsiderate, but I want to be honest about how much this sucks. It sucks so much.

The frustrating thing about autistic burnout is that it doesn’t feel like depression. There are similarities – low mood, low energy, hours of extra sleep that doesn’t leave me feeling rested – but the crucial difference is that depression takes away my motivation to do things. Autistic burnout takes away my ability to do things, but leaves my motivation intact, so I spend hours feeling desperate to get things done but literally unable to do them. And because, from the outside, I look “high-functioning” – talkative! A postgrad! Surrounded by friends! Not visibly stimming! – it feels slightly ridiculous when I can’t figure out how to remove my shoes, or nearly wet myself because I forgot to “ask my body” whether I needed to pee. I have run my metaphorical health bar into the ground, but from the outside, I still look like the model of a “high-functioning” autistic person. This makes it harder to get help, but it’s true for a lot of autistic people, especially the AFAB ones who’ve been under a little extra pressure to mask their autism. Y’know, like me.

I know, in theory, what helps. Less time masking, more time resting. Taking off any unnecessary pressures and allowing myself to recover at my own pace. An enriched “sensory diet” – that is, more sensory inputs that make my autism feel good – and acceptance from those around me. All the advice is there, online, just begging me to take a break.

The problem is that I literally can’t take a break. I can’t defer from my Master’s without sacrificing all of the week-by-week structure it gives me, which is crucial to me actually getting out of bed and eating breakfast sometimes. I can’t take a break from the people around me, because some of them need my support and some of them are the ones making sure I eat, sleep, pee and take my meds. I can’t take a break from worrying about money, because I have rent and tuition fees to pay. I can’t even take a break from blogging, because it’s my outlet, my community and one of the only things that makes me feel useful at the moment.

There are a few things I can do. I’m trying to stim more, which for me involves a lot of knitting, chewing, singing and jiggling. I’m also trying to avoid unnecessary sensory hell, which means I’ve eaten variations on the same dinner for the past seven days and have temporarily given up on underwired bras.

The scariest thing I can do is ask for help – but when I do, I get it in spades. On any given day, multiple people ask me whether I’ve eaten. Strangers and friends on the internet tell me I’m a worthwhile (and cute) person. My Daddy cooks for me, and when they’re not around, my boyfriend offers to order me takeaway despite being in another county. The actual, practical help that I get is incredible, and life-saving, and cannot be overstated – but the encouragement and support I get is invaluable, too. It helps me feel “allowed” to ask for practical help with things, and it helps me feel like I can get through this.

Go and shower the autistic people in your life with love. Love helps.

 

Smut Saturdays #18: Intoxication

Three side-by-side images of Morgan posing sexily with a Jim Beam bottle for this week's Smut Saturdays on intoxication - one in which xe has xir legs spread, with the bottle covering their vulva, one blurry one of the bottle between xir tits, and one in which xe is sucking on the top of the bottle

Content note: This post goes into detail about intoxication, and sex whilst intoxicated. The ethical implications of pairing intoxication with sex are for another blog post – this one is just supposed to be fantasy-driven smut, but if intoxication squicks you out for any reason, please do give this one a miss 💙


We’re sitting on your sofa. Sort of melting into it, because we’re drinking, but still keeping a careful distance between our respective thighs. No part of us is touching, and the tension is absolutely crushing.

None of what we’re talking about is boring, but my mind keeps wandering. I find myself staring at your neck, your lips, your hands. I don’t know whether or not you notice.

I finish my drink. As with the last two that I finished, you swipe my empty cup off the coffee table almost as soon as it lands. “Another?” you ask, and it finally dawns on me: you’re trying to get me drunk.

I decide in that moment that I’m going to let you, and I say, “Yes, please,” with the most innocent smile I can manage, my mind full of your neck, your lips, your hands…

When you return from the kitchen with a vodka lemonade that’s even stronger than the last one you mixed me, I take it gratefully and resume the entirely vanilla conversation we’d been having. I already feel hazy – antidepressants have made a lightweight of me – but I don’t yet feel brave enough to close the gap between us, so we talk. And I stare. And my mind wanders.

I keep sipping at my eye-wateringly strong drink until it doesn’t taste quite as strong any more. I can feel the heat of tipsiness creeping into my face and I hope you don’t think I’m blushing. I don’t blush. I’m not flustered. I haven’t been closely monitoring the distance between us, watching you fidget yourself closer to me, longing for the moment our knees will touch. Honest.

I fuck up a sentence. I think it’s that I’ve said “par cark” in place of “car park”, like I used to when I was little. I laugh, and I admit, “I’m really tipsy,” and to illustrate my point, I very boldly lean my head on your shoulder, for a moment, while I’m overtaken by a fit of giggles.

“I know,” you say warmly. “You’re also really cute.”

I pull my head up and look you in the eye. Sober Me would find some way to brush the compliment off, or else change the subject. But Drunk Me blurts out, “And hot?”

You nod. “And hot.” You sip your own drink – beer, which is almost definitely not as strong as the vodka lemonade I’m nursing. “Very hot.”

I bite my lip. “So are you, though.” I’m fighting the urge to make sexy eye contact with you while I suck on my straw – but you’ve been stealing glances at my mouth every time I put anything inside it, and that’s been often, since I can’t go ten minutes without chewing on the pen I’ve been fiddling with.

The conversation moves away from how hot you are, but my mind doesn’t. Your neck. Your lips. Your hands, and the things they could do to me.

You say something that requires a response, but the vodka in me has elongated my processing time, and I’m extremely distracted. So instead of answering your question, I just say, “I really want to kiss you right now.”

I once had a creative writing teacher tell me that people don’t smirk in real life nearly as often as they do in fanfiction, and he was right – but the only word for the look on your face right now is ‘smirk’. A suppressed, slightly condescending curve of the lips, as you watch me grow more embarrassed by the second.

“Is that really a good idea?” you ask, an edge of teasing to your voice.

I frown. “Why wouldn’t it be?”

“You’re drunk.” 

“You got me drunk!” I can’t keep childish indignation out of my voice. “You got me drunk on purpose.”

You feign innocence even less convincingly than I do – or maybe you’re being sarcastic. I get more autistic when I’m tipsy, and I can’t compute subtext, and you know that. “Now, why would I do a thing like that?” 

“Because,” I say, leaning closer to you, “you want me to do a thing like this.”

I press my mouth against yours, clumsily, and I’m about to pull away and apologise for overstepping when you start kissing me back. Enthusiastically. With tongue, and then with your hand on the back of my neck, and then with your teeth digging sharply into my bottom lip, making me squeak in faux-protest. 

You pull away first, and you scrutinise my face – probably trying to assess how drunk I am, and whether it’s too drunk to meaningfully consent. But you know how much I like tipsy sex, because you read my blog, and you know how much I like you, because I’ve told you directly. After some excruciatingly long moments of thought, you say, “Maybe that was the plan, yeah.”

And then you kiss me again.

It all blurs together – kissing, tongue, teeth, you pulling my hair, your hands on my waist, my thighs, my tits, getting rougher and rougher as we go. I have my own hand on your thigh, timidly creeping closer to your crotch, and eventually my clumsy hands find the bulge in your jeans. I paw at it uselessly, too busy snogging you to try and unbutton them.

You laugh and pull back from the kiss, one hand still firmly holding my left boob. “Do you need some help?” you tease, moving your free hand towards your buttons.

I nod, my brain hopelessly fried by vodka and lust. “Please,” I say, my voice embarrassingly breathy. 

I watch as you undo your buttons, seemingly in slow motion. There are four of the bastards, but with each one undone I see more of your underwear, and your hardened cock underneath. Its silhouette looks unbearably tempting, and the mystery is killing me, but you don’t reach for the waistband of your boxers. Instead, you pull me back into another kiss.

My hand drifts back to your crotch and starts caressing your dick through the fabric, eliciting sighs from you that make me even more incoherent. I’m not confident I could string a sentence together, especially when I feel your cock twitch under my fingers at the same moment as you dig your fingernails into the soft flesh of my hip. I take hold of your boxer-clad erection, squeezing gently, and you growl against my mouth. 

At this point, my cunt is aching with arousal. I can feel a damp patch forming in my own underwear. I pull away and, still struggling to form entire thoughts, I yank my T shirt off, messing up my hair in the process, in the hopes that this signals to you, I would like to move on from snogging now, please. 

But there’s more snogging, because you want to draw this out, and you’re amused and turned on by how much I’m suffering at this slow pace. I even writhe a little when you start pinching and twisting my nipples, trying to grind my still-fully-dressed cunt against your sofa. 

“Is there something you want?” you murmur into my ear, still playing with my nipples. I whimper. “Tell me what you want.”

I point vaguely to my crotch. “I’m… you… please…”

“That’s not a sentence.” Still, you reach for the leggings I’m wearing. “We’ll have to get these off you, won’t we?”

“I can do it myself,” I say petulantly, standing up on wobbly feet to yank my leggings down to my ankles. My thong comes down too, mostly accidentally, but you don’t look displeased to see me and my cunt entirely naked. You pull me back down onto the sofa by just grabbing one of my wrists and tugging gently, your mouth still quirked in that smirky, smug look, like you’re amused by how pliable I’m being.

Your hand creeps up my inner thigh until you make contact with my mons pubis. I bite my lip and refuse to look at you. I’m watching your hand, broad and strong, as it cups my cunt. You slide your fingers up and down the soaking wet slit between my labia, then start teasing my clit with one slick fingertip.

“Is that what you want?” you coo, as if you didn’t already know. “Do you want me to play with your cunt?”

I nod, still not looking at you. “Mm-hmm,” I manage, as you circle my clit a little harder and a little faster.

You use your free hand to take hold of my chin and gently guide it upwards, so I have little choice but to look you in the eye. “Do you want me to fuck you with my fingers?” you whisper, and as soon as I nod, you push your middle finger into me, slowly, until I sigh with relief and want. “Is that the spot?”

I nod again, and you start rocking your whole hand, massaging my A-spot with relentless precision. I whine and mewl and groan and gasp, and when you pause for a moment to slide off the sofa and onto your knees, I whimper dramatically.

“I just want to taste you,” you reassure me, as you return to finger-fucking me. Your mouth meets my clit, and I put a hand on my lower abdomen, pulling upwards to try and encourage it out of the clitoral hood. “You taste just as delicious as you look, you know.”

You slide in another finger, and you fuck me harder and faster, until my legs are shaking, your mouth always on or around my clit, all the sensations melting together in harmony. I feel like this could go on forever and I would be perfectly happy about it.

Until you pull back and say, “Am I going to get to feel your perfect little cunt twitch as you come on my fingers?”

You pair these words with continued hard, precise finger-fucking, and I can’t help but come in response, my whimpers building into wails as I grind my hips desperately against your hand. My legs shake as the orgasm peaks, and you keep fucking me until I’ve stopped humping your hand. The burn-tingle-pulse of pleasure radiates through me, and I can feel my own heartbeat in my clit.

Once I’ve collected myself a bit – only a little bit – you look down at your hand, soaked in my cum, and frown thoughtfully. “Now, I could get you to suck this off my fingers,” you tell me, “but, equally, I could use it to lube up my dick.”

“I vote option two,” I say, my eyes darting back to your open jeans and bulging underwear. I can’t be sure, but it looks like the fabric is darkening with the wetness of precum. It’s unbearably sexy.

You stand up, looming over me as I slouch, naked, on the sofa, and you pull your cock out with your non-soaked hand. I have to bite my lip hard to keep myself from moaning out loud with want – or from saying something filthy about where I’d like you to put it. “So fucking hard,” you murmur, more to yourself than to me, and I sigh. 

I watch you stroke the length of your shaft with the fingers that are coated in my cum, entranced. I keep glancing between your impossibly hard cock and your mildly strained face, and I find myself starting to stroke my own clit, which is still hard and wet and tingling a little.

“Where do you want this?” you ask, still toying with your cock. “Mouth? Cunt? Cleavage?”

The booze and the snogging have already made words difficult, but being in a post-orgasm haze and watching you mix my cum and your precum into a thick, shiny coating has left me literally speechless. Instead of speaking, I just mimic what you did a few moments ago, sliding off the sofa and onto my knees. In answer to your question, I just open my mouth, wide, and let my tongue hang out a little.

You grin down at me and stroke my hair with your dry hand. “You look so pretty down there.” Your cock is only centimeters away from my mouth, but you keep it there, out of my reach. “Do you want my cock in your mouth?” I nod. “Do you want me to fuck your throat?” I nod again, distinctly aware that I’m being teased. “Do you want to gag on it, you slut?” 

“Please,” I breathe, staring at the swollen head of it as your hand slips up and down.

The hand you’re using to stroke my hair turns into a fist, twisting my hair between your fingers and tugging on my scalp, as you pull my head forwards to meet your cock. You only let me have the head, at first, rubbing your frenulum against my tongue, but then you slowly give me more, and more, until you’re sliding the whole length in and out of my mouth, listening to me gag each time it hits the back of my throat. You pull my head in so close that I have to try and swallow the very end of your cock down, and I find that if I try really hard, I can flick my tongue against your balls at the same time. 

I also find that you like that – you groan, your grip on my head tightening, and you only let me come up for a breather when I can’t hold back urgent-sounding choking noises any longer. At that point, you tease me again, just rubbing the head of your dick on my tongue, until I’ve taken some deep breaths and seem ready for you to suffocate me with your cock again. Tears and eyeliner start leaking from the corners of my eyes each time we do this, and they end up rolling all the way down my cheeks.

“Do you want my cum in your mouth?” you growl during one of the short pauses we take between the cock-swallowing. I nod, and you yank my head a little further down. “Then lick my balls for me, bitch.”

I do as I’m told, making broad strokes with my tongue and managing to smear my own spit all over my cheeks, whilst you stroke your cock with ever-increasing fury. It’s not long before you guide my head backwards, place the head of your cock on my outstretched tongue, and shoot thick ribbons of cum into my mouth. I wait until you’re completely done to swallow, making sure you have a chance to admire my cum-covered tongue first. 

“Fucking hell,” you pant, sinking back onto the sofa. “That was so fucking good.”

I smile, and climb back onto the sofa next to you. “I did my best,” I say, as you scoop me into a cuddle. “I’m glad you liked it.”

You chuckle, and you brush some of my hair away from my eyes. “I think ‘liked’ is an understatement. I might have to get you drunk again soon.”


Every fourth Saturday (unless I need to take a break, which has been the case for the past couple of months, or unless I need to cheekily leave it ’til Sunday instead, which is the case this time…) I’ll be posting smut based loosely on the fantasies or sexy experiences I have, for your wanking enjoyment. Take a look at my last ‘Smut Saturdays‘ post by clicking the link, and maybe check out my Patreon too ($10 Patrons get access to my smut 24 hours before anyone else, so you can get a head start on enjoying it!)
Oh, and in case you wanted a clearer view of the header image for this month’s smut, here it is:

Three side-by-side images of Morgan posing sexily with a Jim Beam bottle for this week's Smut Saturdays on intoxication - one in which xe has xir legs spread, with the bottle covering their vulva, one blurry one of the bottle between xir tits, and one in which xe is sucking on the top of the bottle

Cum Tribute Musings (For #KinkOfTheWeek)

A cartoon white splash, because I'm lazy and use stock photos but didn't get any results when I searched for "cum tribute"

I’ve never received a cum tribute.

Not because I wouldn’t like a cum tribute, but just because it hasn’t ever been at the forefront of my mind long enough to request one from somebody, and nobody has ever sent me one spontaneously, possibly for fear of being creepy. And, um, maybe it would be creepy… except it would be the exact kind of creepy I would find really fucking hot.

Let me clarify: strangers sliding into my DMs with unsolicited cum tributes would be the not-hot kind of creepy – the kind that gets you blocked instantly. But somebody I already knew, with whom I already had some kind of sexy connection, going out of their way to notify me that they’d wanked over my pictures? Oof. And providing visual evidence of just how much, how hard and where they came? Double oof.

There are two ways I think a cum tribute could be the hot kind of creepy. The first is the dominant way, the way that says, “I’ll use your photos however I like, and I’ll use your body however I like, too.” A spontaneous cum tribute sent by a dominant party to a submissive party can be read as a sort of sexy threat, an indication that the other party wants you so badly they’ll come all over a photo of you (even if that involves actually printing something, like people used to do in the olden days), with the implication that they probably won’t stop there. It’s the kind of gesture that says, “I am obsessing over every millimetre of your face and body,” and also, “Next time I see you, I’m going to pin you to any available surface and fuck you until you’re begging for my cum, then manhandle you onto your knees and milk my twitching cock onto your tongue.” It’s the somewhat entitled kind of creepy that fills me with CNC fantasies and tingly, erotic nervousness.

The other way in which a cum tribute could be the hot kind of creepy is, as you might have guessed, the submissive way. If I were to order someone to provide me with a cum tribute, it wouldn’t be creepy, it would just be very hot and possibly a little bit consensually humiliating for person doing the ejaculating. But if someone were, again, obsessing over me – but this time in an adoring, devoted-to-me sort of way – so much that they couldn’t help but wank about it, and then they also couldn’t help but send me a photo to demonstrate how desperate they were for me, my touch, my mouth… that would be deliciously creepy. It taps into exactly the same part of my psyche as my stalker kink does: I want to be lusted after to such a maddening extent that someone will do weird shit that flirts with, but doesn’t cross, my boundaries. I imagine this cum tribute would be offered timidly, apologetically, captioned something like, “I know this is really weird, but I just wanted to show you how hot I think you are,” and I also imagine there would be the greatest volume of cum a person could realistically produce in one sitting scattered across multiple nudes of mine, taken from my blog or my Twitter page. It would be charged with a very similar obsessive, “I want to pin you down and make you mine” energy, but tempered with the devotion and admiration inherent to this brand of submission. As well as being a display of lust, it would be a display of vulnerability and deference.

The cum tribute in the first scenario says, “I’m going to make you take my cum wherever I’d like to put it,” and the one in the second scenario says, “This is all I have to offer you, but I am desperately hoping you’ll decide you want it.”

There are all the other bits of a cum tribute that appeal to me too, of course: I love jizz and I want it in my mouth, like, always, and it would obviously provide me with the mental image of someone doing the coming in order to produce it… But, really, the thing that I find hot about cum tributes is their potential for creepiness. It’s one thing to say, “Oh, I jerked it to those nudes you posted,” and quite another to actually show me the proof. There are extra steps involved – whether or not you print an image, you still have to aim, to make sure the cum is visible, and then you have to take the photo of the results, and then you have to send it. It’s those extra steps that push it from sexy and flattering to sexy, flattering and the hot kind of creepy, and it’s the hot kind of creepy that motivated me to pick up this week’s Kink of the Week prompt.

(Speaking of which – thank you to Molly for running Kink of the Week, and thank you to Mx Nillin for inspiring this prompt! Make sure to check out the other Kink of the Week contributions, this time and every time – they’re always excellent.

Also, I totally wanted to name this post ‘This Is Not The Greatest Cum In The World, This Is Just A Tribute’, but I didn’t, for SEO reasons. Please applaud my sensible decision-making and strong resolve.)

The Kink of the Week badge, which is a red lipstick print with the words "Kink of the Week" on it


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