Meltdowns

Most people when they think of meltdowns think of the temper tantrum-like meltdowns their children give them, or the sensory based ones. Here is my view on 2 other types of meltdowns other than sensory based. These are the most problematic for me and prevent me from doing a lot of things others my age can.

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The 2 most common causes for me to meltdown revolve around the inability to prioritize or organize thoughts, tasks, and emotions well and emotional overload.

Being unable to organize my thoughts or tasks (basically executive functioning) can be very problematic but isn’t as common lately since I haven’t been in college for a few months.

When they do happen, it’s usually related to having a big task ahead of me, but having a difficult time figuring out how to start on it. Sometimes I’ll manage to begin but I’ll start breaking down in the middle of it because I get confused or distracted a lot and lose my focus and train of thought or pattern/routine. (A good example of this was how putting away laundry took me several hours, because I couldn’t figure out where to put certain pieces of clothing at or how to fold them right. When there was leftover trash and misc objects laying around the floor, I couldn’t start picking it up until my friend came in and helped “jumpstart” the process.) I’m a smart person, I know this, but I have issues organizing my thoughts, starting on tasks and following through to the end. This becomes a HUGE problem when I’m in school. I become completely unable to retain information that I learned that day, and I’ll spend hours on a single question for homework until I’m up at 7 a.m trying to finish a worksheet due the next day. Combine that with anxiety with asking for help and I start “melting down” and breaking down into tears in frustration. These happen frequently when I’m in school and are problematic because it becomes a catch 22.

The emotional based meltdowns occur when I get overwhelmed from feeling my own emotions “too strong” and instead of being able to calm down and focus, I’ll get overloaded/overwhelmed by them and breakdown. I can’t easily organize my thoughts and calm down before I get to the breakdown point. When they happen, they’re incredibly hard to rebound from.

Usually during these, my ability to talk kinda diminishes. It becomes really hard to communicate verbally effectively. I end up repeating the same phrases over and over, and any attempt at really speaking gets muffled out by the tears. These are most likely to happen during my therapy sessions, and I’m very scared of them happening because of how bad they feel and how vulnerable I feel during them (it’s not even an issue of trust at that point, I just hate feeling that low.) When and if it happens, moving to text-based communication will greatly help and likely reduce the duration of the worst part of it.

For sensory based meltdowns in first person view, go here:
https://insidetheautisticmind.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/what-a-meltdown-feels-like/

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