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What does a shutdown look like for high functioning autism to you?

Lilacleia16

Active Member
What does a shutdown look like for high functioning autism to you? I am just learning these terms and I want to check in with myself to see what shutdowns look like so I can know if that’s what I am experiencing at any given time…
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Interesting question. From my point of view you see nothing, because that's the first thing I do- to disappear. To get away from anyone and everyone. Must have immediate solitude when it happens.

Last time it happened to me was in a crowded shopping mall when suddenly I couldn't take so many people at such a fast pace all around me. I left, and don't really recall the time in between when I made it back to the parking lot and my car, and must have sat there for nearly an hour trying to recover. When it happens I also tend to lose my sense of hearing or something. It's like I just lose track of all sounds around me. Weird.

Shutdowns don't happen very often for me, but when they do the one really bizarre thing for me is to experience a loss in time. When I recover and feel reasonable again, but can't account for so much time that passed in the process.
 

MNAus

Well-Known Member
So I don't really shut down. In fact I do the opposite, I go faster, but to the outside world my capabilities look like they're shutting down. First thing is stims will increase a LOT, I'll quickly head into fight, fight or fight territory (if you see what I mean), I'll sound more desperate in questions and requests, these will then fragment till I don't make much sense and I don't get whole sentences out before the next thought is queued to use the vocal chords. ON the inside I'm throwing my entire intelligence at trying to work out what's going on and resolve everything back to peaceful. It might give the appearance of being frozen, but I'm working at 200% of brainpower, but as I'm jumping from thought to thought rapidly, not much is achieved.

I also realise I've had burnouts, and these get bigger each time they happen. If my environment causes lots of the above events (and I mean lots, as in daily or more over the space of weeks and months) in the end something just seems to fracture and I stop responding with any sort of stress or anxiety. Days (weeks) go by with little motivation, little effort, etc. to do anything outside my interests. Just the idea of socialising , looking for works, etc is the mental equivalent of picking up dog poo barehanded. I just shut the door. These have been pretty damaging for my career, but as the sole earner in my house I'm not really in a position to just take a time-out when they're approaching, I just need to trying and mitigate as much as I can.
 

marc_101

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
If you search the forum, there are some discussions about it. But briefly, to me, it feels like intense fatigue. I'm with a group of people and I feel like I want to sleep, get away. It's difficult to talk, as if I had nothing to say or I don't even know how to answer the most basic questions. I answer with yes or no. I don't feel anxiety. I'm not sure I feel anything.
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
Welcome to the forum. I have gotten better. I cried alot in showers, now l am getting tougher. Also breaking down what you are feeling, and learning to accept it, and calm yourself down by hot shower or bath, a run at the gym, gaming for two hours, a drive or walk in the park. Grab your feelings, acknowledge them, sit with them, then let them go like bad relatives. I have a friend in this park, we will text or phone or meet and ***** about our general unhappiness. That helps too. Lol
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
Staff member
V.I.P Member
Here's a few threads on the topic you may find interesting.




 

Misty Avich

I prefer not to be referred to as autistic
V.I.P Member
The question I'm often wondering about is what is the difference between an NT ''shutdown'' and an autism shutdown? One time I knew an NT who was going through a lot of stress in her life, and when we comforted her and asked if there was anything we could do she said she just wanted to be alone and didn't feel like talking or even being with anyone.

Is that an example of an NT shutdown, or is it something else?
 

Fino

Alex
V.I.P Member
They only happened before I started taking medication, but back when they did happen, I would become non-verbal for a while and, if possible, avoid being around people at all.
 

TBRS1

Transparent turnip
A few months ago an old friend invited me to go tailgating before a football game.

This is a thing I would never do, except that it was a chance to see another friend I hadn't seen in 30 years, so I sucked it up and went.

That whole "party in a loud, crowded parking lot" scene is my own private horror.

So I shutdown. I sit, close my eyes, and go straight to LaLa Land. From the outside it looks like I am asleep, or drunk, or badly hung over.

Internally, it feels like floating in a yellow cloud where everything is fuzzy and muted. Very trance-y.

Had a great time, but not in the parking lot.
 

marc_101

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
The question I'm often wondering about is what is the difference between an NT ''shutdown'' and an autism shutdown? One time I knew an NT who was going through a lot of stress in her life, and when we comforted her and asked if there was anything we could do she said she just wanted to be alone and didn't feel like talking or even being with anyone.

Is that an example of an NT shutdown, or is it something else?
Something else. Grief and stress make most people seek solitude. For me, the difference with a shutdown is that people do not choose a shutdown. It happens, and many times is not what we would have liked.
 

Misty Avich

I prefer not to be referred to as autistic
V.I.P Member
Something else. Grief and stress make most people seek solitude. For me, the difference with a shutdown is that people do not choose a shutdown. It happens, and many times is not what we would have liked.
I don't think I have autism shutdowns. I'm going through a bad time emotionally right now but somehow chatting with people seems to help me. In fact the more overwhelmed and anxious I feel, the more I want to talk to people and feel like I'm going to go insane if I don't.
 

vergil96

Well-Known Member
Is a shutdown when you get so tired that you just want to sit and stare and can't gather up enough energy to talk with anyone?
 

Lilacleia16

Active Member
Is a shutdown when you get so tired that you just want to sit and stare and can't gather up enough energy to talk with anyone?
It seems right to me. I think mutism or selective mutism is only true for some. When I shutdown I’m usually buried under covers and want to be a rabbit burrowed in a hole deep in the earth.
 

marc_101

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I had selective mutism when I was a kid. It felt different. I used to talk a lot at home -- too much. But in some situations, say, when going to another person's house, I wouldn't talk. They would ask me to greet an adult or say my name or say anything and I would refuse to talk. No clue why.
 

vergil96

Well-Known Member

Apparently selective mutism results from anxiety, I didn't know. Then I experience it sometimes, when I'm anxious, but it's not what I'm talking about, sometimes I'm just too tired or overwhelmed to speak / have a conversation.
 
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marc_101

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
There is not a lot of research, and definitions get confusing. Shutdown, meltdown, inertia, burnout. I read some research articles but it seems there is not a lot of research on it. I can only tell from my experience that selective mutism and shutdowns feel and evolved differently. And to make things more complicated, I don't feel anxiety. But I think that's because I have problems identifying emotions.
 

jsilver256

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I feel like I get two kinds of shutdowns. One happens under pressure and I can say stuff, but mostly after long delays and it's terse answers. This one is very high stress, highly likely to make me cry if it persists, and I am very very jumpy afterwards for a couple of days.

The other kind is just more of a "it's too much" withdrawal and I don't really want to talk to anyone or do anything. In more extreme versions I will just go find a corner and cry.
 

Ghostinthemachine

Active Member
For me I tend to go very quiet and not want to interact with anyone or anything,block out the world with familiar music and experience intense feelings of fatigue, sometimes it can last hours sometimes weeks
 

Lilacleia16

Active Member
I had selective mutism as a kid and I still do as an adult but now I can snap out of it if someone demands me to. I still prefer to stay silent in unknown situations or crowds.
 

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