Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Regression in adult autism.

Hey readers,

Now that I am an adult with autism I have learnt so much more about me and how autism affects me. One of the things that I have noticed is that at times during my life I have regressed in my behaviour. 

Now, when I am talking about regression and autism this is not when a child is 19 months but actually regression that can occur anytime or age of the individual. 

I myself feel that I have regressed several periods during my life. The same can be said about when I progress. I believe that with autism as a disorder on a spectrum it is fluid and constantly shifting with the times. 

Hence why it is hard to fill out forms when asked for what my life is like with autism on a day to day basis. Let's face if you know someone with autism it changes depending on what is happening in that person's life.

An example of my regression going through changes whilst at university from year one to year two caused me great distress. I had less support, less communication with lecturers and that caused great change and uncertainty.

 I struggled with interpreting instructions especially when they were assignments when I had to be creative and think outside the box. One assignment involved in coming up with an adult that hasn't been thought of before. 

Now, this is hard because this was a mandatory module whereby I had to do the subject even though I wasn't that interested in it.

If you don't know already I am a black and white thinker. When I do something that motivates me I get full-on obsessive or in contrast, demotivated and not bothered at all. 

The changes and dealing with university life causes me at the end of the year to result in me wanting to kill myself basically. I fell into clinical depression, my partner had to supervise me because I could not do anything by myself as I was that depressed.

Other times I have smaller regressions, if I do not go into town for a while I literally get sensory overload, All the scripts I have performed and rehearsed I forget. All the social rules have got muddled up and I really struggle. 

Dare I say it I feel more autistic on these days. It is like I have to keep on top and be aware most of the time or I fall backwards. It is exhausting and at times I have just stayed at home for days and not gone out, feeding more on my regression.

Other times I can move forward and progress if I keep working at it. The one blocker that stops me is burnout when I am so exhausted from trying and working at it for long periods of time that I simply need to stop and shut down. My brain has had enough of all this information, it wants a breather and time to just be.

I have only recently learnt that one of the reasons I get so exhausted if I am in a social environment is because I am on hyperfocus, my brain is on alert all the time, anxiety high and I am just not relaxed. Naturally, my body is just going to say stop and have a break to relax.

So, as you can see regression can be short or long term but autism is constantly shifting between progress and regress.

Cheers for reading X


  1. Thank you for taking the time to write this article. I regressed after graduating from university. While I can hold a job, it's a daily battle. You helped remind me that the most important thing is that I strive for improvement every day. I don't know how I'm still alive, but I will keep going.

  2. I am sorry to hear your struggle and can totally relate. Just remember we constantly shift which can be viewed negative or positive. I hope you move forward soon X