Mental exhaustion: I haz it

posted by Jeff | Sunday, October 26, 2014, 8:17 PM | comments: 0

My brain is like goo right now. I have to admit, I've only felt that a few times in my life. It's a little like physical exhaustion, in that it slows you down, but more than anything I find it makes you seek out experiences that require no intelligence. Wow, that sounds a lot like being a 13-year-old boy.

Part of it is my job, and I'm not complaining. It challenges me, and staying plugged-in at a high level most of the time leads to pretty satisfying results. Given my long history of struggling with job satisfaction, that's a good thing. Surprisingly, a lot of that plugged-in-ness comes from constant evaluation over whether or not I'm distributing my time effectively. My job combines a lot of things that I've had to do independent of each other in various gigs, but now I have them all. That's awesome, but it requires practice. Plus, you know, making software requires a lot of mental gymnastics regardless of role.

We're in the home stretch right now for the project, and the client is super happy, so we just need to deliver. Being the "new guy" of sorts, after almost five months and on my first project, obviously I don't wanna screw that up. It has been hard to switch off at the end of each day.

Outside of work, there are challenges at home with Simon. Some of them are familiar, and some are new. In every case, I spend a lot of time trying to separate my desire to respond emotionally from a more clinical and analytical response. Nothing is harder than not responding emotionally to the actions of this little human that you made, because you care so much. As he gets older, ASD manifests itself in different ways, and his extreme responses to things he can't process are harder to contain. Sometimes the best you can do is let these reactions run their course. It's hard to let him suffer and constantly wonder if he's able to learn from negative experiences. I give a world of credit to the parents who deal with a wider range of challenges, and can't really judge anything they do.

When I say I'm mentally exhausted, it's not that I'm complaining, exactly, but more that I need to acknowledge that I desperately need to unplug. Being that engaged all of the time can take a toll on you, and burn you out, and that makes you less effective in your job and as a parent (your other job).


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