Autistic Inertia Part 4

What does autistic inertia FEEL like?

Find more info on autistic inertia here:

Part 1 here:

Full paper here:

(Did you know that we are not-for-profit? So when you donate, all of your donation goes straight back into the work we do for the Nottinghamshire autistic community! You can donate here:!/DonationDetails)


Nothing about us without us
Who: Buckle and colleagues
Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
Published: 2021
Title: “No Way Out Except From External Intervention”: First-Hand Accounts of Autistic Inertia

Autistic Inertia

What does it feel like?

Maintenance of one state

Inertia is the tendency to remain in the same state – it’s when you really want to do something, and you can’t seem to make your body start.

“I can’t get to the point where I’ll go to do the thing because it’s almost like I got to stop whatever I’m doing, whether I’m doing anything or not. Even stopping not doing anything is stopping doing something.”


Inertia isn’t just a difficulty with starting tasks, but also with also stopping and switching tasks.

“I spend the whole day not quite deciding whether to have the shower first or do something else first or do a load of laundry, and then maybe go out after doing the laundry or go and get it over with.”

Interruptions made them cease a task, regardless of whether they wanted to or not

lack of voluntary control

Inertia isn’t voluntary, and the individual isn’t able to make it stop on their own

“I also can’t overcome my inertia. I have to wait for it to go away.”


Autistic adults described their inertia as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘illogical’, because they knew they were capable of doing the tasks, but couldn’t seem to begin

“My head is saying all the right things, like you’ll feel better if you do X, or if you get up now, you’ll be able to do that thing you’re excited to do, but it’s like the rest of me is a stubborn child…”

difficulty finding the first step

Some people found that difficulties with planning contributed to inertia

“It’s having a tornado of things going through your head, trying to work out how to focus on one thing and work out how to pick one thing.”


disconnection between intentions and actions

Autistic adults described:
– being physically unable to move
– experiencing an altered awareness, feeling disconnected from their physical body
– feelings of passivity

“It seems ridiculous sometimes. You just can’t do certain things that seem so simple”

“It’s like I’m frozen in time… at worst it can hurt because it feels like I want to move but can’t”

” I really want to go to bed. I’m really tired. But it’s just not happening, but it doesn’t worry me, the way that sometimes things really worry me.”

“Sometimes, a drink is actually… maybe not in arm’s reach, but in like standing up a little bit and reaching, reach. I can’t understand why I won’t get it. And afterward, I think… how was that about? Why did you give yourself a headache and do that for 45 min or something until you’re almost on the verge of wetting your bed?”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: