Okay, not a long post. Hopefully. I have tasks I need to do before I can go to sleep, and boy, do I need sleep. But at the moment I’m a living example of how control of meltdowns can sometimes be detrimental, and I think I need to relay this while I’m in this state.
So, I knew that today was going to be busy. My work placement with the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland during the day, then meeting at Coffee Matters with my friend after work, then going straight to a Connections (Adults with Asperger’s, ASNL) Group meeting to discuss serious issues after that. Stressful, but semi-manageable, right?
Well, except that today was my second attempt at working the front desk of the hotel. Last week I managed an hour before I had to retreat, and I only realized that after I’d finished lunch and come back upstairs to play on my computer for a bit. Today, I realized it 15 minutes in. They were vacuuming. The nerves in my left arm (the vacuuming was to my left) were jumping as though they’d just received a shot of pure electricity. I needed out of there.
So, needless to say, I’m going to concentrate solely on Guest Services (at least in terms of job shadowing) for the rest of my work placement there. I tried, and I found out that it’s not something I can manage. No sense of failure for that. (Luckily. Two years ago? I’d’ve felt guilty as all get out. Now at least I have an explanation for why I can’t manage it.)
So, that’s done, but it’s edged me a bit closer to a meltdown. Then work ends, and I go to meet my friend at Coffee Matters. Ordinarily nice (except for the snow I have to deal with to cross the two streets at the intersection), and it was pleasant enough today – except there were people talking. And music playing. And about 10 or so minutes before we left, something crashed in the kitchen (no one was hurt, but it really didn’t do my nerves any good).
At about 16:30, my mom called me to inform me that we had a WAMUN (Women’s Association of Memorial University of Newfoundland) meeting tonight. *headdesks*
Whoever (E, Aspects of Aspergers, or Musings of an Aspie, or one of the others) came up with the idea of a stimming kit, I’m seriously grateful. I had my deviantArt Fella (stuffed toy) to hug (and I held on to him semi-desperately all day), and a squeeze-ball / stress-ball to squeeze when things got bad. Those both were a great help. Especially since I was on the edge of a meltdown by then.
Then, the confrontation with the facilitators from the Autism Society. Which actually turned out a lot better than I had hoped; they’re new there, and they’d seen some of the problems I brought to their attention (including the lack of services for ASD adults) already. We had a pleasant meal at The Rooms’ cafe. Unfortunately, it was really bright there, and there were lots of people talking. (The slogging it took us to get there wasn’t great either….)
So, that got done, and we headed down to be picked up by my mom; she dropped my friend off home, and we went to the meeting. It went well, no major issues, so I managed to stay in control there as well.
We just got home about 40 minutes ago, and my throat is tight, and there are tears built up behind my eyes (remember, my meltdowns are crying jags), but I can’t let go. I can’t seem to just say, “Screw it, have the damn meltdown, I’ll feel better!” (Please excuse the language.) It is not happening.
And it would make me feel better, if I could let go. I could get out all the effects of being overloaded and over-sensitized throughout the day, and while I’d go through a half box of tissues or so, and end up with Imber giving me strange looks (she doesn’t understand crying), I could be rid of that stress. Or at least a lot of the build-up of it.
Instead, I’m holding it in tight, and I can’t seem to relax enough to go ahead and cry. Not even the tears produced by yawning are helping me with it. All I can do is hope that sleep will squash it down enough for me to function tomorrow (at least Stella’s Circle, my Thursday placement, is easy and pleasant), and spend the next three days (I don’t work Fridays) hiding out and reducing my sensory intake to the minimum possible to rebalance myself.
So, a question for my fellow ASDers out there. Have you ever ended up in this sort of situation before? How have you coped – or not coped – with it? Any ideas / suggestions? Any things you advise against doing?
We now send you back to your regularly scheduled program.
Are you feeling better today? I’ve experienced the feeling describe and I’ve found that I can “simulate” a meltdown by running hard and fast. If I do it long enough, I actually feel like I’ve cried myself out. This might be specific to me because I run a lot and can push myself hard for 20 or 30 or 40 minutes until I really hit a wall. If you find a coping strategy that works, I hope you’ll share it.
First of all, thanks for commenting! I really like your blog! 🙂
Secondly…. Yes, today was much better, thank you. I’m still a bit on-edge (partially from a discussion with my father that needed to happen, but wasn’t entirely pleasant for me), but I generally have a good time working at SC, and today was no different (I put together a DVD! Yay me! First time ever! ;)).
Third… hm. That “simulating” a meltdown by running may explain some of my own childhood traits, like my tendency to go walk around the block for hours. (I was never really able to run – little stamina that way and a combination of low-iron anemia and hypoglycemia *sigh* – but walking was good!) I thought I was just escaping the house and letting myself free for a while, but it may have also been a means of trying to cope with threatened meltdowns. (I read your reply earlier this afternoon, and I’ve been thinking on it since, and my memories of some of those walks seem to bear that theory out.)
As for fourth… well. I… kind of found a way to deal with it. Sort of. Maybe it has a bit to do with physical exhaustion as well. I basically ended up staying up until 06:00 hrs. reading fanfic (trying partly to distract myself), and then woke up at 08:05 to get breakfast and go to work. Didn’t collapse until I got home after 17:00 hrs, and that was also partially because of the talk mentioned above. So… insomnia works. It may not exactly be the healthiest response, but it is a response that got results.
Please, feel free to continue commenting! 🙂
New reader here; found your blog through musingsofanaspie.
I’ve had two kinds of meltdowns: one happens pretty abruptly because someone will make an offhand remark directed at me that I will think is a big deal. It’ll come across as an overreaction to a NT but it’s my brain being unsure what the consequences of the constructive criticism entails. Not knowing frightens me. Even being aware of this hasn’t stopped it from reoccurring.
The second is more prdidn’t plan for or sounds I don’t like. I end up obsessing over the change/annoyance by googling it, talking about it, walking around, all kinds of stimming.
*With the second meltdown, it relates to changes I didn’t plan for or sounds I can’t stop from occurring. I am also able to lose sleep from obsessing over it….I am actually going through one right now lol the only way it stops is when the irritation stops or someone says something that resolves the paradox in my thought process. Or I just get too tired. Only then do I calm down…
As to resolving it, it’s a long term effort. For the longer obsessions I am working on identifying the meltdown as it’s about to occur and practicing an emergency response plan-for me I actually set up a mantra to repeat whenever I have a meltdown ex. Telling myself to calm down and ask myself what’s freaking me out. And there will be stimming-if I feel it’s inappropriate to really stim, I hide the fact that I am by cleaning something. Doesn’t always work but it’s definitely made my meltdowns less intense and less in frequency. I think articles on how to destress will really help.