(the other aspect of this is, people tend to like you a lot more if you can feed them delicious food from cheap ingredients... not only can I do that, but I'm starting to be able to do it with ingredients I grew myself, while not functioning at anywhere near my non-burnout baseline.
as somebody who's been financially non self-sufficient for a while, this is very much part of a diversified survival strategy.
anyway it's coming along great so I'm happy about that!)
I feel like posting something positive too:
my strategy of learning skills which I can do in a state of burnout is going well! I learned a lot in the garden and the kitchen this year, and I continue to push the horizon in both.
as I get more confident in my burnout-resistant skills, it becomes easier to choose to do them when I'm very tired, which is when they become an anchor for greater stability amid all the noise. plus it's good to be able to contribute in otherwise difficult environments.
it's funny that I come on here and post about this stuff on stressful days. I zone into the process of squeezing a few posts into 500 characters trying to explain some aspect of my situation as much to myself as to any audience. and it helps me re-regulate a bit when I'm upset due to the stress of proximity when I require solitude.
the past few years have given me a big appreciation for how many people must be out there dealing with some version of this. I hope my rambling helps in a small way.
burnout knocked me out of employment and into homelessness, and I ran face-first into multiple problems which I understood almost nothing about. one result: I'm still not self-sufficent.
what deadlocked me in 2017 is what deadlocks me now. but I've gained insight.
I was largely correct early on, btw. I knew that I somehow I can't separate my attention from nearby activity. and I asked for help which I still need today. not understanding the flow of a household is completely paralyzing to me.
I can fake being able to live with fundamentally chaotic people for a while, but the energy required to simply exist and not be in a constant state of upset is 10x what it takes without them around. Chaotic people are a walking denial-of-service attack on my mind and it doesn't matter how well I like them or how well we get on personally.
This isn't going to change until I can change my response, probably with CBT because I haven't managed on my own.
At least I understand this going forward.
I can tolerate so much more social interaction / Accomplishing Tasks if I'm working a system.
outside of crisis situations, having no system, or at bare minimum no strong daily/weekly rhythm to make my blocks of time predictable, is 100% not a viable scenario for me.
in everyday life, I need structure, but it's very difficult for me to generate my own. and when others are nearby but not cooperating on the daily cycle? forget it
I'm not really trying to complain about it so much at this point, as I am to simply articulate the complete idea in words.
I didn't have the full understanding until recently so it's worthwhile to me.
Now I have a better understanding of the constraints on situations which determine whether or not I can function, let alone succeed.
Maybe with some CBT I can improve my ability to cope with the deadlock effect but even if not, I understand it better now and can plan accordingly.
I'm coming to understand that I'm (currently) not able to live with many adults in the USA.
Their activity patterns deadlock my mind. Like a skittish cat I can't divert my attention from their activity when they are near and eventually they wear me down to severe burnout.
😬 people who never shut up
😱 people who are too chaotic
💀 active people with neurotypical activity pattern (relentless rather than bursty)
There's a loophole if we cooperate on a daily life cycle. But most can't or won't.
On Thursday, after the success morning bootstrapping all week with my roommate's kid, they both got sick. She recovered in a day, roommate got a bad cold and couldn't visit his gf to give me weekend recharge time as he's done for weeks now.
So, I'll probably need to skip lunch with the kiddo next week and only do breakfast. She is VERY talkative and I'm hitting a wall in terms of social loading due to not having unmasked time this weekend.
I have to actively manage my social/sensory reserve.
(it's also a bit counter-intuitive, since once I'm at or near burnout, my urge is to isolate & rest. but I'm used to this phenomenon because that also means I don't go exercise when doing so really helps me tolerate overload. so now I'm primed to watch out for when following my impulses leads to making things worse or at least not any better.)
I seem to be finding that if I "run the engine" with some social interaction in the morning, as long as I have at least some energy reserve, I'm more able to tolerate it for the rest of the day even when I'm fairly tired. But if I start the day without it, I tend to keep to myself much more even when it's not good for me or others.
I kind of suspected this for several years, but didn't have a chance to test it until now because nobody would ever engage in a cooperative morning routine with me.
this summer was SO difficult due to moving somewhere with no structure or social rhythm. but if this works, I'll have managed to get enough rest & downtime to be available to build the structure I need with somebody who also needs it.
overall the trend of slowly increasing my activity level, slowwwly after nearly a decade of burnout (!!!), continues. I was a bit terrified earlier this year, but progress is non-linear.
I'm doing more paid work lately, too. not much.. but a bit more every month.
well, we weren't tracking but I'd say we walked about 4 km, and made the kid late to her lesson after, overall a great success for day 1 😄
there's definitely a cost for me: namely, she's VERY TALKATIVE, thus this will burn off a good share of my daily budget for absorbing words each morning.
on balance I think it's good. "running the engine" to keep up with her chatter early in the day will clear away some of the sluggishness that would otherwise stay with me all day.
Day 1 of building structure with a 12yo as co-equal partner: my phone died overnight so I had no wakeup alarm, and she spontaneously checked on me 30 minutes before go time.
This could actually end up working out really well.
adding to what I just wrote about bootstrapping structure & productivity with a kid:
it's clear that my only strategy for coping with my persistent problems with executive dysfunction is to find other human beings who can provide the social pixie dust which renders some of those problems moot.
this is very limiting. and I need to work on it, and I am seeking a therapist again if only to do CBT for certain manifestations.
anyway, it's good I understand this and can articulate it now.
the idea of building daily structure *with* a 12 year old, with her as an integral load-bearing participant in the outcome, might sound weird to people who don't live with executive dysfunction.
after years of self-observation, I know that I'm not personally capable of doing it any other way. interactive co-participants are like magic pixie dust for boosting my ability to start or continue all *sorts* of things.
in this case the child is a persistent and motivated type. so it just might work.
if this works and we keep at it, it could be really good for me, the kid, and the household.
I've been burning off 90% of my potential on executive dysfunction deadlock. morning exercise helps but I'm not able to persist without a social component.
she and I both get far more done if our days have a degree of rhythm. and we have been enjoying each other's company lately so it might even be fun.
if we can meet our own structure needs which my roommate can't help with, everyone will be happier.
I meant to post last week on how the lack of structure where I am now is *so* difficult. my roommate is maximally unstructured in ways I can't cope with easily.
he and his daughter have been fighting over homeschool and I've suspected she also needs more structure on school days. I mentioned it last night and his response made clear he has no idea what this would look like or why anyone might want it.
so today, I proposed to the 12yo that we walk the dogs and have brunch every day she's here.