What are meltdowns? Many people think its just a tantrum. In a broad term, sure i guess. But the word tantrum suggests some level of control. With meltdowns, there is no control. the body feels what it feels in the moment. And as much as an outsider looking in doesnt like the sight of us hitting ourselfs or crying or stimming, we don't like having them
For me, my meltdowns are often caused by fustration. With sounds, textures, and sights only making it worse and worse. As a kid, I would often bite my knees, hit myself, and drag my wrists along surfaces just to help me feel better
Meltdowns have a few phases to them. The simplist way to explain it is in 3 stages:
NOTE: the following example is not ment to fearmonger, but rather to put you (if your not on the spectrum) into the shoes of someone on the spectrum (like myself) having a meltdown. This may not be an exact example, since not all autistic people are the same.
This is the first stage. This point is the easiest to bounce back from. Its crutial to understand when you beguin to enter this stage before phase 2 arrives. Grab a weighted blanked, remove yourself from the situation, distract yourself, call up a friend for support.
Anxiety and fustration beguin to mix slowly here. Time feels so slow yet everything around you goes so fast as if its happening at once. You might even beguin to stim at this stage.
this is the most notable stage in the meltdown. Your body, mind, and senses are past their limit. Imagine a robot recieving too much info that it beguins to spark and spin its head like an owl, or (for me) a monster being unleashed.
You begin to cry, scream, and plead it to be over. You stim more and more. You beguin to feel the cloths on your back, the ground you're standing on, and everything feels like its on 100% and it cant be shut off.
The meltdown had run its course, leaving you tired and drained.