Under Attack: the meltdown phenomenon
Today is a pacing, ranting, door-slamming day. I am full of energy but no direction. I am spiked with frustration but no reason. I cannot pinpoint what is wrong or verbalise my intense distress. I try to guess at what is wrong but sentences are a mess and words won’t come and it all sounds stupid. It’s not the truth anyway.
I feel the close proximity of other humans like a bad smell. Their movements scratch away in the circle of my safe space. Today I need my safe space to be big and they are all in it, moving, making noise, being in my world. I must whisper when I want to shout, I must be polite when I want to swear.
Where will I go with these internal explosives?
So I pace. Up and down, up and down.
I rant. It’s all nonsense but I need to spit out words and hear the tension escape on my breath.
15 years ago we moved to a house with a field. I told someone I needed somewhere where I could run and scream. I didn’t know I was going to say that. I didn’t know why I said it.
I know now.
She asked if I did run into the field and scream, and I said no, just knowing I had the space made me feel better.
15 years ago I didn’t know I had Asperger’s. I just thought I was a freak.
Now we don’t have a house with a field. We have neighbours and a road and I sometimes feel the world is caving in on me. Today I feel bombarded, confused and hyperactive. I want to release all my energy but I need to know I won’t find obstacles. Today is a day I cannot cope with obstacles. Like a toy car with a pull back motor, I want to know I can just go and go and go until I have completely unwound in the direction I have chosen. Changing direction is tough. It confuses me and baffles me, and on days like today it tips me up and leaves me with my wound up motor whirring haplessly.
I worry about others with Autism and Asperger’s when I feel like this. Where are they going? What are they doing? How are they coping?
I have different rooms, a garden, a bicycle, we live near the sea. I can play music, mow the lawn, lie down. I can keep searching for the right coping strategy or tell people things are not right and I need out. What do those without my choices, without my language skills do?
Everyone with autism needs something they can do and/or a place they can go to to release, rest and renew. To help me, I am writing this and next I am going to take a brisk walk. If I still feel overwhelmed I can garden or sit quietly alone. Choices and freedom and strategies I do have. However awful today feels, however much I feel like screaming, I know I’m one of the lucky ones.