More needs to be said about #meltdowns

pathwayAnd I’ve got a lot to say about them.

I’ve been having meltdowns as long as I can remember. One of the pictures of me as a little girl my Mom sent me, some time ago, was of me having a meltdown, while my little sister stood beside me, looking terrified. It’s never been fun. It’s been fraught with dread, distress, and then of course the shame. And I could never seem to make it stop. Not without administering a bit of pain to trigger an endorphin release… and take the edge off my extreme pain.

Nearly 10 years ago (in my last go-round with trying to come to terms with my royal Aspie-ness), I wrote an account of how my day led from a frustrating morning to a full-on meltdown in the evening. At the time, it was an incredibly useful experience. Putting it all in words, and then examining my life to see what the component parts of my freak-out were… it was more helpful than I expected it to be. Sure, it was cathartic. Absolutely. But even moreso, it allowed me to take a step back and better understand my situation from a distance.

And in the process of doing so — no matter how uncomfortable the experience was — it led me to some significant realizations about the precursors for my meltdown, the contributing factors for my emotional collapse, and the stressors that just made everything worse.

No, it was not an easy thing to write, but write it I did.

And then I couldn’t decide what to do with it.

Back in 2008, I was in pretty raw shape. I was dealing with a lot of challenges in my daily life, and I was in the kind of thin-skinned vulnerable shape that I hate to be. So, while the account felt honest and true and raw, I wasn’t sure I wanted it out there for all the world to see. It was just a little too close for comfort.

Then an amazing thing happened. I stopped having meltdowns on a regular basis. I mean, I still had issues, but they became less and less over time. And after a few years, they stopped completely. I did get help, seeing a counselor on a weekly basis, working on my executive functioning and figuring out how to better live my life, so that was huge. And just as important was the level of self-awareness — and self-management — that writing my account brought to me.

No longer were the meltdowns something that “just happened to me”. Now they could be seen as something directly related to my actions and choices and habits of thought, diet, exercise, and approach to life.

I’m in the process of updating my account, and I’m adding more explanatory notes. Taken only by itself, the account gets a bit grim towards the end, and I want to make it worthwhile for people to read — not just an extended exercise in self-flagellation and woe.

I’m also hoping that working through it again will help me regain a handle on my inner state. I’ve been feeling pretty dicey, over the past couple of months, with a lot of changes happening, and more stress in my life. So, I really need a refresher.

And that’s what I’m giving myself through this work.


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