A question about meltdown triggers...



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MONKEY
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16 May 2009, 4:11 pm

There's something that's been bugging me as to what meltdowns are.
And for most they are a result of overstimulation, or overload of some sort. But are they also a result of emotional stress like anger or extreme frustration or is that just a temper tantrum? Because I show the signs of an "implosive" meltdown, in other words crying and hitting my head and sometimes screaming if it's bad, but they are rarely as a result of overstimulation but anger/losing my temper or of someone is messing on my computer when they didn't ask or sometimes when facing a phobia, so are they just tantrums or actual "meltdowns"? And also if you have them, what are your triggers?


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sgrannel
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16 May 2009, 4:25 pm

Some of my triggers are unexpected difficulties with getting something to work, unexpected changes to schedules and situations, having trouble interpreting other peoples' behavior, confrontations, and seeing certain people in places I don't expect to see them.


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16 May 2009, 4:33 pm

I think meltdowns and temper tantrums are two different things, but I can only speak for me.

My meltdowns are triggered by assaults on my oversensitivites by others -- decible level of speech too loud-shouting-yelling; bright lights too early in the am or suddenly; people who jabber on too much when I am having brain overload problems or too sleepy; extremely obnoxious and aversive smells (which is for me 100s of food, chemical, and other smells other people don't have the same problem with); taste aversions to 100s of food items; people who don't know how to touch or hold me in the ways I like to be touched or held and do it in the wrong way; wearing the wrong clothing materials or blankets; other people disrupting or taking on themselves to move or alter the order of where I put/maintain my objects and things, sometimes people who change my expected or anticipated rountines without tipping me off, some warning, or asking if this is ok with me to do so; people arround me who are too animated and waiving their arms and hands around in a way that is sensory overload for me, disrupting the clam environment I need to keep my equilibrium.

Temper tantrums are usually caused by someone doing something really mean or rotten to me, deliberately harming me or one of my animals, cheating me out of something I have earned, taking something of mine (theft) or without asking if it is ok, etc, and while I could not control them when I was much younger, they were doozies, and they could go one for hours, since then I have learned to channel them into more contructive ways of dealing with the problems through political or legal maneuvers. I think every person gets mad sometimes, but for a person with autism it is much easier to trigger a tantrum, the tantrums tend to be more agitated, and it is really important to learn ways to channel the emotion properly in constructive ways and learn to exercise control over these emotions. Not an easy feat ! It takes many years. But I think if a person with autism is ever going to be trusted and respected by other people the person really cares about and get any of the tings we all want in life, it is very important for there to NEVER be any loss of control of a temper tantrum and most especially to learn to put yourself in the perspective of the other person you really care about and see that you want to protect them from harm and prove they can feel safe with you because you love them. Again, not an easy feat, but essential to achieve.



Morgana
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16 May 2009, 4:40 pm

A lot of my triggers are sensory.

When they are not sensory, it is usually based on some kind of frustration about what I can´t control; frustration if something important breaks and is not working, frustration if the train is too late, or if I try to buy a particular item at the store and they don´t have that item. There was a time when I was looking for work, and everything seemed to be conspiring against me, so I had a lot of tantrums then...(by the way, I thought a meltdown was a tantrum? Is there a difference between the two?)

Back when I was a dancer, I used to have a lot of meltdowns in the studio if I was having a bad day and my pirouettes weren´t working or something. I never really noticed that no one else was doing this sort of thing; somehow I thought what I was doing was normal. But now that I am a dance teacher myself, I realize that no other student reacts in the intense way that I used to, over and over again. I´m quite surprised that people put up with me, actually. :wink:


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outlier
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16 May 2009, 4:43 pm

I find that whether it's sensory or emotional triggers, the outcome is about the same. I think most consider strong emotions to be a meltdown trigger.



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16 May 2009, 4:51 pm

Things going out of control don't bother me too much, and sometime I like that excitement -- love to catch and surf a wild wave, it is a high beyond no other. But I think it was all my years of horse riding at high levels on difficult horses that trained my ability to be able cope with and actually ...like .. out of control moments (meaning not when I go out of control, but some situation in the enviroment does or is defying ordinarly rules of prediction). With practice you learn to maintain your equilibrium and balance through the uncontrollable moments and still be having the ride of your life when the chaos is over. Also, with regard to patience, waiting things out for a better long-term reward, and just staying in a waiting-holding pattern almost indefinitely (if necessary) until the right moment presents itself, is a skill I definitely learned in law school, and one that is extremely valuable to successfully achieve one's goals, dreams, and desires. These abilities did not come naturally to me, however, and took a great deal of effort and practice -- but I do at this point have these abilities in spades.



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16 May 2009, 4:58 pm

Strong emotions don't trigger meltdowns for me, and when it comes to a hot passionate romantic sexual relationship the stronger and deeper the emotions and emotional connection the better ! With or without conversation. I thrive on it. If someone really wants to turn on the deepest parts of my heart and soul and get into my brain, thats where.

But some people who socially babble-on nonsense and their mouth never stops going gets to me sometimes, and I just wish they would stop.



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16 May 2009, 5:39 pm

My meltdowns are often the result of changes/breaks with routine, sometimes also the result of certain types of over-stimulation, including social over-stimulation resulting from my social inability in dire situations in which social ability is necessary. That's the 2 I can think of now.

I meltdown severely about someone disturbing me watching a film that I planned seeing, I meltdown over something breaking sometimes or if we got the wrong food.

Generally, social interaction of all kind worsens meltdowns and people really shouldn't try to comfort me when I'm stressed. Just, don't. ewww I generally hate people doing that comfort stuff and it will anger me and disgust me and then I sure can't fight off the meltdown anymore.

I don't have emotional crises or anything like it.


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16 May 2009, 7:59 pm

I've had a couple of emotionally triggered meltdowns just this week, due to the AS diagnosis (defect tape from early family brainwashing), and potential loss of 2nd most important person in my life. Just brain screaming, crying, ranting, but I was near others so just went rigid-weird.

Came home and hid under a blanket, rocked and cried.

In my face false accusations, rejection, negative emotional overload will set me off. I had a mother that didn't like me, told me no one else would ever like me, and stuff that comes close to that will get all the tapes to running and it can be like a bad acid trip [I imagine, I've never done acid but the filmography in my head gets pretty intense]



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