Tuesday, December 04, 2012

So that's what a meltdown is!

Reposted from an ASD forum just to remind me what it's like to experience a meltdown.  The experience is completely normal to me, but I'm just starting to realise how un-normal these feelings are and how ASD they are.  Useful stuff! Apologies for weird formatting.

"Urgh too tired - everyone been ill and my lungs are full of gack (it's a technical term, honestly...) - ended up having a meltdown today at a kids soft play place. Horrible feeling. I was in the ball pit and suddenly couldn't tolerate all the balls being thrown around (too visually distracting I think), started to feel my chest tighten so made sure someone was looking out for M and escaped. Bought a magma warm coffee and got so stressed carrying it around as adults kept on nearly walking into me. Really trying not to spill it on the kids whilst their mothers are backing into me... A bit hungry and feeling quite disorientated by now, and unable to judge distance (this is hindsight). Tried to call M for lunch, but he's inside a huge climbing frame having the time of his life.....

Spill coffee on my hands a couple of times but ignore it, finally get him to come out, realise the coffee is burning my hands, some lady is talking to me about some
thing, cant remember what happened next but I ended up just dropping my coffee on the floor as I couldn't move from where I was (too many moving targets). Apologised (I think), lady told me to go hold my hand under cold water so I did. She then said I hadn't held it under long enough as my hand was still red, but I couldn't explain that's what my skin does. I tried, but I'm not sure if I was speaking. Got Michael to the place they were serving food. Saw a friend of mine who has ASD kids and burst into tears in her, and had a big hug which was great as I could just block everything out and know M was safe. Just horrible!

What was so scary was how out of touch with reality I was through most of the above - I've had them before but I didn't realise the extent to which I take them inside. D lets all out and I'm so glad! At least it gives me a chance to hold her, or try and find her space to let it all out. What was so weird was deja vu after all of the above - I spent so much of my childhood feeling so overwhelmed and frightened by all the sensory stimuli around me, I hadn't realised that those were my meltdown! Sorry to make it about my, but I'm trying to get a handle on it so I can understand and support D better."

And then I carry on, because why say in 1 word what you can say in 100?

 ps I really am sorry to witter on, but it's useful (to me) to reflect on the role sensory stuff plays in all this. I'd been using chewing gum to keep me steady through deep pressure but was feeling so tired I went for the coffee! If I'd kept going with the chewing gum I would have had my deep pressure crutch, but obviously got rid of that so couldn't cope. As I put the chewing gum away, a little voice did say to me that I was throwing away my support and I should watch out, but of course I only remembered that in retrospect! Just really helps me understand D so much more - I mean meltdowns look so violent and horrible, I technically know they are not on the inside, but to have the actual feeling of one and work with that to help D feels quite positive."

and finally....

"I was only writing about it as it felt so positive afterwards to understand what had happened. I've not been formally dx as ASD yet, although the Psych I spoke to informally seemed to think I was but I have been dx with Sensory Processing Issues. I think today was sensory processing induced meltdown but one of the things that really interested me afterwards was simply NOT being able to communicate. My daughter has a separate speech and language disorder and delay on top of being asd and spd and I've never got it quite as much as I did today. I have a friend whose child's meltdown's are on the inside, and I realised that' pretty much where I am. It was so interesting to realise that was the same reaction that my daughter is happening even she is much louder. Glad it was useful, as I said I spent most of my childhood in a place of not being able to communicate through being constantly overwhelmed, and I;d forgotten how completely "squashed" I would feel as a result. Its one thing reading the official language of how to deal with your child, but another being able to identify the same experience in yourself :)"