Did / Do you have 'Meltdowns' or 'Shutdowns'?

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Did you / Do you have "Meltdowns" or "Shutdowns" as an Aspie?
I mostly had "Shutdowns" 48%  48%  [ 51 ]
I mostly had "Meltdowns" 19%  19%  [ 20 ]
I had both 34%  34%  [ 36 ]
Total votes : 107

Apple_in_my_Eye
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29 Oct 2010, 7:36 pm

Yeah, shutdowns much, much more often than meltdowns. Years go by between meltdowns.

I think the comment about them being more noticeable and therefore more talked about in 'expert' literature is correct. I think it's part of the reason I never was tagged as "problem case" in school -- got good grades, and would freeze up rather than "lose it." I remember Donna Williams using the phrase "silent screaming inside my head," and can relate.



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29 Oct 2010, 7:58 pm

You describe shutdowns very well.
Meltdowns do tend to make the literature more and while they may make NT's more uncomfortable than a shutdown I also wonder if it has to do with the fact that most autism literature is in relation to children and not adults. I wonder whether autistic children would naturally tend towards the meltdown but as time wears on and quite possibly due to parental/societal pressure we start to learn to implode instead and I agree that I'm not sure that that might not be more harmful to internalize everything. As others have stated I have learned to recognize the signs of when I need to have some downtime and can usually ward off the shutdowns by taking some downtime. I've learned to regret when I ignore the signs and try to keep pushing myself.



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29 Oct 2010, 8:07 pm

I think I've spent a lot of my life in shutdown mode as it seems life in general feels overloading to me. I'm just now realizing this as I just recently had a shutdown in front of a group of people and stopped talking and it made me think about that. People in general and the way society is organized and structured is overwhelming to me and it makes me stop verbalizing and it's been hard to function and focus on the details of my own life. I feel like I may be just now starting my life.

I can also have visibly angry meltdowns/shutdowns at home but it's all directed at myself really. I flex all my muscles and make weird noises and eventually can't talk.



Last edited by Jediscraps on 29 Oct 2010, 11:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Maolcolm
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29 Oct 2010, 8:15 pm

Thanks for all the replies.

It's been very enlightening for me. We tend to have only our own experience and what books say at first, I suppose. But I sometimes forget that most of the books about AS are written by NT's and that they are describing what they think they observe, not what is necessarily the case for the person with AS. So, it's fascinating and also quite reassuring to me to see that, in fact, most people here also predominantly identify with and experience what I used to call 'shutdown' when trying to explain myself all through my life. It's also a bit sad that such aspects of our experience may get ignored or glossed over simply because they don't make trouble for others or grab their attention in the way a more rare "meltdown" might, when in fact, they can be hellish go through all the same and occur very frequently.



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29 Oct 2010, 9:47 pm

I have both. I have shutdowns more often than meltdowns, but still my meltdowns are fairly frequent. In fact, I had one today. :(

Also, if I am in public, I am more likely to have a shutdown. At home by myself, I am more likely to have a meltdown. I suppose this is a learned self-protection mechanism from people not reacting well when I had meltdowns in public as a child. The last meltdown that I had in public was the result of being yelled at while I was already in shutdown mode.



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29 Oct 2010, 9:50 pm

This is a very interesting poll topic. Thank you for starting it :)

I have shutdowns after I've been in public places and I'm safe at home.I also have them at other times.
I almost never have meltdowns, although I did go through a period of a few years of having meltdowns a few times a day, but that was because I was not allowed to have my shutdown mode.

So if I can't shutdown I meltdown.

It is a relief to see that so many others do the same thing. I thought I was unusual for not having regular meltdowns, but as someone else posted, it's probably that Aspies shutdowns go unnoticed and meltdowns are really obvious.



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29 Oct 2010, 11:02 pm

I think I meltdown more than I do with shut downs. My way of shutting down is refusing to do things because it's too much stress or if I feel numb and can't get a word out because they're all jumbled up in my head. My meltdowns come if I have no control over a situation and I shut down and then I head for a meltdown or when I am forced in a situation that is causing my anxiety. Maybe I do shutdown more to avoid having anxiety? I don't know.



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29 Oct 2010, 11:35 pm

From my experience meltdowns are a lot worse. They affect others more than shutdowns, and are extremely emotionally stressful.



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29 Oct 2010, 11:38 pm

hale_bopp wrote:
From my experience meltdowns are a lot worse. They affect others more than shutdowns, and are extremely emotionally stressful.


I agree, they are even embarrassing to have in public and sometimes I feel like a jerk after having one. I can imagine I probably made people feel uncomfortable around me because that is how I feel when I see someone crying out in public or having an episode and they are having a meltdown. I get all tense and scared and I feel I want to get out of there.



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30 Oct 2010, 1:00 am

Nowadays I have more shutdowns than meltdowns. Meltdowns tend to be very hostile and confrontational, maybe even seem like a tantrum,but that's probably just the OCD coming into play. I had a bad one last June when I had a fender bender with a car that was double parked, and before that, the most notable meltdown was February of 2009 but I gave it all I had and managed to hold it together because I was carrying a gun on my hip and I couldn't afford to melt down. Most of the time I have shutdowns- usually when I come home from something stressful like driving sometimes is or tough school assignments. Probably the best thing I do to avoid shutdowns or meltdowns is avoid stressful places that I can avoid going to. For example: I go to the mall as little as possible...unless I'm going to this one little Mexican restaurant and get See's chocolate, but that easily cancels out any stress I have from going there.


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30 Oct 2010, 2:44 am

shutdowns.... I refer to them as "Mute Mode"



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30 Oct 2010, 4:12 am

Both, but I mainly just shutdown but it doesn't happen too often since 70% i can control my mood and the rest, well it's either i shutdown or meltdown (if something was to make me angry).


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30 Oct 2010, 6:28 am

Usually I have shutdowns, although I can get very aggressive at times. However I learned to control at least the latter - so most think that I'm extremely peaceful. But I'm just peaceful because I know that if I showed everyone my anger most things wouldn't be intact in my room anymore.

When I have a shutdown I usually cry, which, as I may point out, can be extremely embarassing, especially if you just grew up from being a child and are supposed to not need to cry anymore.
I don't cry that often anymore, but it's still emberassing. Most of the times I know that it actually isn't a big deal and that I should be able to cope - but I can't. And most of the time somebody will try to console me, which makes everything even worse.



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30 Oct 2010, 7:06 am

You dont know how crazy it is for me to hear that other people also can react with the "mute mode", and that it is not just my extreme stubborn personality, like my friends think.
Until now Ive only known people who would make fun of me if it happens, because they say its not normal.
I also have been embarrassed about it, and have therefore seriously tried to control it, but it is impossible because of the confusion. The last time it happened though, was 3 years ago, and its getting longer and longer between each time, as if Im growing out of it. :D



Last edited by Maje on 05 Nov 2010, 5:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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30 Oct 2010, 9:08 am

I have probably 3 to 4 shutdowns a week. No meltdowns though.



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30 Oct 2010, 12:24 pm

If you feel like your brain stands still and is filled to the brim, you can't follow what people are saying, your head is tingling, and you may not answer them anything else than "just a moment, I can't do this", or may begin to cry, and afterwards get tired till your bones and marrow....

Is it then a meltdown or a shutdown?
Or just a sensory overload?

I am quite curious because I don't know where to place my own experiences of overwhelmedness. I have had difficulties recognising all the meltdown thing in my own life, when I have read about what different people in here describe them like. But I do have experiences like the one described above.