How do you know when you're having a meltdown?

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Chloe33
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05 Apr 2013, 8:50 am

qwan wrote:
About a month ago my friends and I from the Autism support group wittnessed my friend have a meltdown and it really worried and tired us all out (for like a week or two after!).

One friend and I had said how we'd never seen a meltdown before and didn't know how to respond. Something we'll need to discuss in the group because we focus more on how to deal with neurotypicals or how they could deal with us, but not how we can deal with eachother!

Anyway, the point was, after this I started thinking about whether I have had meltdowns and how stressful it is for others around me.
I was always branded the difficult child and tried discussing with my mom if she felt the 'temper tantrums' were attention seeking behaviours like the average kid does to get what they want or if they may have been meltdowns.
Was rather difficult as I saw a post about the difference between the two but only really understand what a temper tantrum is and NOT a meltdown.

I'm assuming I have had them, I think I had one in town today actually, which upset my mom and sister and I, all because there was a change of plans and it really stressed me out. (The more I learn about autism the less stupid I feel when things like this happen because finding the cause is easier; I mean that's a pretty aspie thing to get upset about.)

So, what are your melt downs like?
How do you know you're having a melt down?
What helps?
How do you deal with other peoples meltdowns?


When i have a meltdown i can feel it coming on, my usually are triggered by built up stress. My gf can tell my the airwaves i guess you can cut the tension with a knife when i am ready to go odd.
Evidently i have an aura and a look about me...

Surely this might differ for others, however in the psych wards you could always tell when certain schitzophrenics were going to "go off" or "meltdown" as some would get this set determined look.

All folks are different. Some might allow others near them, personally i would probably rather not have others near me during a meltdown.
If people are near me they usually stay out of my way i'm on the warpath..

Then again it depends on how severe the meltdown is and that can vary.

It's good you have a Autism support group, maybe ya'll could discuss meltdowns as it varies dependingly upon the individual.



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Deinonychus
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05 Apr 2013, 9:19 am

qwan wrote:
That was somehting I forgot to mention with my friends one, he began twitching when he got more non-verbal as well.

By the loss of functions, do you mean it's temporary or permanent? =/ Sounds scary.


the timing is pretty much random as far as the paralysis goes. I lost half my face for a few weeks but conversion disorder can present in years without arms or legs that work or actually going blind or deaf for a period of time, for no physical reason. like, not pretending you can't see, but your brain literally not showing you what your eyes are seeing because of emotional stress. it's common in victims of child abuse (which I am not, fortunately) but is generally a reaction to intense stress that's kept hidden for a long period of time. I wouldn't be surprised if it's more common in people with ASDs than in the general population. mine usually presents as jerks/tremors/twitching/shivering but I also have staring fits and so on that are technically seizures even though I'm not epileptic.

it's a particularly interesting syndrome because the more someone knows about medicine the more realistically their symptoms mimic real diseases. it's your mind doing it - on a psychological not a physiological/medical level - but I still did things like sneeze with one eye open and so on that I could never do deliberately. it's a really weird thing to have, and I think likely accounts for me not being diagnosed until I was 25. a lot of the time I don't even know I'm upset by something until I start having a seizure or jerking around. I still have feelings, obviously, but it's a weird defense mechanism that turns out to be kind of nice sometimes. sometimes it's just better to have your eye twitch uncontrollably for an hour than to experience whatever negative emotion directly, you know? but not being able to walk or being blind is a horse of a different color.


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05 Apr 2013, 10:59 am

qwan wrote:
So, what are your melt downs like?


I become unable to take care of myself. Can't do tasks that I should, no matter how much I want to (at work or private). Becomes nonverbal. Often can't move (very negative as I often need to get out of the current situation). Small details that really are no problem becomes huge and completely unmanageble.
Before I learned better to prevent and cope with meltdowns I also screamed, threw things around, self harmed.

qwan wrote:
How do you know you're having a melt down?


I wouldn't be able to know that during a meltdown without experience. After having lots of meltdowns I know the different steps, so now I can tell how close a meltdown is from comparison to how my "usual meltdown" feels.
It took some time before I understood that this was real and not me being a bad person. The understanding came when I realised the meltdowns always had negative consequences for me. I did not stop having them if other people wasn't around. I did not stop having them if the only possible outcome was extremely bad for me. Meltdowns stay the same. This is how I know.

qwan wrote:
What helps?


Removal of all stimuli and time - get away from other people, dark quiet room, curl up and rest until I start returning to normal again. Someone taking care of the problems for me, or telling me that they will help me when the meltdown is over. (And doing so, of course).

qwan wrote:
I think that's the difference I read on meltdowns and temper tantrums, the former is a lack of control, and the latter is a way to gain control.


Exactly. A tantrum stops when you got what you wanted. A meltdown keeps going when all the other people have left and you just sit there in your own misery with nothing to gain.

qwan wrote:
It's also embarrassing at 21 years old to be like that when you know you're intelligent, able to communicate above what is average etc, once feelings come into it my understanding and articulation decrease and when I feel like that I'm just too overwhelmed for being normal. =.=


Perhaps it helps to know that all humans get meltdowns when stressed enough. Not only aspies. It is just that we generally experience more stress just living normally. NT meltdowns occur during personal crisis and things like that.

qwan wrote:
Still, I'm not entirely sure how to deal with it.


Stop it from happening is the only thing that really works. Learn what triggers it, the warning signs, what to do when warning signs occur, train to ask for help at the right time. Tell the right people how to help you. Reduce all stress factors possible. By slowly learning more and more about how I should arrange things for myself, I have a better life overall and keep reducing the frequency and lenght of meltdowns.



xMistrox
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05 Apr 2013, 11:26 am

I always called them nervous breakdowns, but that doesn't meet the standard definition, so meltdown would be more appropriate. I'd classify them by severity/what entails, here is how I'd do so:

Class 1: Major Meltdown: Scream, exhibit unbridled rage, crying, and general inability to deal with things. Can be caused by stimuli, but more often people.

Dealt with by: Escaping the situation and going to a solitary place with no stimuli. Sometimes accompainied with feelings of suicide or extreme violence. A fast and furious eruption of emotion. I have one roughly once or twice per year on average.


Class 2: Moderate Meltdown: Same as above, only not as intense and more focused on anger or complex emotions, usually worse if attached to a person in particular and will sometimes last a week or more.

Dealt with by: Solitude, ignoring, and avoiding any attached person until I can forgive/I am appologized to. Attempting to reconcile without an appology does not usually work. It is more of a cooled, though unstable eruption. I have these roughly once every month or two.


Class 3: Mild Meltdown: A brief burst of anger or not easily identifiable emotions. Usually due to a good or bad inconvenience, stimuli, or rude/mean action from a person.

Dealt with by: A few minute break from stimuli. I can usually recover fairly quickly, but at times it can stick with me for an entire day or more. It isn't usually visible to others, and I have them on a daily to weekly basis.


Pretty much solitude is my main way of dealing with them, and I've had more major meltdowns in the last two years than any other time, and solitude is rather rare now as well. Anger is probably the easiest to identify emotion, but sometimes I have to think and dig to describe what I'm feeling exactly.


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05 Apr 2013, 11:30 am

xMistrox wrote:
I always called them nervous breakdowns, but that doesn't meet the standard definition, so meltdown would be more appropriate. I'd classify them by severity/what entails, here is how I'd do so:

Class 1: Major Meltdown: Scream, exhibit unbridled rage, crying, and general inability to deal with things. Can be caused by stimuli, but more often people.

Dealt with by: Escaping the situation and going to a solitary place with no stimuli. Sometimes accompainied with feelings of suicide or extreme violence. A fast and furious eruption of emotion. I have one roughly once or twice per year on average.


Class 2: Moderate Meltdown: Same as above, only not as intense and more focused on anger or complex emotions, usually worse if attached to a person in particular and will sometimes last a week or more.

Dealt with by: Solitude, ignoring, and avoiding any attached person until I can forgive/I am appologized to. Attempting to reconcile without an appology does not usually work. It is more of a cooled, though unstable eruption. I have these roughly once every month or two.


Class 3: Mild Meltdown: A brief burst of anger or not easily identifiable emotions. Usually due to a good or bad inconvenience, stimuli, or rude/mean action from a person.

Dealt with by: A few minute break from stimuli. I can usually recover fairly quickly, but at times it can stick with me for an entire day or more. It isn't usually visible to others, and I have them on a daily to weekly basis.


Pretty much solitude is my main way of dealing with them, and I've had more major meltdowns in the last two years than any other time, and solitude is rather rare now as well. Anger is probably the easiest to identify emotion, but sometimes I have to think and dig to describe what I'm feeling exactly.


That's pretty much me. I used to have more Class 1 meltdowns when I was younger - I've gone about a year now.

I have a class 1.5 and 2.5 which are in between... (This Aspie likes precision.)



abyssquick
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05 Apr 2013, 11:41 am

When I was a kid, it was a kind of hidden rage, often towards situations that made me feel indignant. Such as being bullied by a former friend. The jerk would cut me in line every day. One time he did this I got so angry at him, I grabbed a lunch tray to strike him with, but became paralyzed with reluctance. At it's worst it was a debilitating, overwhelming, and yet paralyzing anger. I couldn't ever act on it. I don't think I'm physically capable of serious mortal harm.

Being an adult now it's just racing thoughts, anxiety, fear, abrasiveness towards others, physical trembling, strong desire to be left alone. It passes in time. The last time I had one was around Christmas visiting my fiance's family. I was away from everything familiar and comfortable for 10 days. I'm trying to learn how to control it. There is an herb I take now that can squash it out when I'm not simply able to leave. I use that sometimes.

I didn't know there were "meltdowns" until recent years. Though I did wonder why other people didn't have them.



qwan
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05 Apr 2013, 12:20 pm

abyssquick wrote:
I didn't know there were "meltdowns" until recent years. Though I did wonder why other people didn't have them.


I used to think I was evil for having the violent thoughts, I would go into rages as a kid and attack whoever was bothering me. If I got hit by my parents I'm told I just stood there unaffected, I apparently slammed my brothers face into a hot heater with metal grids on it and it burnt him. i also strangled him more than once.
He will harrass you for hours on end so while what I did wasn't right I was pushed far over my limit by his relentless harrassment which he does for fun.

I used to think especially when I was a teen, but also while an infant that i was going crazy. I feel I've had many breakdowns. But on reflection it's possible that those were actually severe meltdowns.
This makes me feel much better because it means the instability of my moods could be explained less by my mood disorder and more by my aspergers, and this makes it feel less severe and more temporary and short term. They can be as damaging, but feeling I'm not on the verge of going crazy for having public meltdowns is so positive for me.

I'm still feeling overly emotional and worn out from it today but I do feel more calm on a deeper level about this because it clears up a lot of history too. =3

I don't feel them coming on really, I just start feeling really confused and aggrivated.
I have Alexthymia, so I have trouble recognising my emotions which doesn't help. I was rubbing my head and began scratching it shortly before blowing up, but it wasn't much warning time.

I'd like to request we discuss it soon at the support group.


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