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Joe90
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29 May 2022, 4:10 pm

OK, I know this has been discussed a zillion times before here but I'm very curious of what other people on the autism spectrum are like when you're having a meltdown or outburst or whatever word suits you best. Mine were outbursts more than meltdowns but anyway I haven't really had them since I went on Sertraline, I still do have my moments but I can control it more.

Just some questions:-

1. What sort of thing often triggers your meltdowns?

For me it was usually just a mixture of negative emotions that came pouring out, which were usually triggered by a loved one saying the wrong thing or something happens that reminded me of how lonely my life was or how much I hated myself. They were also sometimes caused by feelings of helplessness or depression overload.

2. What are your actions during a meltdown?

Mine involved arguing with loved ones, slamming doors, swearing, hurling insults that I didn't mean, shaking, shouting and crying. I sometimes slapped myself in the face or head as a means of being frustrated with myself.

3. Can you control meltdowns somehow or know that you're having one or even remember them afterwards?

I suppose I could control them if I really, really tried. But controling outbursts took up a lot of energy that I thought I might burst a blood vessel if I held it all in. So rearing up and yelling and shouting was a release and a way to get other people to understand how frustrated or depressed I was feeling. Expressing anger and depression calmly didn't feel enough. I always remembered afterwards and even during the outbursts I knew what I was doing but the adrenaline was too intense to be able to control.

4. What makes your meltdown worse once you have started?

With me it was people telling me not to shout because they were more worried about what people outside thought than how I was feeling. People seemed to think that outbursts can just be switched off like a switch by yelling "sshh!" or "stop whining!" or "I'm trying to watch the TV!" or "you sound like a little kid!" Saying those sorts of things was like throwing water on a chip fryer fire - my heart would pump even faster and would release so much more adrenaline that I'd just be angrier and would threaten to cut my throat with a knife if they said The Forbidden Words once more. Luckily I never had the guts to harm myself, no matter how angry I got.

5. What helps calm you down?

Being reassured often helped, depending on what the trigger for the outburst was. Or having someone calmly discussing the issue or just cuddling me and telling me everything will be all right. Patience and understanding was a good way of calming me down, although I know how exasperating it must have felt for the people I lived with and so being calm and patient wasn't always easy when someone is going ape around you over something stupid.
Also lots of crying usually got the rest of the anger out.

These days if I start getting angry, I just cry myself dry and sip juice. For some reason sipping juice often calms me down instantly.

What is a typical meltdown like for you?


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Edna3362
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29 May 2022, 4:36 pm

Meltdowns. Not shutdowns.

1. Emotions. Reactionary emotions as opposed to intense senses or situations itself.
It won't matter if it's overwhelmingly positive or negative.

2. Violent. If not violent, then anything I'd do are relatively just loud and over the top or manic-like hyperactivity.
If not hitting and throwing things, it'll mean squeezing the heck out of everything.

3. Relatively. There are lines I wouldn't cross and grip myself in it, yet tempted to do so let it go in abandon like fashion for the sake of expressing it.
I have an actual ability to just move, walk away and leave before I "express" things further.

4. Most interventions actually made my case worse if I'm initially angry or in negative state.
Whether it's ignoring me or not right after interacting -- best to ignore me to begin with while I get away from the place.
Ignoring me when I'm initially positive as well. I'd annoy the hell out of everyone.

5. Move.
Better if something to keep me moving until all those energies go out. Like working out while at it. Usually it's just walking and not talking when it's initially out of anger.
If not, it's a squeeze and pull fest.


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Last edited by Edna3362 on 29 May 2022, 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Earthbound_Alien
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29 May 2022, 4:37 pm

I can't find my tickle, people keep pulling me away from my hobbies, sensory overload, too much social interaction, people mess with my beloved obsessions and keep trying to cure me of them...I don't want my obsessions cured. People mess with my routines when it's not wanted.

I shout, scream, throw things, rant or cry

Consolantionss do not help...i am not interested, leave it alone and it will fizzle out of its own accord. Interfering can make it worse as you don't understand

Ie you don't need your tickle, or quiet time, the sensation I'm feeling is not painful to you, you don't love you hobbies like I do, they are time fillers to you.

I don't hate myself, I want to allowed to be myself

Stop with the social pressure, I'm more social when I actually feel like it

Stop forcing me...Stop forcing me



Earthbound_Alien
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29 May 2022, 4:47 pm

I may have had an iq of 143, but I was not developmentally normal...behind but infront at the same time.

Stop trying to make me normal, Stop it

I write essays and do research but I'm not developmentally normal.

Stop forcing me

I know how to stop my meltdowns, I've lived with them forever

Stop forcing me to be normal and let me do what I was made for.



Earthbound_Alien
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29 May 2022, 4:51 pm

Intellectually I was smart with a good memory but emotionally I'm a child and always will be.

I need my tickle

I'm stressed...I'm staying at someone's house and they are very nice but they talk a lot when I need to quiet and I don't know how to tell them..

And I can't rub my tickle... silky material I like to rub

He looked at me funny when I said I was autistic

I need my tickle



Earthbound_Alien
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29 May 2022, 4:52 pm

Anti depressants never helped me, they made me suicidal, horrible things

I want to go home



klanka
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29 May 2022, 5:04 pm

If I put a lot of effort into something for months or years and then it doesn't work out



Elgee
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29 May 2022, 11:39 pm

Sometimes I wonder if I'm "autistic enough" because I seem to be the only autistic who doesn't have meltdowns. I had one at preschool age in response to a frightening, unfamiilar noise down the street, and I became unravled about age seven during a fireworks show (the noise). And that's it.

I've lost my temper, but NTs lose their temper all the time, so I don't consider these episodes meltdowns. I'll cuss and slug a wall or kick it if something unexpectedly doesn't go my way, but these moments last only several seconds, then they're over. The longest might be 10 seconds of cussing and several slugs to the wall. Then I set out to find a solution.

I've had "internal" meltdowns for many years. I'll imagine I'm trashing the place out of frustration over an unexpected situation, as I sit there tensely in disbelief over the situation. I imagine throwing chairs, swiping everything off my desk, etc. I imagine viewing the aftermath. It all happens inside my head and lasts maybe 10 seconds.



kraftiekortie
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29 May 2022, 11:43 pm

“Internal” meltdowns count, too.

I get both kinds….though I could certainly control myself better than I do.

I’m fortunate, in 41 years at my job, that I didn’t have a meltdown at an inopportune time.



IsabellaLinton
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29 May 2022, 11:53 pm

Autism meltdowns:

Usually sensory-based from sounds, lights, scent, too many people around me
They start with feelings of impatience and panic from sensory-overload
I end up putting my hands over my ears, sitting on the ground or floor, sometimes rocking
I go silent when I'm in public but I'm demonstrably upset (sitting on the ground covering ears)
If I can't get out of the place I become angry
It feels like my arms go heavy and full of fire
I get tunnel vision with my thoughts (ruminating the same panic phrases over and over again)
I start cursing under my breath or getting snappy with people
Then I make a scene having to dart out of the place and collapse in a heap outside
It's a fight-flight feeling to escape the sensory overwhelm

If I'm at home I might throw something or slam a door
I don't really cry or speak

The only way to recover is being alone in the dark, or in my pillow fort for hours.


Emotional Flashbacks (Trauma Meltdowns):

Usually started if I feel helpless, manipulated, shamed, or deceived
I can't process two emotions at the same time or else I flood / short-circuit
I get a feeling of disbelief that my trauma is happening again
Self-blame, guilt, negative self-talk, etc.
I go into shutdown but then start writing for hours to process the emotion

Only time helps with trauma meltdowns ^



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30 May 2022, 9:04 am

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Caz72
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30 May 2022, 11:10 am

Quote:
1. What sort of thing often triggers your meltdowns?


anxiety.panic.something or someone what makes me angry

Quote:
2. What are your actions during a meltdown?


shouting.stamping my feet.hitting out.and breaking objects and sometimes need to be restrained until im calm but at this stage i dont understand what im doing and i just shut down and need to sleep

Quote:
3. Can you control meltdowns somehow or know that you're having one or even remember them afterwards?


when im at work i can to an extent but i have had a meltdown at work before but luckilly my boss understands.but if i gone into shutdown mode i cant control anything

Quote:
4. What makes your meltdown worse once you have started?


people egging me on but otherwise not much once im having a meltdown you just have to let is run its course

Quote:
5. What helps calm you down?


being alone or not talking to people and sleep


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LenJ
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30 May 2022, 11:40 am

Mine are usually shutdowns and they're triggered by things being out of my control, like if I have a particularly bad day where nothing's going right, if I'm being expected to do more than I can handle or if I've not had enough downtime to de-stress (I need more downtime than most just to function).

My actions are typically withdrawal from conversations and situations, sometimes quite abruptly, looking for somewhere quiet where I can be alone and feeling blank/ numb. If anyone tries to engage me in conversation and has ignored all the obvious signs I need space it can turn into a meltdown (shouting and general nastiness before withdrawing and usually crying out of shame, wondering what's wrong with me- I don't often get to this stage but it's hard to snap out of once I do).

I can't control shutdowns as they usually creep up on me but I can usually prevent the following meltdown so long as other people allow me to retreat!

The things that make my shutdowns worse are people ignoring all the signs and making demands of me regardless, and when that escalates into a meltdown the absolute worst thing someone can do is try to provoke me ( an unfortunate habit my mother has).

The only thing that makes me feel better is being alone in a quiet place. If I'm home I get in bed. Otherwise I may just shut my eyes for a while, or state into space and wait for some clarity to return, when I usually realise I'm completely exhausted! Sometimes I'll message a friend after a meltdown but I usually feel guilty after for spewing so much negativity their way, even if they've been completely understanding about it :/.



Sol the Mighty
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06 Jun 2022, 9:48 am

I don't think I've had one?
I've had moments of my life (I call them blackout moments) where everything goes black and I'm a disembodied conscious floating in the void for a second before I'm shoved back into my body. This saved me from being stung by a jellyfish but also made me scream at my mom for no reason. And I've had anxiety attacks where it's hard to control my thoughts and I can't stop crying.
I don't think I've had a full on meltdown, but I've had my blackouts, attacks, and depressive states.
And wait, feeling numb is a thing you guys get too?! Sometimes my emotions just decide to clock out for five minutes and I've ended friendships this way or felt nothing for stressful situations.
I can get really nasty at my family as well, especially if I just wanna be left alone and for them to stop talking and then I wanna start crying and I'm angry and I kind of want to rip someone's head off at the same time I want to bawl. But most times my family will leave me be for an hour or two and I'll be okay.



HeroOfHyrule
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12 Jun 2022, 12:36 am

1. What sort of thing often triggers your meltdowns?

Being in loud and/or crowded environments, and prolonged stress/frustration.

2. What are your actions during a meltdown?

Before I have meltdowns I nervously stim a lot, make involuntary grunting(?) noises, get more disoriented the closer I get to one, get the intense urge to isolate myself, etc. When I actually have a meltdown I can scream, cry, and/or hit myself, and usually try to isolate myself if I haven't already done that.

3. Can you control meltdowns somehow or know that you're having one or even remember them afterwards?

I can't control meltdowns. For me a meltdown is the result of anxiety, frustration, and/or sensory overload building up to the point where I can't handle it anymore and lose control. As an adult I can recognize when I'm going to have a meltdown, and sometimes when I am currently having one. I don't always remember much of what happened after them though, especially more intense ones.

4. What makes your meltdown worse once you have started?

People trying to talk to me or interfere with whatever I'm doing stresses me out more and can make my meltdowns worse. Not being able to remove myself from whatever caused it will make it worse, too.

5. What helps calm you down?

When it gets to the point where I have a meltdown I just have to "let it out". Not much calms me down at that point.


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ThisTimelessMoment
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12 Jun 2022, 9:45 am

I have been avoiding this thread. Reading but not posting. But here goes...

I have had multiple meltdowns and some with quite negative outcomes. That said, as I will mention below, there have been some positives.
It is usually a combination of exhaustion and frustration. Sometimes there may be a sensory component.
I had one in a work environment which lead to me being arrested for assault. It was a verbal assault, though it did involve death threats, so pretty serious. The charges were eventually dropped but it was very stressful. It was a result of feeling myself in an impossible situation between upper management and staff. Yes, I was in a management position! How's that for not knowing oneself! It didn't last.
When I have a meltdown I get very angry and don't have much self control. I shout and swear and threaten. I might throw things and hit stuff. I have never hit another person. Something seems to stop me.

A while back I had one when we (me, my partner and her son) came back from a weekend away. Like a typical teenager (19) when we got home he took his stuff out the car and disappeared into his room. Leaving us to move everything. A car and trailer full. I was exhausted after driving for hours. I lost it and shouted at him. His mother got involved and I had a meltdown.
I usually have enormous trouble letting go of the energy of anger and rage after these events. In this instance his mother made him come and talk to me. I was still fuming but when I saw him come around the corner crying, I burst into tears of immediate remorse. He was appologising for not helping. I hugged him and gushed some very emotional stuff. I apologised and told him this was partly my autism and partly my trauma. (See below)
Since that event our connection has been MUCH better. I always had trouble connecting with him and felt I would go a bit mute around him, not knowing what to say and not wanting to try too hard and be pushy either. We recently went on a hike together and things are finally in a better place between us.

A few years back during some very deep personal work, I had a meltdown. It came the night after a deep experience of going into my trauma. After that experience I was actually in a bliss state. I felt wonderful! The next night we went out to some friends place and I, feeling on top of things and without thinking, got very drunk. We all got very drunk. On getting home I realized I wouldn't be able to sleep so tried to put the kettle on for some tea. In my uncoordinated state the plastic kettle would not sit neatly on its base. That's all it took. What followed was very intense and long lasting. I will only subject you to some of it.
I yelled, cursed, swore and broke stuff (the poor kettle didn't make it). I punched the tailgate of my pickup truck so hard I nearly broke my hand and imprinted my knuckles in the metal. Given how old and solid it is, that's quite a feat. I yelled at a security guard who luckily didn't escalate things after I told him I live there. At some point I took all my clothes off and was yelling "I just want to die! I just want to die!". It was very ugly and upsetting for my partner. She is, lucky for me, a wise lady and could see that it was related to expressing my trauma. We had a very serious series of talks afterwards and managed to sort things out between us. It was an incredibly difficulty time that was massively wrenching on my body, mind and emotions as well as my relationship. It precipitated a period of ill health and seeking medical help. Realising the effects of the trauma on my body. Having navigated all of that I am in a much better place now than I was before. I understand myself a lot better. I believe it is still an ongoing, unfolding process of self discovery. For one thing it caused me to take much more notice of my body, which has been very helpful.

One final thing.
My trauma comes, largely, from growing up in a house with my father who was probably aspie and also had meltdowns. When he lost it with me and my brother, we would get beaten by him while he was in a meltdown like rage. I believe there is a connection between his own childhood trauma and his meltdowns. Not saying the meltdown was caused by the trauma, but rather the rage at the trauma got triggered when in the meltdown kicked in. I'm still teasing this one out, trying to understand so any input here would be much appreciated.

For me the most traumatic part was not the beating, but the rage. It was completely terrifying and I felt like this person was going to kill me. It has caused a lifelong freeze response that has really been a big problem in my life.
I am not sure whether my brother was on the spectrum. He was dyslexic. He also had this rage/meltdown/trauma issue. Except he used to get physical with people. This eventually led to him killing himself in frustration at not being able to control it.
I am curious if anyone else can relate at all. Am I just making excuses for my father's deep problems and his treatment of me, which while loving was also very much not OK in some aspects? These events certainly seemed to be meltdown like. They involved a loss of control at frustrating and sometimes stimulation overload circumstances.
Any thoughts?


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