Monday, October 7, 2013

Asperger's and Fatigue

I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.

After a lovely day of exercising and video games, my dad took me back to school in his old green pickup truck. Shortly after arriving, I unpacked everything and cooked my dinner, and then I sat down to watch a movie. Despite my determination to stay alert, I fell asleep right where I was…
And that brings up another not-so-fun fact about aspies: we get tired.

Well, everyone on the planet gets tired; it’s a fact of life. However, aspies seem to fatigue much quicker than the average person—at least from my personal experience, since I have aspie friends with similar problems. For the longest time, I assumed it’s because we simply have less energy, but I’ve changed my theory on that after reading a blog post from another aspie on the issue.

As the blogger states what the lecturer said, I realize that it made an awful lot of sense: “…people with Asperger Syndrome experience a great deal of fatigue, because they are always conciously processing things with their intellect, as their brain doesn’t do it automatically.”

So it’s not that we have less energy than other people, we just use more of it quickly. The things that come naturally for others that they may take for granted require more mental effort for aspies. If we were all robots, the typical person would be set to “auto” while aspies are set to “manual."


Also, sensory stimuli—things going on around us—can contribute to the depletion of our “energy meters." The blogger lists of some of the things that affect him personality, and all of these bother me as well:
  • Fluorescent lighting
  • Noise
  • Too much  going on around me
  • Interaction with others, particularly those I don't know well
  • Travelling
  • Change—different, new situations

Another interesting thing he said that I can relate to: “I thought that if others could do it, so should I be able to. And it did seem to me that my tiredness was not normal, compared with other people.”

He mentions later that he often felt guilty for not getting everything done that he initially planned to do, as if he was simply too lazy. I've felt like this countless times, as I’d look at my to-do list at the end of the day and be frustrated that I couldn't finish it because I got tired. Just like the other blogger, I eventually had to learn to accept the fact that I need more rest (or “vegetable days” as I call them) than other people. I could easily relate to this blogger’s post, and it reminded me that I’m not alone in this.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, thanks.
    Hi from Sweden!
    I just started reading your blog. You really have opened my eyes. My whole life I have lived in shame and blamed myself. I get very tired! Just taking a shower drains me. I have to think about everything I do, I'm in manual mode! That is such a good way of describing it. Never did I have a clue that others didn't work like that.