A few weeks ago, Musings of an Aspie wrote a post about her “No” reflex, and how she needed to work on pushing her boundaries. A lot of us need to work on that, to avoid turning into recluses (or at least, that’s the worry my mother has constantly had for me, which may also be linked to my depression).
However, there is another side to things, and I had a dream last night which reminded me of it: Working on recognizing when we need to say “No”.
So, last night, had this weird dream that ended up waking me up with a shock (and adding tension to what’s already in existence in my shoulders, which wasn’t pleasant). In it were my dad, my middle sister and I as teenagers, and two children (who were not either of my nieces or my nephew – they were complete strangers, made up for the dream, as far as I can figure out). The background story was that we as a family (or at least Dad, my sister and myself) were taking the children out to do things each weekend (things like adventure parks, and the science centre, and so on).
So, the dream started with me protesting something about the planned trip, having to do with lunch. Namely, I didn’t want to have a lunch that was at all spicy (see ASD Behaviours and Traits), and it was implied in the dream that some of the previous lunches on these days had been spicy (and thus I hadn’t been able to tolerate them). I was throwing a fit – AKA having an “explosion” meltdown – though I was still verbal at that point.
There was a bit of conversation in there that Dad participated in, involving arranging something different for lunch, but it didn’t really go anywhere.
Then my sister started to push – verbally / emotionally – the way she used to when we were kids / teenagers, and my verbal skills left, and I reacted by pushing her over the table (at which the children were eating – breakfast, I guess – but they didn’t react to anything that was going on; they were just background figures). She ended up really hurting….
…And at that point, I woke up. With the realization that I’d been having a meltdown in the dream. And that the reason I’d been having a meltdown in the dream was because I’d been about to hit sensory overload in the dream (if I’d gone along with the planned outing).
It was an… interesting experience. And a rather startling one. (I’m just glad I made sure that I memorized what had happened before letting myself fall back to sleep, so that I was able to tell this story.) As far as I can recall, I’ve never had a meltdown in a dream before. (Not that it necessarily means much; I don’t really remember most of my dreams that well….)
Anyway, the conclusion reached was, as the title suggests, that there are times when we have to say “No”. Times when we will have a meltdown if things go farther, and we know it. And when that happens, we shouldn’t feel guilty for saying, “No, I won’t”; because there’s no reason to. We’re protecting ourselves and everyone else when we do that.
*shrugs* My two cents, thrown into the arena. Thoughts?
Interesting coincidence – I had a nightmare last night that brought up the whole “saying no” mess. The gist of it being that a horrible situation had occurred, and now people wanted me to be responsible for handling it, because I was the only person who’d remembered there might be a mess in the first place. I was adamant that I _should not_ be the one handling it, because I was already so overloaded with things to handle that I hadn’t belatedly remembered _until_ it was already a major problem.
More colloquially, just because I’m responsible in executing all the tasks I’m already accountable for, _does not mean_ you should pile more on me, people. I’m already expending a tremendous amount of energy just to keep those plates spinning. One more could bring the whole set down.
The “Explosion meltdown” link was interesting. I think I’ve only had the explosion response once or twice, when I was in early grade school. Muteness, implosions, and shutdowns, though – those, a lot. Especially the muteness. It’s like white noise is in between me and my ability to talk. I can hear, I just can’t respond. That got a lot of frustration from people trying to deal with me. They thought I was willfully refusing to talk to them. And I couldn’t explain that I honestly couldn’t respond.
I never would have guessed that skin picking was considered stimming. That explains a lot….
I’ve been having “meltdown nightmares” for nearly 10 years now. When they first started, I freaked out because I wasn’t yet diagnosed and had no idea where the intense rage I was feeling in the dreams was coming from. After learning about ASD and meltdowns, things started to make more sense, though I still find them unsettling.
Mine tend to not be so much about saying no as about saying things to people in situations where I would normally go mute. So instead of taking some crap from someone in the nightmare, I’ll get all ragey and shout all of the things I’ve always wanted to say but can’t because IRL I would go mostly nonverbal in the same situation.