Joined: 9 Apr 2008
I do head whacking, but I also will punch my knees/thighs hard, or slam my fists down on them, or on hard objects, or punch walls or chairs or even punch hard corners, which has given me some very sore hands with raw skin. I try to avoid situations that will get me to that level of meltdown though.
Joined: 16 May 2012
The only way (that I know of) is not to let yourself get so heavily loaded in the first place and therefore not to start super upset mode. Stop before you are really close to entering that state as the reason why you enter it is because what is going on is cauing too much of a toll on you.
If you feel as if you cannot avoid entering that state of being under too much pressure to be able control yourself any further, there's something going wrong. Sure, you are free to attempt trying to learn to control yourself when you are pushed well beyond your limits (I'm an avid fan of this and it's proving difficult to unlearn this ridiculous conviction) but that's doomed to fail in most cases.
Really, if you figure out a way to recover by will from suffering from something that, with time and "enduring the many smaller things" this build up to this, has gotten massively huge and way more powerful than you, tell me, you'll be like some super-human creature thingy and we might try to copy your awesome super human ways, kay? Okay, seriously, I'm trying to find the most serious and to-the-point way of saying: it isn't possible. It's human (note: other animals are the same) to break down under pressure too heavy to endure.
The loss of control is your body's (including your mind's, of course) way of telling you: okay, you exerted so much control or were forced to exert so much control to cope with what's impossible to cope with for too long, now we ran out of it so no more composure, control and peace for the moment. Like a car running out of fuel, perhaps, albeit I'm not sure about the accuracy of such a simplified comparison because I don't own a car.
We all come with limits attached to our existence as awesome human people and those limits can only be stretched so far but no further, no matter how insistent we are on controlling ourselves and enduring what we were never (by chance, God or what-/whoever) made up to endure. Think of it, conditions like cardiac arrhythmia, strokes and other such (ironically) nice things can be one of the last signals that point out that the body and mind only have as much energy and one has been overdoing it for too long. So better not to let it get to such extremes and accidentally kill yourself off.
Relocating efforts rather than trying to endure everything and pretending one is without limits is the good and non-killing way to go. Which things you do or feel you have to do (perhaps thanks to someone indicating so) are not worth tearing yourself down mentally, causing yourself pain, maybe making yourself ill or "just" feel much worse? Surely, you already have some idea and from your posts on WP, I am fairly confident that you will figure out the rest little by little over the course of the following days, months and/or years. I just don't know whether you can do something about your findings. I always find that to be the most difficult thing, especially if trying to be "normal" has anything to do with the inhumane amount of pressure that doesn't exactly keep one healthy and relaxed day in, day out. Do you think you can change some of whatever stuff is contributing to super upset mode?
Thanks for contributing. This is something I needed to hear.
Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
I smack my head a lot when I get upset. I actually was doing it today when a couple of imbeciles in my Geography class could not stop laughing and talking during a test (the teacher is very easygoing and doesn't enforce a lot of these rules). Smacking myself is one of the most common ways I use to let out anger.
I also punch myself on the thighs, kick myself, choke myself, or just start slamming on the desk if I'm at home. And if I'm under that much stress, I will start banging my head. Last time I was banging my head was on Wednesday, during a World History AP meeting for summer homework. I was frustrated by how people handled things there and just started banging my head on the convex corner of the wall. I think that's why I was feeling sick later on that day (had a headache).
My nephew Coke needs to eat! Obviously we're related.
Joined: 16 May 2012
Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Location: Great Britain
I don't punish myself for not being "normal", I hit my head because I want the anxiety and all the thoughts to stop. I know hitting doesn't help but I do it anyway. Especially when having a meltdown.
I am always illogically personifying everything, so when I'm in a temper with myself, I illogically personify my brain, thinking that if I smack it angrily and scream how much I hate myself, my brain might think, ''aww, poor girl, she really doesn't like being this way'' and might wire itself more to a neurotypical sort of brain. Realistically this will never work and I'm smart enough to know that brains do not work that way, but it's just the way I think when I'm in a temper with myself and the bad things that happen in my life.
From East UK (Essex)
On antidepressants (50mg Sertraline) ~ Helps control emotional outbursts.
Joined: 29 May 2011
Yes, I have hit my head & banged it on walls. Also hit and punched my legs. I've broken my hand doing this (boxer's fracture).
It's an awful thing. I usually try to punch pillows instead.
I've had a lot less of these episodes since going on medication (Lithium).
My psych encourages finding alternatives - punch pillows, scribble with crayons on a big piece of paper, kick a pillow around (tip - wear shoes), scream into a pillow, buy a kids' cricket / baseball bat and hit the bed with it etc.
But, yes, learning how to prevent such a situation would be great.
Joined: 24 Feb 2007
Bumble, it sounds like there is more going on than just anxiety, depression, and OCD. These conditions often co-occur with autism spectrum disorders. I suspect you will need to get an assessment with an autism specialist in order to sort it out. If you search the WP archives, you will find old threads in which people have explained the steps involved in getting this done through the NHS. (My apologies if I am suggesting something you have already tried.)
In the meantime, try to stick with the CBT until you can get a referral for autism diagnosis and/or until the end of the treatment period (if there is a fixed time period). (This will make it look like you are being a good, co-operative patient.) There is some debate has to how effective CBT is with autistics. Some of our fears are not totally irrational because we really do have problems with interpersonal interactions and others often see us as weird.
Two alternatives to hitting yourself are (1) rocking back and forth, and (2) wearing an elastic band around your wrist, which you snap against your skin whenever you get the urge to hit yourself. If you have not already discussed this problem with your therapist, I recommend you do not bring it up unless you are dealing with an autism specialist. The reason for this is because when GPs or general therapists hear about self-harm, they usually classify the person as "borderline personality disorder". You do not want to get stuck with that label.
In terms of sleep, if you have not already done so, look into "sleep hygiene"; e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_hygiene , http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sleep/ . (Although I have only experienced minor benefits from this stuff.)
Most job centre employees are overworked, underpaid, and generally disgruntled. They have targets to meet in terms of getting people off of welfare and into work. They do not care about you, or what your particular interests or skills are. They just want to get you into a job, any job. In other words, do not expect them to be helpful or understanding.
In terms of your degree, although it may be enjoyable to study something of interest to you, there is always the question of what will you do when you complete the degree? How many jobs are available in that field, how many people are competing for them, and what are those jobs like? (E.g., do they involve a lot of interpersonal interaction? Do they require good organisational skills and/or the ability to multitask?) Many people will tell you that it does not matter what you study. This may be true for articulate people, with good interpersonal skills, but I am sceptical when it comes to people on the autism spectrum. It is true that a lot of office jobs require a university degree, but what people do not tell you is that most of those jobs are boring, drone work. Non-autistics deal with this by gossiping and playing office politics (rather than doing their work and doing it well--I have seen people screw up basic things, like filing). As a result, autistics in these positions are usually seen as weird, and are either overtly or covertly harassed. Eventually they either quit or are fired (usually for some vague reason). Anyway, do try to finish up any classes you are currently enrolled in, but think about these things before you sign up for any more classes.
In terms of romantic relationships, your best bet is to try to find someone who is understanding and accepting. If you are open and upfront about all your issues (e.g. "I'm autistic and I do not shave"), this will probably scare off most men, leaving only those who are sufficiently understanding. Such a person is likely to have their own issues, which you will have to be willing to deal with.
On the more general issue of time management and deciding what to do, keep in mind that there are only 24 hours in each day, and one can not do everything, so you have to cut out some things. This is true for everyone in the world. Many people with autism have problems with their executive cognitive functions. This makes "getting things done" even more difficult. I have cut out a lot of things in my life, but I still struggle, so I know how hard it is. I wish I had good solution.
Joined: 29 Mar 2012
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