Autistic Tumblr user posting about meltdown style variety

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Joined: 6 May 2016
Age: 59
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,486
Location: Missouri

28 Mar 2021, 6:21 pm

Just came across this autistic Tumblr user posting about meltdown style variety, ... -diversity

There’s Not Enough Representation of a Diversity of Ways Autistic Meltdowns Can Look.

This post will be me writing about a recent experience of mine that I personally classify as a meltdown, even though it also strikes me as not being obviously a meltdown, because it doesn’t fit into a stereotypical appearance of one.

A couple days ago I had a meltdown. From an outside perspective, what happened was that I made a food, left it in the kitchen while I escaped to my room to breathe like I was crying, and then returned down to pick it up to eat it. At which point though, I began to pace back and forth between the kitchen and living room at a very fast walking speed, and failed to deviate from the same path for nearly an hour, while managing to eat about half of the small tofudog. My friend was also home, though not in the same room until near the end of it (because they helped that be the end of it.)

From my perspective, it also included the sense that I was walking because I had to get away from the food I had in my hand, as well as the sense of obligation to eat. I also found that I had become stuck, unable to initiate a slowing down or changing of my path. I also was unable to put the food down, because I made the mistake of throwing the paper plate away, and no other surface was an Acceptable Place to put it down.

I wanted the help/comfort of my friend, because I could hear them nearby, and I trust them a lot. Unfortunately I also found myself unable to make spoken words, so I couldn’t ask. At most, I did somehow voicelessly whisper a short bit of echolalia from an old special interest, “Tasukete. Tasukete, Madoka.” not that I was heard. When I go semi-verbal, I can still respond to things that are direct prompts by other people for me to speak, such as questions. So when my friend was in the same room as me, I could respond to them fortunately. Though one question I was asked was “Do you want to sit down?” which I responded to with “I don’t know. That’s a really hard question” and a bit of crying since I had no idea. (Like, I can’t emphasize how much I had absolutely no idea how I could ever even begin to answer a question so hard.)

Eventually my friend established that they were going to block the doorway to keep me from continuing walking, which I agreed was a good idea. I softly walked into them, stopping against them. They were then hugging me and commenting on how I had successfully stopped walking. As though walking was the external flow of meltdown energy, the stopping of walking meant that the meltdown had to be directed through some other channel, in this case, crying.

Eventually I was ready to go finish crying in my bed then take a nap, so I did.

Maybe there’s just not enough representation of autistic meltdowns, but it feels like I’ve never heard of a meltdown that looks like this. That’s part of why I’m sharing this, to see if anyone does know of any, or if anyone finds that my experience is helpful and/or relatable.

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Mar 28th, 2021

"There are a thousand things that can happen when you go light a rocket engine, and only one of them is good."
Tom Mueller of SpaceX, in Air and Space, Jan. 2011