Hi all, my first post. I'm 55 and was diagnosed with a SpLD (Dyspraxia) in 2003, but it never fit. My daughter has been diagnosed with Aspies and me too just recently. It's helped a lot, but doesn't stop the pain. I had a meltdown today. I was trying to get my pigheaded colleague to authorise something but he kept throwing it back at me telling me things I already knew and what I should be doing but he didn't give me what I needed. The crazy thing is, I've been doing the job for about 3 years and him only a few months, so he's treating me like I don't know anything just because he's a senior grade. I couldn't get him to see logic. This isn't the first time and I know he doesn't respect me. I had a meltdown and couldn't stop. It's like acid brain and there's little me inside watching the tears and frustration, sobbing in the ladies' loos, and I have no control. I made my lovely boss cry as I told her to go away when she was just trying to help. I could her an upset wobble in her voice but I couldn't stop. I feel so guilty and devastated. I just want to curl up and sleep afterwards but, even if I could, I feel so ashamed afterwards I can't settle. I feel, even though I was justified in getting deeply frustrated with the lack of logic, it was still my fault I hurt people. Does this happen to you?
I feel ashamed of my actions / words after a meltdown too, I think it's perfectly normal and no wonder it's difficult to settle afterwards with all of that adrenaline running through the system! It still happens to me (in my 40's) although much less these days compared to when I was younger. Sometimes I can control it / reign it in, sometimes not, but I think the main thing that's changed over the years is that my life is generally less stressful as I've gotten older.
I think most of the time my meltdowns have been justified in that I was dealing with what, to me, were impossible or impossibly stressful situations. I now, since my diagnosis of HFA, feel that I'd just reached 'overload' and see the meltdowns as a sort of 'crash'. For that reason, I don't feel that it was "my fault" that I hurt people and I don't think you should either.
All of the things that cause a meltdown are things we're not doing on purpose so what I've tried to do is eliminate as many of the causes as possible because, at the moment anyway, I don't know how to change my reactions to these things (frustration, hurt, panic, anger, etc.). When I feel these feelings building I try to head them off by either removing myself from the situation to allow myself the time and space to think clearly, or removing the (usually environmental) irritation from the equation if possible. It doesn't always work because I don't always know what the problem is but it helps sometimes.
There are times when I've felt I needed to apologise to people for things I've said (or more likely the volume I've said them at!) or things I've done (slamming doors or throwing things) during a meltdown but I've always made it clear that I'm only apologising for the WAY that I've expressed myself, not for HAVING the feelings / opinions etc. that led to me acting that way. ie. "I'm sorry that I shouted but you were being an ass." :)
I hope this is relevant to your question and maybe even helpful in some way.
Thanks so much for those wise and helpful words. I'm going to work in an office on my own again. I moved in to this office with my two colleagues as my boss wanted me to feel part of the team and have people to hand to help and be helped. I've tried for months but they're both noisy, with loud voices. They're trying to be quiet for me but that just means they're walking on eggshells. They can't have their radio on and I know they wish they could. So all round it'd be best for me to move. X