Ok I know shutdowns are not great at any time, but yesterday I had one that was particularly embarrassing.
My workload has increased lately and I have been aware my stress levels were rising. It was only after yesterday that I realised this has been building for a while.
I had to be part of a day long meeting consisting of numerous presentations and I had to present as well. I thought there would be 10 people in the room maximum, but this was closer to 30 when I walked in, which I wasn't prepared for. We also started to run behind schedule so there was no real breaks and a working lunch. My breaks and lunch are normally when I focus on resting and keeping myself fueled so this also impacted. The day was also full of masses of information from different people that I was struggling to keep up with/take in. Finally, when I had to present I was ok for the first two thirds of the presentation, then I started to feel unwell. Due to my concentration on the presentation, I hadn't realised a shutdown was creeping up on me. What resulted was me stuttering and stumbling over my words, speaking sentences backwards and generally not making sense. I stopped the presentation to say I needed a drink of water as I was feeling faint. I then tried to carry on, but my hearing went very fuzzy, I could no longer read what I was presenting and finally my vision went to which point I panicked and ran out. I was found by the first aider in a slumped heap outside the building. To make things worse I was non-verbal for 5 minutes, so then people didn't know if I was being hypoglycemic or whether I was having a stroke!
I just wanted some quite in a dark room, but couldn't say that. I finally managed to say I needed some water and something sweet - I find this helps with brain function and getting things kick-started quicker. Finally I was taken to the first aid room to rest, but the lights were awful and the smell of disinfectant was overwhelming. I spent the evening feel terrible at home like I was trying to function whilst wearing a lead suit. My head was banging and I felt incredibly anxious.
Whether this is just the anxiety affecting my judgement, I am not sure, but I am now worrying how people at work will judge me. The only person who knows about my ASD is my boss and he kind of put two and two together. It's my colleagues I worry about as it is a dog eat dog type of place at times, where I woiuldn't want my weaknesses to be made public.
I'm not sure what to do now as work is obviously impacting on me, so need to speak to my boss, but worry they will start to think I am not up to the job anymore.
Well today I have been feeling groggy and my anxiety levels are peaking, so that probably explains my initial jump to conclusions on everyone's assumptions at work. Most will probably be concerned as you rightly pointed out, so I am now focusing on trying not to dwell on what others think/might judge of me etc. It's just difficult as I always find these episodes knock your confidence tenfold.
I will just explain I was feeling unwell to people at work and leave it at that. I find it hard to explain to people who know about my diagnosis as well. My partner is worrying about me, so I am trying to reassure him whilst being honest, but I don't think I explain it in a way he understands. He thinks spontaneously taking me out for a meal will make me feel better and take my mind off things, but that just makes my anxiety much worse and I end up getting stroppy and indecisive as a result. It's hard to try and explain to people what you need without confusing matters further, especially as I struggle to ask for help.
Yes such situations do increase anxiety levels and a punch to our self confidence. You must have used quite some determination to go in today Some of the YouTube videos by leading people in Field of autism explain things well. Sarah Hendrickx does one about anxiety amongst other things. There might be one about overwhelm. I just posted a thread in the parents and carers section. Even though it’s aimed towards children I just kept thinking yes that’s me over and over. It’s trying to find a way to put things across to others. The videos are matter of fact, caring and sometimes funny so it takes the emotional intensity out of it that might happen when we try to explain ourselves. Yes I’ve been the person reacting to a sudden decision in exactly the same way so I have been there. I think some of the things I’ve done which caused distress and humiliation have blacked out. There might be something you could show your partner. Seeing the videos kind of “normalises” scenarios because you’re not the only one, it’s part of who you are and it’s part of the condition. Is there a way that your partner could do something for you so that he feels he’s helped..instead of creating further angst? Let me know what you think to the link if you watch it ...the person speaking knows her stuff . I’m tired now so reply a bit jumbled