ANTICIPATING & HANDLING MELTDOWNS
Here is a neuroscientific & psychological fact : Every single one of our trillions of cells in our bodies react to everything your mind says.
They also react to everything other people say to us, especially if it is repeated more than 20 times.
It’s part of how our neurological pathways are built.
Being autistic in a still very mainstream world, was described to me once as being forced to be a lobster when you’re a human being. It is stifling, limiting & you have to bury every single part of who you are just to appear “normal”.
No wonder mental health co-morbidities such as depression, OCD, anxiety & even psychosis, trichollotomania ( hair pulling, skin picking) are 2-6x more likely for autistics.
Continual masking & existing in survival/fight or fight mode leads to autistic hangover, then burnout, then meltdown & worst case scenario, shutdown.
Some days it’s just SO hard trying to survive another day as a lobster.
Sometimes you’re just far too exhausted to fight.
Brain fog, suppressing your stims, over stimming, not asking for help & pretending not to be overstimulated ( which in itself leads to burn out ), the inability to focus or make decisions, feeling easily angered, heightened senses, visual overstimulation are all signs of an imminent meltdown.
When your child ( or yourself ) has a meltdown, like all behaviour it’s communication. It’s saying give me some time and some patience too.
It won’t be long until I come back to you.
I just need to recharge and that’s ok.
I desperately need a break.
I need to step off this overwhelming world for a short time to just be me.
It’s so lonely in this world where I am not understood, where I’m told that my traits are flaws ; a world that preaches inclusion but segregates, separates, judges and limits me.
So when your child has a meltdown, as heartbreaking as it is, hold that space for them. When children’s emotions are high, their logic & language are low.
Don’t try to reason with them.
Just connect with them, hold that space and “be”.
Focus more in those moments on who your child is rather than what your child does.
Always remember that whatever the neurotypical world tries to brainwash your cells with, you are raising a child, not fixing a problem.
Sometimes we are assigned mountains to show others that they can be moved.
Our children face daily mountains of ignorance, isolation, limited beliefs, judgment & a chronic lack of expectation.
So if they want to hurl their climbing gear to the ground occasionally & just take time out, they will soon pick up their climbing sticks again & show others that mountains can & are being moved.
My journey with my own son is living proof of that.
And the reason why I have dedicated my life to helping others break those barriers.