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Autumn78
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10 Aug 2022, 1:42 pm

Any tips on how to overcome a huge meltdown at age 44? My distress is being taken for a tantrum and I'm losing friends because of the judgment. This is overwhelming.



DanielW
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10 Aug 2022, 1:56 pm

Autumn78 wrote:
Any tips on how to overcome a huge meltdown at age 44? My distress is being taken for a tantrum and I'm losing friends because of the judgment. This is overwhelming.


Meltdowns and burn-outs happen at any age. Please don't shame yourself further, if you could control it you would. That's what makes it different from a tantrum. I'm sorry your friends are not being kind, and I hope you can get away from whatever is causing this overload for you.



Autumn78
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10 Aug 2022, 2:03 pm

DanielW,
Thank you. I needed to hear that from someone who understands. I lice in a small town where my condition is seen as rare.
I couldn't help the way I acted. I know that. I've been trying desperately to explain myself to people whom I thought understood me. The more I explain, the more they criticize me.
I stopped explaining and came online to find others who actually understood.



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10 Aug 2022, 2:05 pm

you're in the right place, Autumn 8) 8)



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10 Aug 2022, 2:10 pm

Meltdowns can happen without warning, and they're hard to control. Your friends don't seem to understand. It's too bad your friends don't understand that. Sweet Pea hugs.


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Autumn78
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10 Aug 2022, 2:11 pm

Thank you. I'm feeling very lost in this world. Incredibly misunderstood. To have people actually understand. Woe. These are tears I can handle.



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10 Aug 2022, 10:37 pm

Welcome to wrong planet. I wish it was under better circumstances.

Meltdowns(and shutdowns) are the result of a buildup but can be triggered by the seemingly most trivial thing but it is that "trivial" thing that can put you over the edge. Unfortunately, the rest of the world sees you melting down over that "trivial" thing and judges you for that.

What to do? Sometimes you do feel it coming on, you might feel more stressed and find that "pretending to be normal" gets harder to maintain, and you start to "slip" and you begin to act "more autistic". When possible, and this is often easier said than done find some "me time/alone time" and de-stress by being your more autistic self. That varies by individual but it could be delving into your "special interests", "stimming".

This is the part where the "spoon theory" is brought out. It was started by a lady with lupus but many autistic people find it "explains a lot". The theory posits that everybody has a limited amount of "spoons" they can take until they "lose it". Each time one does something they use a spoon. If one is disabled or has an illness of some sort one uses more spoons to do activities that "normal" people do and thus runs out of spoons faster.

Spoon Theory and Autism by by Lynn McCann

Quote:
Let’s imagine that the social, sensory and intellectual energy an autistic person has each day can be measured in spoons.

An autistic person can start the school or college or work day with a full drawer (which may be only half as full as a typical child) or with some of their spoons already used up in dealing with the demands of getting there. Depending on various factors such as whether they slept, if their family remembered to say goodbye the right way, if their clothes are itching their skin, if their routine was changed, or any number of other seemingly incidental events, they may be starting the day with, say, only 5 spoons instead of 10.

Then they need to start using their spoons. Each set of instructions, each set of work demands, each time they have to organise themselves, follow a complex set of instructions or cope with change, and each social interaction may cost the autistic person a spoon. If there are sensory sensations that are overwhelming, then another spoon is used up in regulating and keeping calm. If they have to work in a group more than one spoon may be needed. Break times are not relaxing, another spoon or two is used up in coping with all the social interaction, noise and lack of structure. Some manage to save a spoon by shutting off, taking the time to be alone, so that they can cope with the next set of lessons.

I hope you can see what might be happening
You may have a colleague at work who seems not to be able to speak to you on some days, unable to socialise and seems distracted and distressed.

You might assume you need more structure in the afternoons. You might assume you need to teach the person some social skills so they can make friends at break times.

You might put all kinds of practical support in place, but it doesn’t really work.

It may just be that the autistic person has used up all their spoons. They have no communication, organisation, sensory, social or intellectual energy left. They might just be able to keep it together in the morning, but then are far too exhausted to carry on in the afternoon. Some days there may be no spoons to deal with the things they usually seem okay with. They might even be able to keep it together through the day but cannot contain themselves in the safety and familiarity of their home. Some even manage to borrow spoons from the next day but there will be a day when there are no spoons left to borrow and the person has a major meltdown.

Underlining=mine

Image courtesy of "Musings of an Aspie".
Image


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Pteranomom
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11 Aug 2022, 5:32 pm

Please don't tell people you "ran out of spoons." They won't understand.

A simple "I broke down due to stress. I'm sorry," will go a long way with most people.



ASPartOfMe
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11 Aug 2022, 6:35 pm

Pteranomom wrote:
Please don't tell people you "ran out of spoons." They won't understand.

A simple "I broke down due to stress. I'm sorry," will go a long way with most people.

Like the lady with lupus, you would have to explain the spoon theory first.

Whether you tell them you keep on breaking down due to stress or running out of spoons some are going to judge you as a fragile snowflake.

The theory is most useful for the disabled and ill in these ways
1. Explanation
2. Explanation leading to self-forgiveness
3. Awareness to help minimize meltdowns and especially public ones.
4. Less stress is always better


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18 Aug 2022, 10:10 am

Meltdowns.

Stress is cumulative in nature. It builds up and finally reaches a breaking point that produce a meltdown. Even a very small item can put you over the edge and produce a meltdown. But if you can learn to remove your level of stress, you can eliminate your future meltdowns.

One of the ways to remove stress from your body is extreme exercise. It doesn't have to be hours but rather minutes of extreme exercise that will cause you to return back to normal.

One of the reasons why NTs (“Neurotypical”) do not experience the same amount of meltdowns as Aspies (and others on the spectrum) is that they generally are more involved in stress relief (exercise).


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