Catching A Meltdown.

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If i do too much, or if i push through the anxiety rather than take steps to reduce the anxiety, i get more and more anxious untill i eventually i get overwhelmed or explode.

This week i pushed to hard and i did too much and it almost ended in a complete meltdown, but i managed to catch it early enough to do something about it.


On Tuesday i took a taxi into work which is stressful and something i find hard. Then i did a 1 to 1 meeting for 90 minutes which was very productive, but tiring. Then i walked to the Apple store to collect a laptop. Which was very exciting (big adventure, shiny laptop!) but also extremely stressful.

That evening i came home to a solid routine and i was very stressed but i pushed through okay.

Wednesday was similar, stressed but making it work. I visited the hub and then came home and coded.

The two events which brought all the stress and upset to the surface was the babysitter asking me about swing seats and my freind mentioning a possible change in support pattern.

The babysitter sent me photos of swing seats. I have told her i dont want a swing at home (i cant have one anyway!) so why send me pictures of seats.

She has been told VERY clearly its a no, but she keeps bringing it up. This makes me feel ignored. I have such little control over my life that making me feel ignored about something in my home when i am stressed just makes me feel even worse.

Later in the evening my friend suggested a possible change to the support pattern which would basically mean i was forced from my home 3 nights a week not 2 and my routines would all be ruined.

I didnt have the speech or ability to sign how i felt and get got frustarted as he was tired.

I just felt like shit. I could neither communicate why it was an idea i didnt like, or explain anything. In the end we left it on an awkward "lets discuss another day".

By that point the anxiety was back in full swing. I put myself to bed shortly after as i wanted to be alone.

Anyway, i slept badly, but got up and tried to make a normal day of it. I briefly chatted about the support change with a freind but it didn’t really bring any closure.

We’re waiting for social services still, so there is little point discussing "what if" situtations at length. We just dont know enough.

I then got ready to go to the hub, i tried to get there early as i was exhusted and wanted to use the sensory room, but when i got there, i didnt have the communication ability to be able to ask to use the room. It’s not my normal pattern, and i didnt have the energy to try and figure out how to ask for it "nicely" so i just sat in the bright office area.

I was at the hub to meet my advocate. The more we discussed the "what if’s" the more i go frustrated and upset.

I have very little control over the large parts of my future. That’s basically the long and the short of it, and untill social services decide what they are doing my future is entirely unknown. I keep wrapping myself in knots desperately trying to bring some structure and idea of a plan to the future. This is making me so anxious.

At the hub the anxiety escalated and escalated and i knew i was going to meltdown. I had to get out of there fast. So i packed up and left as quickly as i could.

When i am having a meltdown, often the main thoughts i have are self attacking. I am feeling useless / stupid / out of control. I just want the feelings and strong emotions to stop.

For me, when i have a meltdown i feel huge amounts of guilt for inconveniencing others. I WANT to comply and to "be good" and "not be trouble" but i cant as the anxiety is too high, i am struggling to keep control.

Walking back from the hub i spent a long time sat beside one of the busy roads fighting the urge to step out infront of a truck.

Suicidal urges are normal when i am feeling meltdownly. I just want to escape the crushing feeling. This is the first time in a while ive physcally been able to do something horrific but made a decision not too.

Once i got home, i went into my room. That stopped the light. Only then did i notice how much the light was hurting. My eyes were aching.

I stripped off all the horrible feeling clothing down to just a nappy and climbed into my bed for snuggles with lion.

At this point it stopped feeling worse and i started to get back into control.

Relax and recover.

I spent a long time in my bed with lion. Just giving him a hug. I held lion till the scary thoughts stopped and i started feeling more in control.

I also wiggled my toes and felt the sheets. They feel nice. I lie on my front so the weight is all on my chest as it makes me feel better.

I then had a text chat with my friend to explain what had happened and to check the plans for this evening.

Final words.

Today i avoided a massive meltdown. The suicidal urges etc are scary (and something which we known subside once i am better supported) but nothing bad happened this time.

To understand when i am starting too meltdown is really hard. It’s like a chain reaction, i go from no obvious external signs of being anxious to being extremely anxious in a few minutes.

The trigger today is a bunch of things, but feeling ignored is a big one. Also, lack of ability to communicate or make decisions about my future.

In an ideal world i would have been able to avoid the walk to the hub today and instead have been able to have someone come visit me for a short while to stop the anxiety before it escalated.

In the future, were aiming to arrange support each morning. It’s days like today when it will come in most useful and i will have an hour of feeling safe / supported in the morning and that will stop the anxiety from ratcheting up.

I am feeling better now, but phsycially pretty bad. Light still hurts like hell and all my joints and bone ache. I keep falling over when i got to walk.

im writing about this "now" because i want to document it for others and for myself. Also, i am writing it a new mac which i have been obbsessing about.

I cant work this afternoon, so i am now focusing on preparing for tomorrow. Tommorow i am meeting the care agencies for overnight support. They represent even less control over my future as they know nothing about autism but i am being forced to use them.

I hope sharing this is useful to understand what a meltdown feels like. Today i avoided a full meltdown because i saw it coming. In the future hopefully things wont be so stressful as the trigger them in the first place.


Spaced Out & Smiling is about exploring the fun side of Autism, and trying to understand what it means to be Autistically Happy.

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Jamie: @JamieKnight
Lion: @Lickr