Anxiety, overwhelm, meltdown, shutdown, burnout – tips and tools

It is very common for autistics to have baseline, constant anxiety. This is natural for us, and can be due to:

  • sensory difficulties (e.g. becoming overwhelmed by sounds, visual stimuli, touch, and smell – including internal differences, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome; intolerances and sensitivities to certain foods)
  • differences in interacting with other human beings (animals may be much more calming for us!), and the difficulty in interacting the way that is expected of neuro-typicals (the normies – bleurgh!).

Often we mask our differences and difficulties, which creates and maintains anxiety, and by trying to appear neuro-typical (e.g. people-ing; doing too much; working too hard) we meltdown and experience burnout – and the cycle continues:


Find below some resources we hope may help you with your feelings of anxiousness, some which we have used. And remember: our anxiety may always be with us because it is based on real things we cannot change, such as sensory processing differences, so try to work out what is your normal level and be kind to yourself if this never goes away completely.

  • HeadspaceIs an App. to help meditate a noisy mind arrow
  • Brain in Hand – “If you experience anxiety, finding the right solution quickly can be the difference between keeping your day on track and having a meltdown. If you have autism [are autistic], a mental health condition, learning difficulty or brain injury and only receive a few hours of support each week or none at all, Brain in Hand can help.” arrow
  • GIFs to help you during anxiety/overwhelm/meltdown – you should be able to right click these and save them to your phone/desktop to use arrow

Stress Less During Finals Week | Hayle Olson |

Just Breathe

  • ASMR
    An acronym for “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.”
    The sole purpose of ASMR is to relax people. The ASMR community is constantly growing on Youtube. Ideally, ASMR videos are meant to give the viewer a relaxing tingle at the back of their head and/or spine. ASMR videos usually involve one or more of the following things:• Gentle whispering
    • Relaxing hand movements
    • Smacking of the lips
    • Nail tapping/scratching on hard surfaces such as tables
    • Brushing sounds
    • Etc.
  • NOTE: it is important to find the right whisperer – it may also be that you prefer male voices to women’s, or vice versa. arrow

Brilliant Ted talk on the importance of not giving a fuck! How to not give your energy to things that you have no interest in.


The importance and protection of meltdowns and listening to them: arrow

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