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billegge
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23 Nov 2017, 6:49 pm

I wanted to see if I can identify the essence of a meltdown. I would like to ask for those willing to contribute, to post a time when you had a meltdown, and another time when you did not have a meltdown. If you want to add anything else, such as a book reference or link or opinion then use the "Anything else you would like to add" section.

A time I had a Meltdown:

A time when I did not have, or successfully prevented, a Meltdown:

Anything else you would like to add:



StampySquiddyFan
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23 Nov 2017, 10:18 pm

A time I had a meltdown: I had a meltdown on this day that was a day where we basically spent the day doing fun things. Unfortunately, one of the “fun activities” included attending a school wide pep rally. I covered my ears almost the whole time, and the experience was horrible. I went home on the bus, and when I got home my mom reminded me that I had a doctor’s appointment. Normally this would have not been a problem, but alongside the overstimulation from the pep rally I had a meltdown in which I cried and screamed, though not really out of sadness- it was more out of stress.

A time when I did not have, or successfully prevented a meltdown: We had gone to the aquarium with my grandpa whilst on vacation. For some reason, I wasn’t feeling it that day and the aquarium was loud and crowded. All I wanted to do was leave, and I came very close to melting down, but I was able to prevent it by using a fidget spinner! Yep, they really do help sometimes. I was just super stressed, annoyed, and just done that day, and I came so close to a meltdown (which I did end up having a little later, but it was milder and that’s besides the point :D )!

Anything else you would like to add: I hope this helps you! I would also like to add that I don’t have meltdowns that often, and I also experience shutdowns occasionally as well. I have HFA and OCD.


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xatrix26
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23 Nov 2017, 11:09 pm

I usually have meltdowns once or twice a month and it's been that way for a very long time. I'm 42 now and they still happen like clockwork. Most of the time I can simply hang on until I get to a safe place like inside of my home but sometimes the stress gets overwhelming and it actually happens at work or wherever the loss of emotional control occurs.

It usually starts by an absolute loss of emotional control with extreme distress followed by about half an hour to 45 minutes of intense crying which is more like bawling and bawling and bawling. At the same time I'm screaming very loudly and usually begging and pleading to God to help me stop it. This entire process is pretty hard to exaggerate because it's all quite extreme. I'm usually hitting anything that's near including myself and after the crying part is done it's extremely difficult to recover into a rational state.

The entire experience is quite overwhelming.

For the next two days my eyes will be extremely sore and I'll have a piercing migraine headache for which several Tylenol pain killers will be necessary.

Overall my meltdowns are excruciating experiences for which there is no hyperbole. I wouldn't wish those sessions on anyone.

I've never been able to stop a meltdown from happening because like a freight train racing downhill out of control, once it starts it cannot be stopped for me. I've only been able to delay it but sometimes even that fails me. I have being in situations where I've started crying several blocks away from my apartments and I couldn't wait to get home to simply let it all out. I can barely hold them in.

The closer I get to home the faster I lose my emotional control.

I only try to hold it in when I'm in a public place because I'm afraid of being picked up by the police or something like that and they'll throw me in the funny farm.

Ugh... :cry:


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billegge
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24 Nov 2017, 12:06 am

xatrix26 wrote:
I usually have meltdowns once or twice a month and it's been that way for a very long time. I'm 42 now and they still happen like clockwork. Most of the time I can simply hang on until I get to a safe place like inside of my home but sometimes the stress gets overwhelming and it actually happens at work or wherever the loss of emotional control occurs.

It usually starts by an absolute loss of emotional control with extreme distress followed by about half an hour to 45 minutes of intense crying which is more like bawling and bawling and bawling. At the same time I'm screaming very loudly and usually begging and pleading to God to help me stop it. This entire process is pretty hard to exaggerate because it's all quite extreme. I'm usually hitting anything that's near including myself and after the crying part is done it's extremely difficult to recover into a rational state.

The entire experience is quite overwhelming.

For the next two days my eyes will be extremely sore and I'll have a piercing migraine headache for which several Tylenol pain killers will be necessary.

Overall my meltdowns are excruciating experiences for which there is no hyperbole. I wouldn't wish those sessions on anyone.

I've never been able to stop a meltdown from happening because like a freight train racing downhill out of control, once it starts it cannot be stopped for me. I've only been able to delay it but sometimes even that fails me. I have being in situations where I've started crying several blocks away from my apartments and I couldn't wait to get home to simply let it all out. I can barely hold them in.

The closer I get to home the faster I lose my emotional control.

I only try to hold it in when I'm in a public place because I'm afraid of being picked up by the police or something like that and they'll throw me in the funny farm.

Ugh... :cry:


I am wondering if the emotional control just has a spiraling down effect, meaning that you feel stressed by the fact that you don't have emotional control then you feel more stress and it just snowballs. Stress will happen from trying to control the uncontrollable. I wonder what would happen if you allowed yourself to feel the initial loss of control or stress without fighting it, so as to stop the snowball from happening. Maybe try this as a safer alternative, next time you get home and are having a meltdown - don't ask God to make it stop but instead open yourself to it and feel it and explore it without resistance.

Can you give me a specific instance that lead to a meltdown?



xatrix26
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24 Nov 2017, 12:29 am

billegge wrote:
xatrix26 wrote:
I usually have meltdowns once or twice a month and it's been that way for a very long time. I'm 42 now and they still happen like clockwork. Most of the time I can simply hang on until I get to a safe place like inside of my home but sometimes the stress gets overwhelming and it actually happens at work or wherever the loss of emotional control occurs.

It usually starts by an absolute loss of emotional control with extreme distress followed by about half an hour to 45 minutes of intense crying which is more like bawling and bawling and bawling. At the same time I'm screaming very loudly and usually begging and pleading to God to help me stop it. This entire process is pretty hard to exaggerate because it's all quite extreme. I'm usually hitting anything that's near including myself and after the crying part is done it's extremely difficult to recover into a rational state.

The entire experience is quite overwhelming.

For the next two days my eyes will be extremely sore and I'll have a piercing migraine headache for which several Tylenol pain killers will be necessary.

Overall my meltdowns are excruciating experiences for which there is no hyperbole. I wouldn't wish those sessions on anyone.

I've never been able to stop a meltdown from happening because like a freight train racing downhill out of control, once it starts it cannot be stopped for me. I've only been able to delay it but sometimes even that fails me. I have being in situations where I've started crying several blocks away from my apartments and I couldn't wait to get home to simply let it all out. I can barely hold them in.

The closer I get to home the faster I lose my emotional control.

I only try to hold it in when I'm in a public place because I'm afraid of being picked up by the police or something like that and they'll throw me in the funny farm.

Ugh... :cry:


I am wondering if the emotional control just has a spiraling down effect, meaning that you feel stressed by the fact that you don't have emotional control then you feel more stress and it just snowballs. Stress will happen from trying to control the uncontrollable. I wonder what would happen if you allowed yourself to feel the initial loss of control or stress without fighting it, so as to stop the snowball from happening. Maybe try this as a safer alternative, next time you get home and are having a meltdown - don't ask God to make it stop but instead open yourself to it and feel it and explore it without resistance.

Can you give me a specific instance that lead to a meltdown?


Interesting strategy. I have been trying to hide being Autistic for most of my life and was only diagnosed 3 months ago so perhaps you could be onto something here.

So allowing meltdowns to simply happen without worrying about my surroundings (or NTs seeing me) may in fact be better for my health? Interesting...

My cardiologist said that I am overwhelmingly stressed and that is why I had a heart attack at 34 in 2010.

Stimming helps a lot but again, worried about my surroundings.

There is never really a specific instance that causes my meltdowns but I feel as if as soon as I wake up in the morning my stress level begins as a deflated balloon and slowly inflates bit by bit throughout the day. The usual overstimulation issues exist for me like bright lights, offensive sounds, too many people around me, rude NTs, sticky sensations, etc. Oh, and of course, constantly getting fired from jobs and/or quitting to avoid being fired. That's probably my biggest problem.


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Keep calm and stim away. ;)


billegge
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24 Nov 2017, 1:11 am

StampySquiddyFan wrote:
A time I had a meltdown: I had a meltdown on this day that was a day where we basically spent the day doing fun things. Unfortunately, one of the “fun activities” included attending a school wide pep rally. I covered my ears almost the whole time, and the experience was horrible.


What was going through your mind while you were covering your ears?



billegge
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24 Nov 2017, 1:16 am

xatrix26 wrote:
There is never really a specific instance that causes my meltdowns but I feel as if as soon as I wake up in the morning my stress level begins as a deflated balloon and slowly inflates bit by bit throughout the day.


When or How do your stress levels start to go back down?



xatrix26
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24 Nov 2017, 1:30 am

billegge wrote:
xatrix26 wrote:
There is never really a specific instance that causes my meltdowns but I feel as if as soon as I wake up in the morning my stress level begins as a deflated balloon and slowly inflates bit by bit throughout the day.


When or How do your stress levels start to go back down?


Immediately after I have a meltdown my stress levels drop dramatically. I feel as if my meltdowns are my own (and possibly others) personal pressure valve and that meltdowns, as painful as they are, are quite necessary to us Autistics.

Stimming reduces stress levels quite a bit, engaging in my special interests, and being in a quiet and secluded place free of NTs.

I hope I'm providing enough information for your research and perhaps this is as beneficial to you as it is to me?


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Keep calm and stim away. ;)


billegge
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24 Nov 2017, 1:41 am

xatrix26 wrote:
I hope I'm providing enough information for your research and perhaps this is as beneficial to you as it is to me?


When I was young my first word was probably "Why", my sister got angry at me for asking why all the time and I stopped and since then I have been scared to ask the "Why" question. I am glad your answering my questions.

Is this good for you? Thats great then.

I need more people to respond though.



Shakti
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24 Nov 2017, 1:48 am

I am slowly but surely figuring out things that mean the proverbial weather conditions are such that I am more likely to have meltdowns. Like if my digestive system is having a bad day I'm more irritable, also when I have to deal with bureaucracy, crowds of people, etc.


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billegge
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24 Nov 2017, 2:08 am

So far, just 2 responses. This is too little to really identify anything but here are some thoughts

Common to both responses:

  • Sensory overload
  • Stress
  • Possible preceding bad feeling - "I feel as if as soon as I wake up in the morning my stress level begins as a deflated balloon and slowly inflates bit by bit throughout the day." and "For some reason, I wasn’t feeling it that day"
  • Both responses seem to indicate getting your mind on something else reduces or eliminates the meltdown.

The above is a bit of a stretch because I only have 2 responses. It looks really basic, but its because that is the commonality. I have lots more thoughts but they are individual per response.



billegge
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24 Nov 2017, 2:11 am

Shakti wrote:
I am slowly but surely figuring out things that mean the proverbial weather conditions are such that I am more likely to have meltdowns. Like if my digestive system is having a bad day I'm more irritable, also when I have to deal with bureaucracy, crowds of people, etc.


All 3 responses so far show a similar thing - the "weather conditions".

What about times when you do not have a meltdown?



Clakker
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24 Nov 2017, 2:27 am

xatrix26 wrote:
There is never really a specific instance that causes my meltdowns but I feel as if as soon as I wake up in the morning my stress level begins as a deflated balloon and slowly inflates bit by bit throughout the day. The usual overstimulation issues exist for me like bright lights, offensive sounds, too many people around me, rude NTs, sticky sensations, etc. Oh, and of course, constantly getting fired from jobs and/or quitting to avoid being fired. That's probably my biggest problem.

We’re rushing everywhere all the time. Rushing to have fun, rushing to work/get by, rushing to document our lives, to connect, to socialize, and cramming every moment of our day with something to do. In German, the term ‘Reizflut’ (not translatable) is now used to describe our constant daily tactile, auditory, physical, and psychological inundation.
Most of us on the spectrum experience modern life as an overstimulating mess, its inefficieny is infuriating, its disorder disorientating, something is constantly going wrong which we hate, and then there’s always other humans who can be incredibly asinine, and the speed of life just makes it hard to slow things down. Meltdowns are completely unsuitable for how we live but they make total sense to me. We’re always trying to do things that we’re good at, because that’s efficient, makes us feel calm, and in control. Contrast this with what is asked of us in daily life and meltdowns come preprogrammed. I experience and try to guide my meltdowns like xatrix26. I can’t seem to cry, even though, I do feel like it. I also hit and break things. As matter of fact, I came to WP to find out how meltdowns can be avoided. What I’ve learned is to reduce the stresses of modern life. I don’t leave the house unless I absolutely have to and, thus, have more control over my life. When I do leave I try to be as efficient as possible, combining work with shopping and appointments. I invite family to my house, which reduces my discomfort level, because I’m in familiar surroundings and have control over the situation. I have less meltdowns now; however, my life isn’t really conducive to finding a girlfriend. Well, as the Germans say ‘a sparrow in the hand is better than a dove on the roof’ (a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush) or ‘in misery the devil eats flies’ (beggars can’t be choosers). :wink:


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billegge
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24 Nov 2017, 2:37 am

xatrix26

Your description is interesting, it sounds a lot like having to go to the bathroom and holding it all day. The closer you get to the bathroom (your home) the harder it is to contain.

Another parallel is crying. When crying, by anyone such as an NT, it is intense but then there is a point where you no longer cry and don't feel like crying despite nothing changing. Your meltdown seems to follow the same pattern as crying.

Curious, if you felt a meltdown building up - is it possible to have a meltdown "on-demand"? Can you decide to have a meltdown, then have one? I am really curious what would happen if you chose to have a meltdown then tried to.



Shakti
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24 Nov 2017, 2:38 am

Maybe lack of conditions that would cause meltdowns?


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