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Is She Having A Meltdown?

A friend of mine shared a video on Facebook this morning showing a person with Aspergers having a meltdown. There was also a trained dog calming them down. It was sad and sweet and really cool to watch the dog put pressure on the person to calm them. I have shared the video on my Facebook page.


Later my husband watched it and also thought the dog was pretty cool. This then prompted him to ask me what the difference was between me being upset about something and having a meltdown. I said things like ‘it’s more emotional’, ‘I’ll hit things and sometimes myself’. But he is sure I’ve done those things when I’m just upset too.


This got me thinking – maybe there are not too many visual differences between a meltdown and being angry or upset. I feel and know the difference but it’s not so simple for NTs to see. So no wonder many people will see someone have a meltdown and just see anger or sadness but what could really be happening is an anxious or angry reaction to too much noise, bright lights or a light touch that feels like a punch.


Then I thought that maybe my meltdowns and arguments with hubby blend in with each other. Maybe sometimes what starts as an argument or just being in a bad mood leads to a meltdown. He and I start arguing about something, frustration leads to yelling that leads to meltdown. I have sensory sensitivity to sound and touch so if there’s lots of loud yelling in an argument (which is usually mostly coming from me ironically, hubby doesn’t yell much) then it makes sense that I can go into meltdown while in an argument.


I had never really thought about it before but it makes sense. Now I’m not saying that this is true for all Aspie adults but it makes sense to me and how I roll.


I wonder if I can get hubby to see the difference. There have been a couple of times when I have been able to tell him that I’m having a meltdown. But sometimes I’m just too overwhelmed. Maybe all he has to do is ask. If I can’t answer than I’m having a meltdown.


To be honest though most of our arguments are just arguments. I have meltdowns less and less as an adult but in the three and a half years I’ve been married I know I’ve had a few.


Also going back to the putting pressure thing. That usually works for me. A tight hug or wrapped tightly in a blanket or something is good. But just like the dog, it’s good to not go in for the tight hug straight away, wait a bit. Space is important.


Ah humans, we’re complicated sometimes.



4 responses to “Is She Having A Meltdown?

  1. We aspies aren’t too complicated, rather language is what makes things complicated. I’ve written about almost everything you’ve addressed in this post, except for the difference between a meltdown and just being upset. I also thought that was straightforward. When I am in a meltdown it is crystal clear that I am in a complete spiraling metldown. They are not fun.

    • I wonder if maybe a meltdown for someone on the mild end of the spectrum is different to someone on the severe end. I’m on the mild end so maybe its more of a grey area in my case.

      • Maybe. I left a link back to your blog, since I didn’t want to write about this topic again, even though I almost had a meltdown today. You covered it well. I am doing a 30 day challenge writing about things that happen everyday that are autism specific.

  2. Pingback: Autism Life and Fear Of Change day 3 of 30 day challenge | Searching for answers to Aspergers Syndrome

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