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Featured Overwhelming Melt-down Question

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by techteach, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. techteach

    techteach Captain Oblivious

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    Hi guys, I need help. Please. And I know this post will sound crazy...

    I have been working (maybe obsessed?) with a project for months. Finally got a break from school and time to build it. Set up yesterday to do so but every time I was ready to start I would get interrupted. I'd have to shut the tools off, wash my hands before I could deal with the minor problems. The interruptions were totally innocent, but after this happened several times I just totally lost it (out of control feelings of frustration? or anger? rage? Sorry I have a hard time with feelings.) It was in private, no one knows.

    I feel so ashamed and guilty. Even worse, the fact that the interruptions were so innocent makes me feel like such a freak. I didn't destroy the project.

    Now my question: The idea of going back and trying to work on the project is very upsetting. I am in emotional pain just thinking about it, it hurts but I don't know what this feeling is. It's sadness... but overwhelming. Have you ever had this happen to you? Just thinking about it while I was trying to sleep last night made me realize that this has happened many times in my life and I can never go back. ( For instance this is why I am not a christian any longer. It hurts to even think about it.)

    I know it's childish. I know I need to grow up. I don't know how. I can kick myself for being spoiled but I can't change being over-whelmed.

    Does this happen to you? What is the pain and is there a way to get past it? The project is so cool I want to at least go out and bag it and the documentation up for some other time. But looking back in the past I feel/know that I never will. It will be in bags until it gets sold at a garage sale, or thrown out. Right now I can't even imagine getting close enough to it to get it into a container.
     
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  2. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think I have experienced something like it at times. Often it turns out to be I have managed to inflate a small problem (or group of small problems) into this huge monster. But in reality its just a fake huge balloon monster I created in my head.

    One option is to try and limit the potential interruptions (ie turn off phone, etc) and try again with less expectations. Just attempt to make a little progress.

    Its basically just getting back on the horse. But in our minds the horse looks 50 feet high. Its not. Its just a normal sized horse.
     
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  3. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Lost Soul V.I.P Member

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    Where did you learn such hurtful responses to yourself? I am saddened to see you be so hard on yourself, and don't understand at all how what you've described is childish or indicates that you are spoiled.

    I am not entirely sure if I understand what you are talking about but in my brain, objects routinely get attached very strongly to emotional states I experienced in the presence of those objects. This can be good or bad, for me......

    I have no 100% effective way of dealing with it when really strong negative emotions get attached to things I love. Sometimes something a bit like gentle exposure therapy can help after a period of distance (like I try to get to a point where I can at least think of the thing without completely freaking out, then once I can manage thinking about it I might push myself to go look at it periodically, and so on -- sometimes trying to create new positive associations can be helpful), other times nothing helps or it's just not worth the difficulty and I abandon things.
     
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  4. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    The 'it was private no one knows' comment no longer applies. Sorry - I HAD to say that.
    It is hard to do a project and things keep messing up. Sometimes if I have a bad start, I'll walk away before I get to the point of ready to trash it, and give myself time to calm down before returning to it.
     
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  5. BraidedPony

    BraidedPony Enjoying life and glad to be alive! V.I.P Member

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    You need a sign to put up on the door to let everyone know that unless the house is on fire you are not to be disturbed.
    I think the emotional pain you are feeling may be that your project and being interrupted are now associated as one thing.
    Your homework is to tell everyone you will be working on an important project an are not to be disturbed. Turn off your phone, put a sign on the door and work on your project.
    Do it today.
    By the way you arent being spoiled or childish, you have a right to express yourself in projects and to enjoy them.
    So, do your homework and report back at your convenience.
     
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  6. techteach

    techteach Captain Oblivious

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    This will be short, I am so tired. Am spending the day in bed.

    @the_tortoise Thank you so much, this makes sense
    . Wow.
    Thank you for the understanding and kind words. Sry, freaking out right now. I will try this
    This is how I feel. Very negative towards it.

    I need to manage to get it put away.

    @BraidedPony Thank you. Good advice for next time. Just thought I was alone.
    I hear you.

    @Pats Didn't even get a chance to get started. Well, the circuit works on the proto-board, so it will work. Just wanted to build it. To see it completed, in a box...
    I just don't want anyone else to know about my loss of control. I feel you guys would understand. Others just wouldn't, they are not like me. Thank you
     
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  7. techteach

    techteach Captain Oblivious

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    @Tom Thank you Not doing so well right now.
     
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  8. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    @techteach we DO understand, and I do, too. I was trying to be funny with my comment and hope you didn't take offense. It is very frustrating to be trying to start or do something and not be able to because of interruptions. My apartment is in my son's basement - have my own entry. When I work on projects I really don't want anyone to see what I'm doing until I'm finished and get very frustrated when someone keeps coming downstairs because I always stop what I'm doing to see what they want.
     
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  9. BraidedPony

    BraidedPony Enjoying life and glad to be alive! V.I.P Member

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    very frustrating! i would have slammed a few doors by now, maybe thrown a bowl across the room....
    yealled, " Can't you see I'm busy?!"
     
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  10. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    Question: What sort of interruptions are you talking about?

    If it's something like someone coming and waltzing into the room when you're trying to work, that's one thing. But if it's a small noise from somewhere that isnt important, that is a problem that needs to be worked on. One way or another, there's no way at all to completely avoid small distractions like that. They only become "interruptions" because you ALLOW them to.

    And if these interruptions are happening with the sort of very high frequency that your post suggests, I'm betting that quite a few of them are small things that you dont actually NEED to pay any attention to.

    One way or another, if you want to be able to do your projects at all, you have zero choice but to essentially train yourself to perform the correct steps to stop/prevent the larger interruptions (such as closing/locking a door, and putting a sign up that says "GO AWAY I'M WORKING" and maybe outright ignoring anyone that doesnt respect that... that's certainly what I do), and you need to learn to simply and totally ignore small irrelevant things. Because THOSE arent going away. There will always be small obnoxious things.

    With those sorts of things, you have to say to yourself "okay, that's not something I *need* to deal with. It's not important right now. I can handle it, and I'm going to keep working even with it there". That sort of thing. Start by saying it out loud, as that can have more effect than you may think. Make it a mantra that you repeat whenever something is being annoying.

    I mean, being on the spectrum makes that tougher than it would be for most people, with all the sensory issues, but still... you CAN gain control over it, but only if you go into it with the right attitude and determination. And a refusal to simply give up.

    There's no avoiding the fact that this is going to take some willpower and effort on your part to deal with this overall problem.
     
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  11. techteach

    techteach Captain Oblivious

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    @Misery Hi thank you for answering.

    The interruptions were important, they were just at a bad time. If I would have taken the time to communicate with others they would have been unnecessary. I will be careful in the future to let everyone know that I need time (uninterrupted) to work on a project and I can turn my phone off.

    My question was about the very negative feeling I have toward the project that I was so excited about yesterday morning even. Right now I don't want anything to do with it and I am thinking that @the_tortoise and @BraidedPony are right. The meltdown that I had has cause me to transfer the bad feelings it caused to my project. And yes, when I have meltdown I am always very sad afterward. Well I hurt inside and I have always thought of that as sadness, it is I think.
     
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  12. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    At the risk of oversimplification, I think the solution to a problem like this is to give yourself permission to have unencumbered time. And if needed, more unencumbered time. I don't get the feeling you feel entitled to that, but if you arranged it, you would likely not have had such a total meltdown. When irritated by the interruptions, instead of feeling completely frustrated, you could have reminded yourself it was just a delay in completion, but not a complete loss of opportunity.
     
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  13. techteach

    techteach Captain Oblivious

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    @GadAbout Thank you so much. Yes, I do need to arrange it next time.
     
  14. Progster

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

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    No much to add here that others haven't already suggested - the 'do not disturb' notice sounds like a good idea. Also, planning days and times to work when there is no one around and you are on your own. Gettting up and going for a walk or taking a break might help to dissipate those feelings of frustration before they become too overwhelming and lead to melt down. No reason to feel guilty about it, though - the melt down was in private and it's natural and understandable to feel frustrated when interrupted and not able to make progress - it doesn't make you a freak.
     
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  15. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    I went through this today.
    And I know from other experiences transferring the negative emotions associated with the interruptions
    onto the project is what can happen.
    Something so special and important that you're really into and things or people just keep stopping you
    by interrupting. Disgusted sets in and what was such a turn on is suddenly a turn off.
    I've found that instead of throwing it away, the gradual process of returning back to it works best.
    Just put it away until the feelings of anger subside. And they will, eventually.
    Then think about it and when it doesn't make you feel irritated you can go look at it and think about it
    and what to do again.
    Unless you've just totally lost interest and turned your attention to something new.

    I only have one person living in the same house with me, but, they know no respect or bounderies.
    If I put up a sign or tell them to leave me alone until a certain time they take it as something to
    get angry over.
    Today I was tired and wanted to spend time resting with a few more hours sleep in the afternoon.
    He just kept walking in and asking questions on different things even though I was sleeping!
    Things that could have waited.
    This happens a lot, he doesn't care and the closed door or sign means trouble.
    That is a major issue and unless I want to argue I have to put up with it.
    Sometimes I get so tee'd I just say to heck with getting some rest!
     
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  16. techteach

    techteach Captain Oblivious

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    @Progster
    This is great advice, I need to make myself do this. It is going to be very hard, when I get into a project I am (obsessed?) driven and focused to the point where I forget to eat or anything else. This will save me a lot of stress so I must do it. Thank you.

    @SusanLR Thank you, yes I'm going to try to put it away today and then I will think about it in a month or so and see how I'm doing.

    You guys have helped me so much, this is such a big thing in my life. It answers so many questions from my past.
     
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  17. Vinca

    Vinca Speaking through Pictures V.I.P Member

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    I've tried to imagine what you are feeling @techteach, and put it into words.

    It sounds as though you had been looking forward to spending time on this for some time. I imagine that when you thought about it, the feelings you experienced would have be positive and enjoyable. Then, to finally have the time to give to the project with everything set up and ready to go, fully believing that you were going to be able to achieve and complete what you had been thinking about for the past several months, only for it to be repeatedly interrupted, would have been frustrating and infuriating.

    What you expected to be the natural conclusion didn't happen, and a lot of unexpected events took place.

    Perhaps some of what you are feeling is

    -disappointment that your expectations weren't met
    -feelings of being overwhelmed by circumstances you hadn't anticipated

    I wonder if another aspect that is creating discord, is that there isn't anyone or anything to blame/direct the emotions towards, as, as you have said, the interruptions were totally innocent? Perhaps the emotions are circulating without being released?

    It's almost as though the project is "tainted" now, by the negative experience.

    Perhaps thinking about the project as a plant in a garden that has been cut down (the expectations you had, haven't come to fruition and it isn't possible to undo what has been done). The roots are still there, however, and the plant has the potential to re-grow. It won't be identical to what it was but will still be the same plant. (It is still possible to do the project, if you want to, it just won't happen the way you had originally expected it to).

    ---

    Un-expected change can leave me feeling extremely unsettled and overwhelmed.

    Finding a constructive way to express how I am feeling, can help me with processing these feelings. I find searching for images in google that express what I am feeling, helps, as I connect better with pictures than words. I may also post a picture in the "How do you feel today (in images)" thread, or write a bit about how I am in other appropriate threads on the site as a start.

    The feeling of powerlessness is something else I also struggle with in similar situations. The fact that I wasn't able to stop a situation that negatively impacted me from happening, can be extremely frustrating. Being able to imagine what could have been done differently leads to my feeling that there is the potential to have changed what has happened. But, the past literally cannot be changed. Thinking of the past as being "set in stone" or "written in permanent marker" helps me to accept the past as it is and move forward.

    When intense feeling are accompanied with an urge to express them physically, by breaking something, for example, I've found it helpful to brainstorm (whilst I am calm and feeling fine) minimally destructive activities that can satisfy the need to express these urges, so they are pre-planned. Some examples are - shredding paper or tearing pieces of paper or card into tiny pieces.
     
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  18. MaeveTheRaven

    MaeveTheRaven New Member

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    So. Thankfully my meltdowns are relatively rare and far in-between, but still horrible, so I kind of know what you're talking about. The triggers are totally random. Today I noticed I was more sensitive to noises, sounds and lights than usual and I felt kind of tense, but the final trigger was when I realized I locked myself out of my dormitory room. Nothing unsolvable, but it required going around and asking people for help (at 10pm), which I had absolutely no spoons left for. I felt kinda guilty because I knew I was supposed to keep my cool, as adults do, and that hiding in a study room and crying was not a solution.

    Still I know that guilt is irrational, as there was no way I could prevent a minor meltdown in that situation. It's fine. It happens.

    That also goes for you, always know it's fine to let it happen. Sometimes keeping the frustration inside does more harm.

    As for a solution, I recommend you take a break from the project, a couple of days maybe, so you can distance yourself from the negative feelings towards it, then find a time when no-one's around to disturb you. Make sure anyone who happens to come around knows you are busy and not to be disturbed. Then take enough water and food, lock yourself in your room or a safe place, put on headphones, set the temperature ideal, and start working. As I understood from your post, what you need is enough time undisturbed, which is not always easy to get, but not impossible either.

    Good luck, I hope it works out for you!
     
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  19. techteach

    techteach Captain Oblivious

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    @Vinca
    Thank you for responding. I am going to reread your response tomorrow, I am so tired today I can't think.
    @MaeveTheRaven Thank you as well. I really want to respond to everyone that took the time, both of your posts are awesome...
    I need time to process, so much... I put the project away @the_tortoise trying to put positive thoughts with it... does that make sense... just kept telling myself it is important to me, and I will realize that later, maybe in a month... or whenever. But I created it and it really will be very cool when it is finished. Thank you again for the encouragement.
     
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  20. techteach

    techteach Captain Oblivious

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    :)
     
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