Hi, I've literally only just signed up to this page. I was recently diagnosed with autism last month after waiting 10 years. Along side with autism I have been diagnosed with extreme anxiety, which makes it even more difficult to cope in certain situations.
I was discussing autistic meltdowns with my close friends who is also autistic, and he was saying to me that he feels helpless while I'm having a meltdown because I don't like being touched or even talked to during it. Does anyone else have this? I know a few autistic people who find it helpful for people to psychically comfort them when they're extremely stressed, but I absolutely hate it and I find it makes me feel even worse. Is anyone else like this? I feel quite alone in this situation.
Thank you :)
I experience extreme anxiety and I don't like being touched.
I then run away and try to be alone and calm myself down.
I also feel quite alone in these situations.
I'm also very anxious. My clothes feel uncomfortable when I get stressed. When I'm calming down I like a hug but not while I'm going through it. I think, perhaps it is because I'm so alert I don't want any more to think about.
I'm the same. I think of it more in terms of a 'panic attack' (I'm not a fan of the term 'meltdown'), and I usually get one in a situation of extreme anxiety.
The last time a serious one happened was a couple of years back, when I was working on a supermarket produce section. I was working entirely alone on the early shift, trying to get the previous day's produce out on display before the new delivery arrived. Obviously it was important to empty the storeroom, both because of the need to rotate stock and to make space for the new stuff. I still had a lot of stuff to shift out when the delivery arrived: 11 pallets of goods, which had to be stripped down and stored before the store opened in two hours' time. I continued to try to empty the storeroom to make way for the new stock. But then a manager came up to me and asked me what the hell I was doing. I explained... but he insisted I got cracking on the pallets first. I then tried to say I needed to make space for them, and that the stock needed rotating - but he wasn't having it. 'Work the pallets! Now!' That's when my brain shut down. If I did what I was told, then newer stock would end up going on display and we'd then have to change it all later, creating more work. So I knew that the way I was doing things was 'right' in principle. But a manager was telling me they were wrong. I couldn't cope with that. I walked away and went to one of the chiller rooms, where I locked myself in. I was in there for about ten minutes, just staring at the wall, unable to mentally process anything. All the time, of course, I was making matters worse for myself because the clock was ticking against me. But I couldn't move. And I didn't want any intervention from anyone. I wanted to be entirely alone. In the end, I came out of it and went out and did what the manager had asked me to do - which, as I expected, created a lot more work later on.
It's a horrible feeling. The only time I've come close to it since is when I got lost driving on a delivery job, and ended up adding two hours onto my day. That threw me out for a couple of days - but I managed to keep it together.
Welcome. I've only been here a few days, but seems like a useful and interesting forum.
I've only had meltdowns occasionally, and before my recent diagnosis might have called them 'outbursts', 'furies' or 'fugues' and it's possible someone else might have said 'fits'. Things reach a trigger threshold when you thought you were in control. I doubt there would usually be any comfort available.
From what other people say, you're probably with the majority. In an emotional crisis, any more stimulation of any sort may only add to the stress of trying to process thoughts and regain control. I probably wouldn't be in the mood for a hug. What some people might think of as sensible suggestions I'm likely to have already considered and the expectation of a response won't help. The best thing for people to do is to stay calm, and 'reduce language'. Maybe an 'It's OK' would be OK.
There are probably parallels from outside autism that might help people understand. There are times when a row or situation is just going so badly that one needs to recognise that it's not the time or the place and people need to walk away for a bit and cool off. That's not necessarily long-term avoidance. In a relationship, one person may get coldly angry, and that can be really uncomfortable for the person wanting to help or atone or apologise.
Different people react in different ways. Some people like the physical contact, others don't. Neither is absolutely better than the other - it just depends on what you're comfortable with, and that's okay!x
Much love <3
I like the term 'meltdown', as that's just what it feels like to me - a nuclear power station reaching critical threshold before KABOOM!
Alas, in my previous jobs I was just labelled as 'angry', 'fiery', 'moody' or a 'trouble maker' etc etc.
But the one thing that still surprises me is that on the rare occasion I do get into this very unique mindstate - whereby I crave solitude and sensory isolation - Neurotypicals just can't seem to help themselves. Despite me verbally, repeatedly and vehemently saying I don't want to be touched or engaged, they seem to insist on doing so, to an extreme degree, which only makes me that much worse.
That's fair enough. In autistic care, though, 'meltdown' is regarded in the same way that we might talk about someone with mental health problems as 'throwing a wobbly'. We have to refer to 'incidents' in reports and discussions.
Mine feel more like Meltdowns too, I feel as if my brain has reached a crisis point and explodes / implodes. A few times I've even believed I could smell either a burnt plastic smell or taste that sort of coppery-fizz that you get if you've ever had an electric shock. Weird!
My meltdowns usually manifest as uncontrollable anger / rage and in the past were scarily violent. I've learned to control and even stop them in their tracks as I've gotten older but that's just as exhausting as having them and also makes me 'offline' (my brain just doesn't seem able to process anything) for at least a few days. I definitely don't want anyone to talk to me during them and absolutely not to touch me. I just need to be left alone to work it out however long it takes.
As I don't know anyone else with AS, the only thing I've seen that comes close to my meltdowns was when my daughter, as a toddler, used to have explosive temper tantrums. Terrifyingly familiar to watch! The only difference being that she grew out of them and was too small to do any real damage.