What a “meltdown” feels like

Disclaimer-this is a personal account of how I feel and behave when everything has become too much for me (which happens a lot less frequently now than it used to). Other people on the spectrum behave in different ways so I can’t speak for everyone. This content may upset some people but this blog is an honest portrayal of my life including the not so pleasant aspects.

Things start getting too much for me-it feels like my head is about to explode and my whole body tenses up.

I begin to get distressed-I just want whatever is bothering me to go away but it won’t.

I begin to subconsciously bite and pick at my skin. Logically, after the event, I know that this doesn’t help matters at all but, while it’s happening, I’m unable to stop.

I start screaming and sometimes throwing objects like a little child-the frustration is overwhelming.

Afterwards, I am exhausted and need to sleep for a few hours.

I wake up feeling embarrassed and ashamed-why do I have to do these awful things?

Then I am calm again until the next time something gets to me to such an extent.

People on the autistic spectrum do not choose to have what are termed “meltdowns”. They are a response to feeling overwhelmed, whether by social situations or sensory stimuli. They are different to temper tantrums-temper tantrums are used as a tool of manipulation-“meltdowns” are out of our control. The thoughts and feelings we are experiencing at these times are overwhelming and terrifying. I am extremely lucky in that mine are far less frequent than they used to be. Please spare a thought for someone with autism who is experiencing a “meltdown”-shouting at them will only make things worse. Support them through it and then work together to find out what triggered the event. For those who have the language to explain, this is relatively straight forward. It can be a lot more difficult with those on the spectrum who have no spoken language but, through a process of trial and error, triggers can be identified and, depending on what they are, eliminated or greatly reduced.

That’s it for today-I apologise if my writing is a bit poorer than normal-I worked a night shift last night and am still a little sleepy! Next Friday, I shall be back on form!



One Response to What a “meltdown” feels like

  1. Pingback: Weekends, Meltdowns and Social Stories | Alyrica and the Homeschool Kids

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