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Featured Autistic meltdown: is it prerequisite for ASD?

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by Canismajoris, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Yes I have

    21 vote(s)
    72.4%
  2. No I have not

    3 vote(s)
    10.3%
  3. I don’t know

    5 vote(s)
    17.2%
  1. Canismajoris

    Canismajoris Hypergiant

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    I have read quite many books about autism recently to understand myself better. (Self-diagnosed male 42y)

    One thing that seems to be very common is that people who have ASD experience meltdowns when the sensory overload gets too big.

    Very often in the autism liteature these meltdowns are described to look like aggressive temper tantrums.

    I think I have never had such autistic meltdown. Not that I could remember one atleast.

    If I feel that the situation starts to get too overwhelming, I leave it if possible. If not possible, I just sink in my own thoughts and close the world away.

    Do ALL people in ASD experience autistic meltdowns?
     
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  2. An Arctic fox

    An Arctic fox Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure if all do but I'd say they are common.
     
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  3. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    Sounds like you have a shutdown? Did the literature not mention those in contrast to meltdowns?

    I think the general literature on any mental illness is misleading, generalized to the point of inaccurate, and often just silly.

    Probably because it's most often from the perspective of an "other." It's anthropological--descriptions are strange and sensationalized and misunderstood.

    "They gather at large bodies of water, immerse themselves in the water, then flail their limbs about in a manner which creates buoyancy."

    Yeah, that's called "swimming."

    And that's how psychiatric literature comes off to me.

    Also, any question which begins, "Do ALL people--"

    Nope.

    Unless the question is self-affirming, such as, "Are all people with ASD autistic?"

    Yep!
     
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  4. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member

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    I would have said yes, but when I was being assessed for asd, there was no mention of meltdowns and thus, I guess that is an answer to say, that no, meltdowns is not absolute. However, saying that, I do think it is a good deal part of the "package" of asd and I have certainly experienced it on numerous occasions and very recent too.

    It is because on not being able to express emotions and being misunderstood and the end result is feeling overwhelmed and that leads to shut downs.
     
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  5. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    Exactly.
    At least in my life experiences.
    When living at home I had meltdowns sometimes. But, I knew I could and not be put down for it.
    Living with someone else now that doesn't understand or really care to understand ASD, I am always
    on my "best behaviour" and go into shutdowns, because I'm not free to express emotions
    like I once could. If I did, it could lead to literal fights or being told to leave.
    Which I have been told if I even talk back in a self defense or insulted tone of voice.
    So it is shutdowns now that happen rather than meltdowns.

    As per your question, no. ALL is too much of a blanket statement.
    There is probably a good percentage though who do manifest meltdowns.
     
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  6. Canismajoris

    Canismajoris Hypergiant

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    Actually now I remember one occasion around 7 years ago when I experienced situation where I kind of lost the ability to control my reactions.

    The following might contain too much info for some, so stop reading if you find talking about sex a difficult topic.

    I have always been very sensitive emotionally. To cope in this world I often shutdown my emotions but there are some situations where that is not possible.

    One of those is sex. It is next to impossible for me to have sex with partner who I don’t know well before. And even then if I don’t feel emotionally safe. Or if I hear / see / feel something weird my sexual organ just refuses to co-operate.

    So around 7 years ago we had just met with my wife and like fresh couples often do, we were having sex a lot. Like A LOT... Then one time I had some stress / there were noises coming from window and my organ just refused to co-operate. My wife was confused (as she did not know yet that time how sensitive I am) and asked that is there something wrong in her? I said no, and tried to explain how I work. I could feel the anxiety rising but remained visibly somewhat cool. But then came the bomb: she said that she has never experienced something like this: her partners have always been able to do their job.

    That was too much.

    All the stress, traumas, anxiety and humiliation exploded and I experienced a sort of meltdown. I was not able to control my internal pain anymore and started to cry harder and louder than ever. That kind of freaked out my wife and this was one more of the many things she has not seen before to come...

    I don’t remember how long the meltdown lasted but I still remember how awful it was.

    So I guess my meltdown threshold is quite big.
     
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  7. Loren

    Loren Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I tend to shut down, as opposed to melt down, as the result of sensory overload, for the most part; and would describe what I experience, in the same manner that you have. As others have mentioned, not all autistic people experience meltdowns, although, it appears to be a common trait.
     
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  8. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    I shut down instead of having meltdowns.
     
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  9. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    As a child I had these kind of meltdowns, because I was emotionally immature and not able to recognise or process my intense and overwhelming emotions. Now, as an adult, I still have difficulty processing emotions but I have coping mechanisms and I'm better able to recognise when a meltdown is pending and do something about it - to remove myself from the situation and calm down. So I don't have many as an adult, I'm more likely to have a shut down.

    One thing I should point out is that meltdowns are not necessarily specifically angry outbursts, but emotional outbursts in general, that can include uncontrolled crying.
     
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  10. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    Oh, if we include those, then yes, I have meltdowns occasionally.
     
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  11. Baeraad

    Baeraad Well-Known Member

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    I think I used to, and certainly a lot when I was a child and teenager. These days, I've gotten so good at avoiding them that it almost feels unhealthy - like, these days it seems like I can't cry even when I really want to, even when I'm alone. I do have moments of just shutting down and being unable to cope, though - just functioning on autopilot but with zero ability to take any initiatives or make any decisions.
     
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  12. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Chaotic Neutral

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    I'm not sure if I've had any actual meltdowns, I can handle sensory stimuli rather well, but when I was a child/teenager, I occacionally had bouts of rage where I would lash out against anything, usually triggered by what I perceived as bullying.
     
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  13. NothingToSeeHere

    NothingToSeeHere Asexuowl V.I.P Member

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    I've never had a meltdown, didn't stop me getting diagnosed with ASD.
     
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  14. Monachopia

    Monachopia ...spiral out... keep going. V.I.P Member

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    I guess I never really knew what qualifies as a "meltdown", especially in adults... I had to look it up, and looking at some footage, I guess I have behaved in a way that may be qualified as one? They're very rare and it's mostly when I'm very tired and I'm overcome with anger and frustration and since I can't express those emotions in any way, it results in hitting stuff, breaking stuff and crying uncontrollably.

    Like I said though, I don't know if NTs behave similarly in frustrating circumstances, but I'm not a violent person in any way and am not quick to anger. I mostly experience "shutdowns" when things get overwhelming - things just stop making sense and I shut everything out.

    I don't think meltdowns are a requirement for having ASD, most literature out there may be outdated or taken from research on children or small sample sizes. As adults we tend to work out ways to avoid extreme reactions so many of us may just know when things are getting too much and avoid further aggravation.
     
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  15. Canismajoris

    Canismajoris Hypergiant

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    And when reading biographies of people on spectrum they are just n=1 sample of experiences. I think one of the biggest problems for NT people is that ASD is not that simple package. There are so many variations and even opposite reactions to stimulis: some have learning difficulties, some are good in school. Some are not social, some are very. Some dislike touching, some like touching. And so on. But ofc you all know this. Sorry for starting a lecture... xD
     
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  16. Michael Balog

    Michael Balog Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    For me I don’t recall previous meltdowns in my childhood but I did have one the other day. I think I have more shutdowns then meltdowns.
     
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  17. Loren

    Loren Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    This post has caused me to introspect, further, and, think I've had what I would describe as inward meltdowns. When faced with being misunderstood or misinterpreted, that results in frustration or sadness and bursting into tears, which I've never been able to, fully, understand/ decipher, and, can also occur if my limitations or boundaries are challenged, extensively.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
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  18. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    In my own case, only a few times as a child. However I've experienced shutdowns far more often.

    The last one I had was a few years back while Christmas shopping. Went to the mall which at the time was a huge mistake. Too many people moving at too fast a pace.
     
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  19. Peter Morrison

    Peter Morrison Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I like this topic of shutdowns versus meltdowns. When I am uncomfortable in a certain environment, I try to leave if I can. I never understood why I would have these urges, but they were quite real. If I am stressed in some way, I will stop interacting. I get quiet and I don't initiate conversation or activities. On a few occasions, I have had a meltdown. I had associated them with frustration and obligation. I rarely lose my temper, but a meltdown causes me to lash out and I have to leave to walk it off. Some situations were for reasons that I can't explain. I boiled over and I don't know why I did. Only time away can bring me back to "normal". I haven't had a meltdown in a long time. Perhaps I am more aware of what causes them and I have managed to evade those situations. I was never aware of triggers, so I flipped out when there was too much going on. I more easily predict now which situations are likely to cause me stress, and whether or not I am up for any of them. Usually I am not.
     
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  20. Canismajoris

    Canismajoris Hypergiant

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    I guess this is the classic example of meltdown process.
     
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