A girl has no masks

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Life as I knew it is over

I am about 3 months away from my 50th birthday and I am  6 months into a severe burnout episode. Like literally the worst burnout I have ever experienced in my life. In truth, I think I crossed the threshold in February of 2022 and used the final reserves of “push through” I had available. By November of 2022, I had nothing left.

2022 was the worst, no joke.

The mounting pressures professionally and personally broke me wide open in early December and I spent most of the next 90 days nonverbal and not leaving my home. My work and relationships fell apart in the most rapid and tower-moment-like way I couldn’t have anticipated. 

In April, I came to my awareness of masking due to #AuDHD. And, I have nothing left in me for masking or participating in my old world. 

My internal battery is at about 2% most days with an occasional burst of 30% before it fails again. I have never….(louder for those in the back)… have never been incapable of “doing” and “going”. Now, brushing my teeth twice a day or figuring out how and what to eat can be a major struggle. 

So, I decided to bring you along on my journey. If you’d like to tag along that is. 

The #neurospicy community on TikTok has been a godsend for me. And so, I’m hoping that by telling my story it will both help me stay accountable to discover my authenticity and to help bring awareness to neurodivergence. 

Filters off, masks down

I couldn’t mask right now if I tried.  I did have an interaction that required masking recently, and since I couldn’t find the energy to do so, I ended up staring awkwardly at the other person like some nightmarish possessed figure. Fun for everyone is that my filters are gone between my thoughts and my mouth – full on firehose of stream of consciousness. Nothing stays inside and it is like my communicator is stuck on “must talk out loud with every thought“. And hey, for funsies let’s create sound effects for literally everything I do. I have been able to retain my “no foul language” filter when around others – good for them I suppose. 

I’m also not used to having one of the 20 ongoing, looping processing threads in my brain spilling out like I’m a five-year-old who needs attention with the one random fact they heard an hour ago. 

So it would be fair to say I’m very uncertain about how this will all unfold. One thing is for certain, I can no longer pursue “accomplishment” and can only focus on my “experience”. Debugging that particular program will be a lot of fun. 

It is all about me now

Leaving behind the last twenty plus years of my professional work seems like a cruel joke but on the other hand it is time. Time to care for myself. Time to translate my highly skilled experience into a new pathway forward. One that I enjoy and can be recharged by and make an impact.

For the next bit of time, I will be focusing only on quantum hypnotherapy sessions and a light schedule of coaching. It will allow for me to pair helping others while also creating restful space for my recovery out of burnout. I’m also excited by this because quantum hypnosis has been my absolute favorite to do for the last three years – I just didn’t tell you I was doing it! 

Feel free to leave comments about your experience if anything resonates with you about ADHD, Autism, late diagnosis or unmasking from conditioning. Frankly, there is a lot of overlap. 

Responses

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  1. This is bold, brave, brilliant and beautiful. It makes me wonder how many others are holding the dam back from bursting?

    I’m looking forward to seeing Jen Kelchner unmasked, which sounds like an ace book title!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing, Jen. I appreciate you being open about your experiences, and I wish you peace in your journey. I’m just finishing Autism Unmasked by Devon Price, and I’m finding it super helpful. It covers a lot of ground and it really speaks to late diagnosed folks.

    1. Aw, thank you, Sam! I keep hearing about this book as being “THE” book to read. I’m currently delving through Women with Attention Deficit Disorder by Sari Solden which is also mindblowing. Thank you for your support!