Would this be considered a meltdown?

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johnnyflowers
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25 Mar 2023, 10:05 am

Hi all. Can someone help explain this behavior to me? Do you think it's normal behavior for a woman or would this fall into ASD behavior? It seemed a little over the top to me. I believe her to be on spectrum somewhere. She displays a lot of behaviors that match.

Yesterday all was going well with my GF and I. Later in the afternoon we decided to go workout in our home (separately). We both have our own workout rooms. She also wanted to try on some clothes for a funeral we are attending on Tuesday. We said to each other: lets workout and then meet in the kitchen in an hour or so for dinner (she was going to throw some chicken in the oven during her workout). I noticed her still in her room past the hour mark so I just took my time and arrived in the kitchen after about 90 minutes instead of 60 minutes. She didn't seem to care.

I walked in the kitchen and in my cheerful fun way said hello! She replied Hi in a very subdued and depressed way. She was clearly not herself. Something was wrong. Her disposition seemed to turn on a dime. She was fine 90 minutes ago.

I just went and sat at the dinner table not saying anything. Then she came over with dinner plates, sat down, and started crying. She was complaining that she doesn't fit into any of her clothes, she feels gross, and now she doesn't even want to go on Tuesday. In addition to that, she said she felt rushed to get dinner and that it didn't turn out well etc etc. She was visibly upset and frustrated and tearing up etc. The whole thing seemed really overblown for what she was complaining about. Finding some clothes to wear for Tuesday and making some chicken breasts in the oven caused this? Now, keep in mind, I never demand anything around dinner. I don't tell her to have dinner done by a certain time. I don't demand any kind of dinner. I always tell her don't worry about dinner we can have a peanut butter sandwich for all I care. Not a big deal.

After a while, her distress began to upset to me and then I began to feel bad. I think for me it was because she just went into her own world and didn't really communicate it to me along the line. And she just goes into this own world and doesn't really reach out to me and include me for help. She just complains and cries like its the end of the world.

It makes me feel like I'm just in her way. Then of course my reaction communicating these things that began to make me feel bad made matters worse. Finally I hugged her and she said she needed 30 minutes alone. That further made me feel bad because I felt like I was part of the problem and had done nothing. But whenever she has these "meltdowns" she needs time alone. I'm just the opposite. If I felt like that it would make me feel better to talk to her and be around her.

Can someone help me understand this behavior? Is this ASD related? Is this a meltdown? Normal for a woman? It just seemed so over the top for the situation and just came out of the blue. Everything was going so well.



IsabellaLinton
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25 Mar 2023, 10:29 am

In my opinion as an autistic woman:

No that wasn't a meltdown and no it wasn't even ASD behaviour.
It had nothing to do with her gender either.

This was a person having a bad day and feeling insecure about a looming social commitment, about their self-concept or body-image, and about their responsibilities or financial burdens (buying new clothes).

Then, she had a witness to her upset suggest that her feelings were "overblown" or "out of the blue".
That actually counts as gaslighting.
We don't get to judge whether or not other people's feelings are valid, or if their timing suits our needs.

She expressed her feelings and her reasons to you, and she sounds like a totally rational person.
I hope you're out with her today, helping her find something else to wear for the funeral.

My condolences on your loss.


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The_Face_of_Boo
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25 Mar 2023, 10:38 am

Take turns in making dinner.


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DanielW
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25 Mar 2023, 10:44 am

Nope not a meltdown....not even close. The response is understandable given the circumstances. Finding an appropriate outfit for a funeral can be stressful. To find out at the last minute that the planned outfit doesn't fit is stressful. Screwing up dinner is stressful. Saying you'd rather eat a sandwich than something someone prepares is not helpful. (if someones usual job is to do the cooking, and they feel like the just failed - making yourself a sandwich instead will only make them feel worse - not better.)

None of the behaviors you listed are "autistic". Most people having that kind of day would respond in the same way.



FleaOfTheChill
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25 Mar 2023, 12:07 pm

johnnyflowers wrote:

After a while, her distress began to upset to me and then I began to feel bad. I think for me it was because she just went into her own world and didn't really communicate it to me along the line. And she just goes into this own world and doesn't really reach out to me and include me for help. She just complains and cries like its the end of the world.


She did communicate with you. She told you what was wrong and you totally downplayed and dismissed it.

I'm in agreement with what others have said, no, it's not autistic behavior, it's normal human behavior.



DanielW
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25 Mar 2023, 9:21 pm

FleaOfTheChill wrote:
johnnyflowers wrote:

After a while, her distress began to upset to me and then I began to feel bad. I think for me it was because she just went into her own world and didn't really communicate it to me along the line. And she just goes into this own world and doesn't really reach out to me and include me for help. She just complains and cries like its the end of the world.


She did communicate with you. She told you what was wrong and you totally downplayed and dismissed it.

I'm in agreement with what others have said, no, it's not autistic behavior, it's normal human behavior.


Seriously, She told you exactly what was wrong, how she was feeling. At that point what did you (OP) do to help with those feelings? SHE didn't communicate? Yes, she did. If your response was to be upset about how she made you feel, I can see why she doesn't make a habit of reaching out to you and would rather be alone to process her feelings on her own if that's what happens regularly.



Mountain Goat
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26 Mar 2023, 3:22 am

The origional poster is a responsible Dad trying to be the best he can be.
Sometimes certain children do need quiet times after a time of frustration.
Yes, it was a little over emotional but teenagers do that at times. This was not exactly a meltdown as this is more like what would lead to a possible meltdown if the individual tended to get them. Does not mean the person is or is not on the spectrum. Domewhere I read that 60% of those on the spectrum have meltdowns and 60% have the lesser known (Lesser known to the public) shutdowns and around 20% on the spectrum have neither.
I only after most of my life having shutdowns without knowing what they were called or being able to describe them to doctors, kind of fell onto the discovery that they were linked to autism (Though not exclusively to) a few years ago just before I joined this site, and on asking questions here I discovered they were called shutdowns. I have had meltdowns but these are rare for me as I found they take a day of building up of pressure and I would have them in the evenings when all was quiet but my mind was anything but, as my mind was on overload? But rarely get them. Maybe averaging once every couple of years if that? As normally too much mental pressure would send me into a shutdown instead which for me was "Normal" but apparently not so normal as a human being? (To me, being on the floor when my body loses its ability to hold itself up if I am in the wrong enviroment that triggers such an occasion is part of life and inconvenient at best, or pretty stressful and extremely draining if I can't remove myself from the enviroment before my body shuts down because then I will get repeated shutdowns. Usually when I feel one coming, I have enough stength before I shut down so I can get myself out of the enviroment and this then allows me to recover, so I can avoid a full out shutdown but life does not always allow me to remove myself from such an enviroment in time. But what I am saying is that the same enviromental triggers or stresses etc can cause some to shut down and others to have meltdowns. So in this way, the situation of stress can lead to a meltdosn or a shutdown. But sitting quietly is a natural way of recovering from the stress for introverted people. Extroverts will need hugs and attention etc. (Introverts appreciate hugs too but it may not be what they need at the time). One thing that happens to those who get meltdowns or shutdowns is they can have a difficulty or an impossibility of explaining how they feel during the time they are going in for the experience (And even after! Why it took me most of my life to try to explain to anyone what I was experiencing as I had no words touse that people could understand and whule having a shutdown if I tried to talk I could guatantee I would have repeat shutdowns, so the worst thing for me was having people ask me questions (Such as at a hospital) while having a shutdown and tapping my hand or face etc as once while having a blood test at a hospital (To find out what was causing the shutdowns as assumed they had a physical cause as never thought of mental) a nurse assumed they were fainting and kept going through the "What is your name?" etc proceedure. I was there for six hours going in and out of shutdowns and ended up in A&E where a very clever foreign doctor asked if I was on the autism spectrum and suggested that I needed to be assessed.
(Not assessed yet as been waiting for nearly four years as their waiting lists are long though they are doing all they can in the circumstances). One thing I will say is that shutdowns do effect ones life as due to not being diagnosed, things esculated into burnout/bteakdown experiences (Unsure which as not been assessed yet) which take a long time to recover from (Years to be honest), which I have had several. Had I been diagnosed earlier I would have been able to see the signs and avoided these experiences, and due to them I have lost out in life as had to give up a good job and give up my home, my camper, my classic car, my hopes and dreams etc, etc. (Now have new re-adjusted hopes and dreams... As one must have something to aim for!)

I may not have answered the question correctly but I hope it helps explain a few things. Extroverts need hugs for recovery from a stressful experience and introverts need an "Alone" time, and this is the same for allistic people as well as autistic. (Allistic means "Not on the spectrum", which is a more complete form of the term NT or Neuro Typical, where Neuro Diverse (ND) means someone on the spectrum. BAP is someone inbetween the two which stands for Broad Autism Phenominum).



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26 Mar 2023, 4:51 am

If she needs 30 minutes alone it doesn't mean you're part of the problem. It just means she needs 30 minutes alone.

Please don't try to infer more than what she says because in my experience when we try to guess at what people mean but didn't say, we usually get it wrong and that leads to further misunderstandings.


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