I'm confused as to whether I have meltdowns or not. Sometimes I get so frustrated I'll want to physically lash out at objects(never at other living things though)-- one time I slammed a cabinet door so hard I broke it off. But these periods of anger never last for more than a few minutes, and even if I don't lash out, it goes away. Sometimes i just sit there stimming/whimpering a lot for a few minutes. So I'm not sure if that counts as an autistic meltdown or not, or if it's just pent up anger?
I don’t think there’s a minimum amount of time that a meltdown lasts. They can be short and intense.
The one defining quality of a meltdown for me is the way it’s triggered. If I’m angry with something and it’s not meltdown related, the anger will feel proportionate to the triggering event in intensity and will feel like a logical response, if that makes sense.
Meltdowns always feel irrational to me because they’ll be triggered by some seemingly minor event. My response seems disproportionately intense for the situation, but in fact it’s not a response to just that one thing. It’s a cumulative response to all of the other little and big things that came before. The final trigger is often totally random and unpredictable.
Am I the only person who feels like Aspergers is a gift?
I don’t feel like it’s a gift exactly, but being autistic makes me who I am and it’s an important part of my identity. I don’t feel like it’s a bad thing though. Most of the time, I like being my autistic self.
Do you or any followers have methods or tips for helping with meltdowns, shutdowns, or going non-verbal? I've never particularly bothered with any procedure or mechanism for them since they did not happen regularly enough to warrant it. However recently I've started having instances of each more regularly, and can't seem to get a handle on them...
When I go through a period of more than a usual number of meltdowns/shutdowns, one of these things is usually responsible:
- big new stressor is suddenly placing too many demands on my resources
- overload from too much ongoing sensory input or lack of time alone
- too many changes in my life/environment
- stress from being overcommitted/having too many expectations
- emotionally difficult time due to big/hard life event
- transition period in life
- lack of self care (not getting enough sleep, the right food, etc)
- hormonal fluctuations
Usually by mentally shuffling through these possibilities I can find the source and try to do something to lessen my general distress level. I’ve noticed that meltdowns appear to be situational (this thing right now sucks) but are often more global and are triggered by smaller events that push me over the edge.
For example, moving to a new apartment (big stressor) doesn’t directly cause a meltdown, but the smaller frustrations of breaking a glass while I’m packing, discovering my favorite shirt is in the dirty clothes hamper or momentarily losing my keys will.