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I was reading this post and relating to it, even though I'm not on the spectrum. I can relate to how some people describe a meltdown, so I believe it is possible for NT's to have them as well; but there are probably multiple reasons why we get to that point less often.
Autistic meltdowns can be confused or compared to an NT person just losing one's temper and some NTs could also claim they have similar meltdowns, but since I'm not an NT it's impossible for me to know what it's like when an NT loses their temper or has what they might call a meltdown, or whether it is actually truly similar and it's also impossible for an NT to truly know what it's like for an autistic person. Even though your description sounds somewhat similar, what's actually truly going on deep within our minds could be totally different, but it's incredibly difficult to be certain either way.
This article has been posted twice in this thread, but I think I'll post it again since some of us may have missed it:

Essentially, the article says that it is possible for NTs to have meltdowns, but much, much less common than those with ASD. The article says that, "A meltdown is an involuntary physiological reaction to being in a situation which is overwhelming, without a means for escape."

Because of things like sensory issues and the need for routines, it's far those with ASD to be in such a situation with no means to escape it, but it is possible for it to happen to anyone.
I've personally never really had meltdowns as such. The phrase 'internal shutdown of thinking processes and language', however, is a really good description of what I've experienced on occasion. The one and only time I've had an actual anxiety attack (while watching a very confrontational theatre performance), I had basically shut down completely by the end. I stopped really paying attention to what my senses were telling me. I stayed in the same position, looking in the same direction, not moving at all, for several minutes after it ended, until most of the rest of the audience had already left. You could have set fire to the seat next to me and I would have barely reacted. I wasn't able to think or feel anything. The walk home afterwards was a real struggle.
That sort of shutdown is also pretty uncommon for me, but I get very close every now and then.
I'm similar to most people responding but I shut down more than I melt down. Uncontrollable crying is the most common thing for me during a meltdown. When I shut down I can't talk to anyone or put on any kind of face and am cut off from everyone emotionally, socially and interacting with me is becomes nearly impossible. I stim a lot and can't function and the only thing that makes me feel better is my special interests or relaxation techniques.
I began to have meltdowns again several years ago, and my meltdowns can range anywhere from crying uncontrollably, hyperventilating, punching myself in the head or hitting my head against hard surfaces, scratching my arms/legs/face, pulling at my hair, rocking back and forth, making an almost "zebra"-like noise over and over, or biting my arms and hands.
I get emotional, and usually end up making noises because I'm trying to parse information, usually instructions. If I'm frustrated, I'll usually snarl or growl, but when I'm anxious or simply confused, I usually go "Uhhhh" or "Ummm". I also make strange movements, walk different, and usually leave, to either calm down or to process what I was told to do.
Looking back at my earlier life I remember a sometimes fragile balance between my need to fully think through and understand new experiences and the anxiety and panic I experience when faced with new data coming in too fast to do this. When I was younger it resulted in my frequent outbursts. Certainly well into my teens I had tantrums and emotional outbursts, was sulking or stroppy mainly when I couldn't do things, failed and refused to learn, I was frequently in trouble when I lost it in class and at play.

I can still suffer overloads where there are too many unexpected or new things happening for me to process them. Now, instead of suffering full on anxiety and panic as I did when younger, I understand better. I know when it happens and how to deal with it. When younger I had a lot more that was new to experience, suffered more intense anxiety and had no understanding of how to manage it all. be Now at 69 there's less new.

Now for example when something in new or unexpected, shocks, surprises or disappoints or something goes wrong, I make a silly mistake or forget something, I can lose it. Self-confidence drops, enthusiasm for something I'm doing evaporates, apprehension rises and I emotionally slump into a period of despondency and self pity when I feel I can't cope. Recently, I went for a hospital appointment and shopping trip. All planned out. I forgot my wallet with my cash, debit and health cards in it. I couldn't do any of the shopping and although I blagged the appointment I felt really bad for the rest of the day. I've learnt to get through what needs to be done then recover by rolling with the punches. I withdraw, rest, re-plan what I need to do and come back again fairly quickly.

After all, tomorrow is another day.
I am trying to understand exactly what is meant by a meltdown when it is used in terms of people on the spectrum. I know what I think of when I hear the term - I think of someone screaming, crying, collapsing on the ground, curling up in a little ball and rocking back and forth, or otherwise being suddenly so overwhelmingly upset that they are disruptive to other people and unable to function. An emotional outburst of some kind.

The women I've been close with that had ASD all had meltdowns that looked like that. However, I realized none of the males I know diagnosed with ASD do anything that I'd call a meltdown.

I had what I would call meltdowns when I was a kid but don't now. Now I still get upset and overwhelmed sometimes, but with a few minor exceptions, it does not manifest in any disruptive behavior or any kind of outburst. Most observers wouldn't even know I was upset. My assumption has been that I just don't have meltdowns.

However, I'm wondering if my definition of meltdown is incorrect or simply incomplete. If I'm over focusing on the criteria of it being an outburst or socially disruptive.
Thankfully I have not had a meltdown as far as I know, I have only seen one, from a fellow service user at the autism charity drop In I was attending before lockdown. I have needed to siot down and breath and have drank water etc but not as severe as some meltdowns sadly people can have. I know at least one reason for my friend's meltdowns was people breaking the law and he's very upset now that some people are not following covid advice and guidelines. I get upset at some people's attempts of bullying or rudeness to those people dooing nothing wrong, minding their own business.
I've never had a meltdown, myself. I think I've had shutdowns where I just lose my ability to react to things (even though I'm still aware), where speaking is impossible and even moving can be difficult, but those tend to be brought on more by emotional distress than sensory issues.

But when things get too noisy, bright, crowded, etc, then I do tend to get very stressed out, anxious, and withdrawn, and need to isolate myself for a while, but I don't know if I'd call that a full shutdown

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