There it was, end of May, I had a total thermo-nuclear meltdown. I had this only about a dozen times before in my life, but when it hits me, it hits me really hard.
I had many symptoms which make me a bit worried, but which explains a lot of things which happened in the past too.
The bad thing is that it happened. The good thing is that I had friends who helped me through it and I can tell, I can vaguely remember myself passing “out”on this world for one moment, while wanting to escape from my own body.
What could have induced this meltdown? (backtrack)
I had almost no sleep, lots of stress, my mind was racing all night long and in the morning I had to hurry so fast, my mind started to block entirely and my body followed. I can vaguely remember my feet becoming very heavy, passing “out” from this world for a moment while standing, while wanting to escape from my own body. It was surreal!
I had what they call “Sensory Overload”.
What exactly happened?!
These symptoms were happening unconsciously for me and witnessed by two friends. The interpretation of one sees, is not always the right interpretation of what is. Therefor, I’ve split the list in 3 parts:
- I was beating my hands against my head when loud noises occurred (car’s, cleaners, neighbors, ..)
- I could not dress (or focus?) myself furtheron
- Mumbling in myself
- Giving internal sounds of pain or agony(?)
- Short breathed
- Lots slower in reaction times
- When (heavy) held, I relaxed
- Holding my hands, to stop beating my own head
- Rubbing over my head, seems to relax me
How has this to be interpreted? I wish I had this on camera :(
- Looked afraid and sad (I was shaking a bit, legs were shaking)
- Looked at the ground as if a cable was a deep rift, for 5 seconds (uuuhhh?!?)
- I was pulled to the depth (I remember feeling heavy)
What did I learn from this?
I had a few times ago in school, where classmates told me to stop banging my head (against the wall), but never took it serious, because it was my belief that it was another thing, to bully me with.
My wall had blood against it several times at my previous place, when my business partner really got me so far, that I probably went into the same kind of meltdown. I have never known why the blood was on the wall and in my hair. Why I had bruises against my head? Or even a (few) bump(s) ..
I could not dress myself properly, everything went way slower, I was having internal noises (of pain and agony) after the meltdown and always had to recover for about 2-3 weeks, IF I had it easy..
It also learned me that rubbing over my own head has a meaning! It always has relaxed myself whenever I am in a situation, which I cannot avoid or run away from. I rub my own head and know that I am doing it, but never knew why. This, is a form of self-stimming.
When held tightly (by someone I trust), I feel safe. I know that already since my mom gave me my first hug! Still, it makes it uncomfortable to do that with a (total) stranger or even a friend which is not known well enough. With a meltdown, this seems to matter too!
Recovery phase – The Aftermath ..
As mentioned before, when having it easy, I can recover from a meltdown in about 2-3 weeks. In those weeks, my sensory input was almost killing my mind. Everything was just too much. I also had an ear-infection and sinusitis and went sicker because of all the incoming noise, light, unstable head because of ear infection, etc..
It was a pure nightmare. I’ve already got problems separating all noises, unless I can place them well, but at the expense for a possible good conversation; so getting in touch with other people was a hell too.
My OCD symptoms and ticks which I have learned to camouflage so good, were all visible. It was as if I was entirely stripped from my clothes, while I was running around naked.
A heavy headache from hell, near migraine, needed to vomit several times, sounds and feelings were in overdrive. I felt half paralyzed, slightly paranoia, irritated, anxious, frustrated because all that. My immune system seems to drop rapidly, making me having a cold almost instantly, or at-least, it feels like a heavy cold with slime and coughing.
A few weeks later..
I’ve learned a lot about myself now. I’ve been talking with my psychiatrist, psychologist and few friends about it and I have learned so much about myself. I can write about this, I am no longer ashamed of what happened, out of my control.
What else happened in the past?
When I was getting very anxious, I was putting my aggression on which I had in my hands. It had to be my property, because the property of someone else, I do not want to break. I have thrown so many things on the floor in the past, not really to be proud of. But, while getting older, you start to figure the value of those things, making it a necessity to control those outbursts. Stress-balls however, have NEVER worked for me! ;)
Also, when I get cornered, no way to bail-out or process, I will get very mouthy.
And, about getting mad. Mostly, people have a madness level between 1-9. With a lot of people with autism, the level will be 1-2 or 8-9, but nothing in-between. Good to say, I am rarely really mad.
1: Avoid Stress
- Avoid all possible stress possible, it triggers the stress levels up
- Avoid conflicts
- Sleep (or try!) enough in a quiet place
2: Avoid Sensory Overloads
- Avoid construction works, unknown music, yelling people, .. which can fuel the fire
- When sensory overload starts, move to a quiet space
- When needed, take medicine to decrease anxiety
- Avoid big crowds, too many strangers, …
3: Change Lifestyle
- Change lifestyle (more about this soon: passivity vs aggressivity vs assertiveness)
- I have to let know what I require sometimes, to avoid too much stress