What does an adult aspie meltdown look like?

What does an adult aspie meltdown look like? I suppose the simple answer is it looks different on every aspie, we are all unique. I can however tell you what my meltdowns look like, and perhaps that will be an insight.

Meltdowns are one of my biggest problems in life! They are my greatest source of upset, pain, shame, and embarrassment. They disrupt family life, and I would sincerely like to eliminate them.

I’m scared to share the truth of my meltdowns with you, incase you judge me, or ridicule me. So I’m putting my brave hat on and oversharing.

What causes meltdowns for me;

My meltdowns are caused by overload. On my average day there are my children, coffee mornings, school runs, appointments. I write, I spend time with friends, I volunteer at the school and I run the children to their after school activities. I like my life, but it’s not easy for me.

It all sounds pretty ordinary though? Not too stressful? Well, for me, these activities involve noise, eye contact,  organisation, sensory stimulation. It’s the struggle to converse with the people I spend time with, analysing every word, facial expression and hidden meaning to understand how to behave. It’s being spoken to by three children at once, on scooters, whilst crossing a busy playground and trying not to accidentally brush into anyone.

In short it’s full on and it leaves me feeling a bit sped up, scattered and anxious. So what happens then when something doesn’t go to plan? If  an appointment is late, or I forget someone’s packed lunch. If several of these kinds of incidents happen. Finally I can’t find anywhere to park, I’m late, I panic. Or I have to get all the children to the dentist and when we get there the appointment is tomorrow.

What happens then, after a series of things not going to plan, on top of the sensory overload that comes with my usual day, is that I have a meltdown.

What does a meltdown look like;

It looks red faced, angry, like a toddler in an adults body. It is racing around, ranting and irrational. It is tears, and anger, it is ridiculous.

Meltdowns are like a storm in a teacup, big, upsetting and over seemingly nothing.

What does a meltdown feel like; 

A meltdown feels red and blue. Pain, and fear, fight or flight. To me it feels as if everything in the world is wrong and will never be right. I can take no more unreasonable world.

A complete lack of control, almost an out of body experience. Surely that’s not me, I don’t even know who I am. As the sharpness of the middle of the meltdown fades to me small and weepy a cloud of self hatred descends and my self esteem takes another little dip.

Then I pick myself up and quietly try to restore equilibrium, to cope, move on and face another moment.