Anyone else feel embarrassed/ashamed after a meltdown?

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Joe90
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19 Oct 2010, 2:59 pm

Meltdowns just come. I never know when the next one will come - could be tomorrow, could be next week, could even be 6 weeks before I have the next one. I promise myself not to have another one, but I never think of that when a moment comes what causes me to melt down. The ''normal'' part of my brain completely shuts down so I don't know what to say or how to act. So it's just the Aspie part of the brain alert, and it leaves me two choices: drop on the floor and never get up until ready, or shout and scream and slam about. I've never done the lay on the floor one - only the scream and slam about one. And there's only 2 things what causes meltdowns for me: anger or panic. Sometimes it's both - which doubles the meltdown. And while I'm having the meltdown, a little voice in the back of my mind says, ''you're causing grief for your family, and you're embarrassing yourself. Please bail out right now.'' But I always choose to ignore it, or shout, ''I don't care!! !'' Then after the meltdown is over and my emotions are calm again, that is when I suffer the consequences. My family are either very upset and say I've caused an atmosphere, or I have just embarrassed myself. It is so horrible. I know how to express all emotions - except anger. Anger is harder to express and control than panic. NTs understand panic and anxieties with me, but they don't understand anger with me. And when I express anger my way (which is having a large meltdown), I totally make a complete invalid of myself.

There's not much what causes me to have a meltdown. The most thing in the world what sets me off is snow. I hate the snow. I hate the freezing cold, I hate the dull days, I hate the streets being covered in solid white, I hate the way it holds up my bus, I hate the way it causes ice and makes it slippery, and I hate the way it causes all the schools to shut because there are kids everywhere in the streets. I just hate it, and when I think of the hot sunny days it makes me worse. It makes me angry because winter just drags on and on in this country, and summer whips by so quick. So, last December, it had been snowing all morning - not enough to stop buses running - and I went to work fine, and came home fine. Then when I got home, it was early evening, and all my family had come round for a cup of tea, so the house was noisy and hectic (that also makes me overwelmed, but doesn't cause meltdowns). But an hour later I looked out of the window and saw all the footprints in the snow that were there earlier had all disappeared, which meant more heavy snow had fallen down and everywhere was completely covered again. I walked into the lounge trying to be calm about it, and said, ''it looks like it's snowed more.'' And my brother said loudly, ''oh, here we go!'' And that made me mad, so I yelled a few unpleasent words at him, then I got caught in a meltdown. I slammed out the lounge and stomped upstairs, then jumped up and down upstairs so hard it made the house shake, then I threw myself onto my bed in sheer panic - then got up again and done some more banging about, then I ran back downstairs and got my shoes and coat on, ready to run out of the house and to somewhere where no-one can be near me. My uncle came out the lounge and tried to calm me down. But by then I was calming down a bit, but felt too embarrassed to talk back to him and come and sit in the lounge, so I just pushed past him and ran outside. I ran to the furthest field in my town and cried and cried. I kicked the snow around me and saying how much I hated it. Then I cried more, and felt too shamed and embarrassed to come home. I started thinking, ''what will my cousins think of me now? Have I upset me family again? What have I done? Why didn't I control myself? The snow will probably be gone in a couple of days!'' I felt so embarrassed to come back home - and by then I had got myself into a dilemma.

That is the worst meltdown I ever had, and I hated it. But I had an idea. I went to my auntie's flat, which was near, and told her what had happened. Because she wasn't in my home when I had the meltdown, I didn't feel embarrassed to face her, so she invited me in for hot chocolate. Then half an hour later my mum and all the family that was at my home came round, and I was already sitting there, and couldn't escape. But, funnily enough, they weren't affected by the meltdown. Instead they tried making me laugh about the snow, and trying to ''conquere my fear''. (Did I mention I have a fear of snow?) So I got let off the hook pretty easy there. But I was still so embarrassed - even to this day I am embarrassed. Do anyone of you face the embarrassment after a meltdown?


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hellomynameis
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19 Oct 2010, 3:56 pm

I hate the days after a meltdown. My meltdowns are more sobbing hysterically than screaming, so I look weak and fragile. I hate it. And even if they aren't, I feel like everyone treats me like I'm breakable, especially right after a meltdown. At least your family is supportive. It sounds like they'll forgive you pretty quickly.


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theWanderer
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19 Oct 2010, 3:58 pm

I've melted down quite a few times over the years. Even in front of people I barely knew, when I started college. :oops: Yeah, I've been humiliated.

Worst of all? I didn't even understand why. I'm 51 now, and I just figured out in September that I have Asperger's. It wasn't even a diagnosis when I was a kid. Besides, the fact that I was legally blind, a genius, and had very weird parents who spent all their time trying to hide their own weirdness explained a lot to everyone around me, and I learned to hide some of my own weirdness.

When I figured out I had ADHD, that just confused matters more. But it didn't explain nearly everything. Like total meltdowns over things neurotypicals think are "stupid". (I happen to think - and always have - that a lot of the things they obsess over are stupid. I'd be polite and say nothing about that, if they hadn't been so eager to point out how stupid I was all the time. They taught me to do it. :D )

So not even knowing why I was this way utterly humiliated me. There were times I really started to wonder if they were right about all the insults they hurled my way.


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19 Oct 2010, 4:28 pm

Definitely. It gets to the point that when I know one is coming, I start to feel ashamed preemptively. I've been told off for constantly apologizing, partly because I can't figure out what to say (communication is conking out) and partly because I'm so ashamed. Needless to say, getting someplace private is a good strategy when overload hits. In many cases you can even de-escalate it and go back to what you were doing.


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19 Oct 2010, 4:58 pm

I have meltdowns constantly and they vary in degree and form. It's getting worse (because I'm really sleep deprived), actually to the point where I have a minor meltdown at least once a day (minor meaning screaming, stomping, saying bad things about everyone who talks to or about me).

The other day I had a really bad meltdown because I accidentally locked myself out of my room and I needed to escape there. In the process of the melt down I broke a house phone by throwing it at my door and I put a hole in the wall by throwing a suit case down the stairs :oops: . It was really awful and embarrassing. To make matters even worse, my brother (who's a year younger than me) told a lot of his friends about my meltdown in front of me! Even though I always promise myself that I won't meltdown again, i always do.

In order to get over the embarrassment of a meltdown, I'll wait in my room until everyone's calm and then start to apologize for what I did (even though I'm seldom sorry for my meltdowns). After I apologize I try to explain what set me off so we can prevent what set me off from happening (if it's preventable). Another thing you can do is make a reward based system (like a sticker chart) to try to stop meltdowns. I know sticker charts feel like they're meant for three year olds, but they really work.



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19 Oct 2010, 10:59 pm

My meltdowns are mostly internal but I do now lash out. The last one was triggered by a 'you're not supposed to do that' comment at a gig and I stayed in this miserable mood for the rest of the night. I kept trying to get over it by focusing on the band but it just kept coming back to me. It wasn't an angry, I want to kill everyone type of meltdown that I usually have but I still felt horrible, and I knew that it was coming on.
The last angry meltdown I had was a cause of what my brother said and just all this stress my family were putting on me. It was the type when I feel my brain is about to explode and hitting anything and everything seems the only way to stop it.

I feel bad about having meltdowns after having them if other people witness them because they don't understand it and they think I'm just acting like a brat. Actually the word they reserve for me is 'psycho.' I said last year that I had a huge meltdown from strobe lights at a gig. I knew the guitarist and he lifted me on the stage and I was rushed upstairs. The manager helped me back then but she looks at me as though I'm going to do it again.


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Joe90
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01 Jan 2011, 1:24 pm

I wish AS never involved having meltdowns. Why do they involve meltdowns? I feel so embarrassed of them all the time, but when I get in a mood and a panic about something, I can't always help myself. They just happen on the spur of the moment.
The other day my NT friend said, ''I can't imagine you angry.'' And I - sort of - hesitated before I said, ''I do get angry in my own time - not when I'm out, really.'' (Although sometimes I do get angry when I'm out, but I don't show it.)

Because I only have mild AS, I am able to hide the AS during every-day communication, so I appear normal to other people, and the only people who know about me having AS are the people I've verbally told. Otherwise, they don't notice anything, (well, they might notice something, but I don't think ''AS'' would come into mind). It's easier to talk to adults because they have met lots of different types of people in their lives, and so they don't always take any notice of my ''weirdness'' (if any), because it's more than likely that they'll probably have met someone worse than me at some time in their lives. Teenagers and young adults under 25 are usually more judgemental - even I can be, but I'm more understanding.
Anyway - let's cut to the chase here. As I've just explained, I come across as normal to other people, and usually I find myself chatting away to my next door neighbour over the hedge (she's a middle-aged woman with a middle-aged husband and a little boy). I come across as normal to them; chatting away cheerfully, and looking socially relaxed. But when I have a meltdown indoors, I feel so embarrassed afterwards, in case they hear me from next door. When I have my meltdowns I put on that angry, whiny high-pitched voice, shouting and swearing and crying, and it's obvious that they hear me because my voice carries when I'm shouting.
And when they hear me going ape indoors, I bet next door probably think, ''oh, I think it's that girl who does all that shouting and swearing from time to time. She seems chatty and happy and normal when she talks to me*, so there can't be much wrong with her. She must just be some sort of nutcase or something.'' And that's what embarrasses me. I hate meltdowns! They're the worse thing associated with AS!

* This is just from a NT's point of view when seeing an adult screaming and swearing. NTs who don't really know anyone close to them on the spectrum don't really know the half. And when somebody comes across as normal then they hear that person suddenly going ape in their house sometimes, they don't just think, ''oh she might have a few problems or something'', they will just think, ''oh what is that matter with that girl?!'' See, according to some NTs, they just think a disability just means constantly unaware of the world - which it doesn't. I've met a person before who I just assumed was NT, (had all the right social cues, was quite popular, ect), and she suddenly announced she was diagnosed with mild AS, and I was surprised. She says she suffers from high anxiety, and has meltdowns from time to time, but she came across as NT to me. That's probably how people look at me too - that's what makes witnessed meltdowns seem to embarrassing to me.


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Verdandi
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01 Jan 2011, 1:52 pm

When I can feel them starting I go somewhere private, and I usually make it.

I used to lash out at inanimate objects - once I got so frustrated at not having enough space for everything I owned I destroyed several Christmas gifts (that sucked, but that was beside the point) because they were taking up some of that space.

I used to just cry a lot. Then I started lashing out, but after I damaged something that was important to me and hard to replace, I tried to control that, and ended up with the crying again, and online meltdowns. I managed to get into a few too many flame wars over what were sometimes trivial reasons.

I internalize a lot of them, too, which kind of wrecks me.

And yes, even though I tend to have them privately, I do find the more demonstrative meltdowns embarrassing.

Lately when I've been approaching meltdown I just shutdown instead. Sometimes mid-meltdown, sometimes right at the start.



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01 Jan 2011, 2:04 pm

No, I am never embarresed or ashamed after a meltdown. Becuase meltdowns let me express how I feel. I don't care who sees me. Part of the reason I have meltdowns is because when I try to express how I feel, people tell me to stop and I can't express myself that way. So I leave it bottled up until I have to let it out. I warn people that if they don't let me express my frustration then I will let it out in a bad way. But they make me hold it in until its too late.



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01 Jan 2011, 2:08 pm

There was a time when I could not tell when a melt-down was coming, but now I can feel it building. Even still, I usually do not realize it's upon me until I finally blurt out my frustrations at the worst possible moment (usually at a coworker or supervisor, and often with an audience). I've become fairly good at self-analysis, and within a couple of hours (sometimes less), I am usually fairly sure that something I did was definitely wrong. However, it usually takes me a good part of the day, maybe even a couple of days, to be at a point where I am not still so upset that I can't make a sincere and meaningful apology. Even though I feel pretty stupid for letting my emotions get out of control, and often for expressing my feelings in a way that was totally out of line, I still feel the need to take a lot of space because I know people are going to be very critical of me when I do apologize.

Recently, I even realized that when I start yelling at my cat for just doing cat-like things (like wanting to be close to me or lay on me all the time), it's time for a melt down to occur.



Joe90
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01 Jan 2011, 2:45 pm

My meltdowns seem different to other Aspies on here. They start when I'm very anxious about something, or pissed off at somebody, or when I start getting jealous of NTs for not having to suffer with meltdowns and other AS-related things (usually I can push this envy to the back of my head and get on with my life, but once in a while it makes it's way to the front again and makes me angry again).

In my meltdowns I never touch anything. Nothing gets broken, nobody gets hurt. I just yell and shout and swear, and cause an atmosphere, then feel embarrassed when everything's all calm again.


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01 Jan 2011, 2:58 pm

Yes, I feel embarrassed after meltdowns. It's not that I do anything bad during meltdowns. I don't scream, say anything bad, throw things, slam doors or do anything to anyone. I just cry uncontrollably, turn mute and try to leave or close myself somewhere to be alone.

I feel embarrassed during and after meltdowns because NTs generally have absolutely no understanding of what autistic meltdowns are or why they happen. They don't understand that meltdowns are involuntary and out of our control, so they tend to make wrong assumptions about what happened and look down on me for having them. They think I'm childish or weak for crying or they think I'm overreacting about something. They don't see how many things build up over time and eventually cause a meltdown. They just see the last thing, the one that set off the meltdown, and that's not necessarily anything major, so they don't understand why I have a meltdown over something they see as so minor.

Sometimes my meltdowns happen suddenly, but sometimes I can feel that things are building up and approaching the point where I won't be able to take more and will have a meltdown, but often there is no way to avoid it even if I know it's coming, because I can't always get out of whatever situation I'm in to be alone in peace somewhere when it happens.

Yesterday was the first time in a very long time that I could "postpone" a meltdown, so to speak. I was at a family gathering and felt that I was getting overwhelmed and would have a meltdown if I stayed there for much longer, so I made up an excuse to leave early, so I didn't have a meltdown yesterday. I know that I won't be able to avoid it for much longer though. It will come sometime very soon, I'm on the edge, and there is nothing I can do to prevent it.



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01 Jan 2011, 3:06 pm

Joe90 wrote:
My meltdowns seem different to other Aspies on here. They start when I'm very anxious about something, or pissed off at somebody, or when I start getting jealous of NTs for not having to suffer with meltdowns and other AS-related things (usually I can push this envy to the back of my head and get on with my life, but once in a while it makes it's way to the front again and makes me angry again).

In my meltdowns I never touch anything. Nothing gets broken, nobody gets hurt. I just yell and shout and swear, and cause an atmosphere, then feel embarrassed when everything's all calm again.


For some reason, I was never the type to yell, shout, and swear at people. I am not sure why this was the case, but I just had a really hard time showing anger. I did cry in front of people rather frequently, I remember one birthday I had the worst meltdown in front of my friends (like...two of them?) and family. That is still kind of embarrassing to remember.

My ex (abusive also) pushed me into yelling at her once, it was one of the most frustrating moments for me. I also didn't care for how she said "So you are human!" after she got the reaction she wanted.

I did yell at people more after that, but when I feel a meltdown happening I usually just get away.

I've only ever attacked my mother's ex and bullies... and wow, did that get me in trouble. Guess the biting was a bad idea.



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01 Jan 2011, 3:48 pm

I always feel intensely embarrassed after one. I worry, too. I figure people have a lower opinion of me than they had before if they witness the meltdown. The meltdowns zap what little confidence with others I have.



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01 Jan 2011, 3:54 pm

Most Aspies don't like people around them when in a meltdown. I'm quite different - the only way to hold my meltdown back is to be reassured by someone. If somebody cuddles me, or even tries to make me laugh, or tries to talk to me to make the situation better, or just remains calm without getting stressed too, my meltdown calms down. The more I'm left alone, the more it gets worse.


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