New here, feeling desperate with emotional regulation

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ALB8446
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24 Jun 2022, 9:54 pm

Hello!
First post on this site but I thought I'd give it a try. I am 99% sure I have undiagnosed ASD. One of my close friends is who brought it to my attention and after a lot of convincing and my own research, I'm wondering if I should pursue a diagnosis among other things. My psychiatrist gave me some referrals but it's just so much money out of pocket.. But I want to make sure that is what is actually going on. I want to know what I need to simply come to terms with and accept about myself, and what I can do to help myself be more ok with life. Even thought I'm almost positive I do have it.

I'm just coming out (hopefully) of a week or so of being in meltdown mode because of a few small stressors. Lots of crying, being overwhelmed, sensitive to stimuli, leaving work early a couple days, things like that. I'm just wondering.... When I am in meltdown mode, I literally can't think. It's like my brain stops working which is why I have to leave work. I can't cry and clean at the same time lol. When I am overwhelmed by emotions, it's incredibly hard to control my actions. So up until this point, I have been trying to figure out ways to regulate my emotions (because I have no idea how to do that. I'm awful at it. It has taken me forever to even realize what emotions are and when I am having them.) Because if I'm not overwhelmed by emotions, I can think rationally and make good decisions. But I'm wondering... Is it possible to somehow have more control over my actions even when emotions are overwhelming? I struggle soooo much with this. And as I'm sure you all know, resources are incredibly limited for adults with autism.

I would so appreciate any thoughts or encouragement you have.

Thanks!



Handa Rei
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25 Jun 2022, 9:58 am

Hey! Welcome to Wrong Planet.

I do think a diagnosis could be worth pursuing if you really value knowing whether or not it's ASD that you have, and if it won't be too much of a financial hit. I don't know what it's like in your country/state but it could be that there's social, mental health, and/or financial support that would become available to you in the event that you're diagnosed with ASD, which is always a nice bonus. Everyone's different of course but my diagnosis really helped me and changed my life for the better, and that was without even making use of the forms of support that became available to me. And if it turns out that you don't have ASD it's at least ruling something out and possibly steering you towards a diagnosis of something that would fit.

As far as I'm aware, I get shutdowns rather than meltdowns, but I experience a lot if not all of what you've mentioned here. By having more control over your actions are you meaning the ability to actively do things despite your overwhelming emotions (such as work)?
I think it's definitely possible to become more able to control your actions when emotionally overwhelmed. It may be a bit of a long process though: something you practice. I think simply having some time to yourself regularly to just feel and be, to become more acquainted with your emotions could help in this regard. I think it's really important to have time alone when you're overwhelmed, if that helps you, but even when you're not overwhelmed just to see how your feelings feel. And if you can and need to, let them out safely when you're alone, so that they don't build up more than is necessary. Cry if you need to, find comfort if you need it, maybe write in a diary or vent to a friend or on here. If you become more acquainted with your feelings you may be able to gain more control over your actions when your emotions become too much. It might be possible that this will also allow you to more easily see the overwhelming times coming, and then maybe you can prepare for it in some way. Also, if you happen to be able to and it's not to your detriment, maybe taking a day or two off work could really help you when you're extremely overwhelmed. That time to yourself may really help you properly recover.

As far as I can tell, all of these things have helped me to have more control in overwhelming times. It's ever a battle though. I hope some of this helps a little, or if not, that you get some ideas that do.



timf
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25 Jun 2022, 10:06 am

Welcome. You have found a good place to ask questions.

I am not sure a diagnosis would be that helpful. A diagnosis of a bacterial infection and a prescription of an antibiotic would be helpful to combat that sort of illness. Aspergers (now called ASD) is more a result of a neurology that is more sensitive, complex, or faster than ordinary. As a result, skill development and management techniques are often more useful.

Emotional responses of anger, crying, or frustration may be the result of a sudden encounter of something unexpected. We do not often handle unpleasant surprises well.

It is possible to develop improved expectations so that we are not caught off guard as often, we can also develop management techniques such as taking an emotional overload into a private space for recovery.

It might be helpful to see some of the tony Attwood videos on Youtube or download the free pdf booklet http://christianpioneer.com/blogarchieve/an_intentional_life_2017.pdf.



ALB8446
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25 Jun 2022, 2:33 pm

Handa Rei wrote:
Hey! Welcome to Wrong Planet.

I do think a diagnosis could be worth pursuing if you really value knowing whether or not it's ASD that you have, and if it won't be too much of a financial hit. I don't know what it's like in your country/state but it could be that there's social, mental health, and/or financial support that would become available to you in the event that you're diagnosed with ASD, which is always a nice bonus. Everyone's different of course but my diagnosis really helped me and changed my life for the better, and that was without even making use of the forms of support that became available to me. And if it turns out that you don't have ASD it's at least ruling something out and possibly steering you towards a diagnosis of something that would fit.

As far as I'm aware, I get shutdowns rather than meltdowns, but I experience a lot if not all of what you've mentioned here. By having more control over your actions are you meaning the ability to actively do things despite your overwhelming emotions (such as work)?
I think it's definitely possible to become more able to control your actions when emotionally overwhelmed. It may be a bit of a long process though: something you practice. I think simply having some time to yourself regularly to just feel and be, to become more acquainted with your emotions could help in this regard. I think it's really important to have time alone when you're overwhelmed, if that helps you, but even when you're not overwhelmed just to see how your feelings feel. And if you can and need to, let them out safely when you're alone, so that they don't build up more than is necessary. Cry if you need to, find comfort if you need it, maybe write in a diary or vent to a friend or on here. If you become more acquainted with your feelings you may be able to gain more control over your actions when your emotions become too much. It might be possible that this will also allow you to more easily see the overwhelming times coming, and then maybe you can prepare for it in some way. Also, if you happen to be able to and it's not to your detriment, maybe taking a day or two off work could really help you when you're extremely overwhelmed. That time to yourself may really help you properly recover.

As far as I can tell, all of these things have helped me to have more control in overwhelming times. It's ever a battle though. I hope some of this helps a little, or if not, that you get some ideas that do.


It's so nice to talk to someone about this... I feel like nobody gets it. But I totally agree with you. That was why I was interested in pursuing a diagnosis. Currently what I'm seeing is about $1000 USD for diagnosis but I need to look and see what I can find.

I'm still learning the terminology: meltdown, shutdown, I dunno. But yes, it's very difficult for me to do anything other than what I feel like doing which can range from wanting to throw a literal temper tantrum to wanting to run away or cut or stuff that is even worse. So I do good to just breathe sometimes. And yes, having time alone to process is huge for me. I try to do that every day. I appreciate your suggestions. I do a lot of journaling and praying and listening to music. It's just crazy hard sometimes! But I am learning and growing in awareness of when I'm starting to get overwhelmed. Unfortunately, the only thing I know that is helpful in this situation is to leave... But I can't always do that at work and I can't just totally check out of life. I am definitely on a journey and just feeling a little lonely and at a loss for practical steps to take.

Are there are resources you recommend whether that's books or websites or something else?

Thanks so much,



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25 Jun 2022, 5:12 pm

If you have medical insurance check to see if they cover "Mental Health". Mine did and reimbursed me some of the cost of my assessment. Don't expect them to know much about Adult Autism Assessments; my insurance provider really wanted to help but gave me bad referrals and bad information because they didn't know what they were talking about.

If you are getting through life reasonably well then the main benefit of a diagnosis might be self-understanding. If you need accommodations, however, then a diagnosis would likely be essential.

Be aware, however, that other conditions have some of the same traits as Autism. It would take a professional to give an accurate diagnosis...which is the best diagnosis to have!


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aajiplanet
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26 Jun 2022, 8:22 am

Welcome, nice to see that you shared with yourself, that no one can do this.



Handa Rei
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30 Jun 2022, 9:28 am

ALB8446 wrote:

It's so nice to talk to someone about this... I feel like nobody gets it. But I totally agree with you. That was why I was interested in pursuing a diagnosis. Currently what I'm seeing is about $1000 USD for diagnosis but I need to look and see what I can find.

I'm still learning the terminology: meltdown, shutdown, I dunno. But yes, it's very difficult for me to do anything other than what I feel like doing which can range from wanting to throw a literal temper tantrum to wanting to run away or cut or stuff that is even worse. So I do good to just breathe sometimes. And yes, having time alone to process is huge for me. I try to do that every day. I appreciate your suggestions. I do a lot of journaling and praying and listening to music. It's just crazy hard sometimes! But I am learning and growing in awareness of when I'm starting to get overwhelmed. Unfortunately, the only thing I know that is helpful in this situation is to leave... But I can't always do that at work and I can't just totally check out of life. I am definitely on a journey and just feeling a little lonely and at a loss for practical steps to take.

Are there are resources you recommend whether that's books or websites or something else?

Thanks so much,


Sorry, I wanted to reply much sooner. I've had quite the week, and been going through something of a shutdown as it happens.

I think you've got it right. As far as I know a meltdown is generally more active, outward responses to being overwhelmed, like what you've described. Whereas shutdowns are responses more akin to the opposite, like a computer shutting down.
I think you're definitely on the right track. And I think this can be a good place for practical steps and to assuage loneliness. I find it's easier to find people I relate to here than elsewhere. Should you ever wish to talk to someone you're welcome to message me if you'd like.

Sadly I'm not aware of any books or websites for this sort of thing. There are definitely people here would be able to list some though. It might be worth making a thread specifically asking for resources of that sort.
I do think that YouTube might be a good place to look though. Lately I've seen a lot of videos about ASD and psychology. I've just had a quick look and there's a good number of videos specifically pertaining to emotional regulation in autism and techniques that can help. And I'd imagine some of them cite or recommend books/websites too. It could be a very good starting point.



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30 Jun 2022, 10:24 am

Welcome to WP!

I think that a diagnosis is worth going after if you're looking to see if it is ASD. You've come to the right place.


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Lizzie60
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03 Jul 2022, 1:36 pm

Welcome, I am fairly new here having been diagnosed with ASD at age 62. However I prefer to say that I am autistic because it's who I am.

Overall a diagnosis has been a positive experience for me but also a process which has been challenging. I wasn't surprised but it does challenge your identity, so a lot of introspection.

On the plus side I've been learning to "unmask" and drop a lot of the fake social niceties that I have learned. This has been very healing.

I hope this helps. Be kind to yourself.



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03 Jul 2022, 4:31 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet! :)


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04 Jul 2022, 12:58 pm

Definitely try to pursue a diagnosis if you can.

You need to slow everything down. That's the first step. You will also have to learn to prompt yourself so that you can feel safer. That will help you with emotional regulation


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