Meltdowns – Banging My Head Against the Wall

It’s hard to write about meltdowns, they are very difficult to describe. The most frustrating part of having one is the fact that I have very little control over it. In fact while I am having a meltdown it feels as if I have lost control of everything.

I become very much like a child having a tantrum, but the reality is at that point I can no longer think clearly so my cognitive abilities may not be far above that of a child as the episode comes on. I am completely overwhelmed by everything.

Many of my meltdowns are tied to anxiety.

I don’t often bang my head against walls but if I do, it is because I am in a very dark place, sick, or in pain. This is a last resort scenario, when something is too much and I just “need it to stop”.

Not encouraging this behavior just trying to shed some light on something that doesn’t get enough discussion.

Every time I have a meltdown I write a poem. Here is one I wrote a while ago.

Banging My Head Against the Wall

The worst of meltdowns.

Trapped with my own anxiety and sense of dread

swirling endlessly inside my head.

I can’t escape.

Please make it stop.

Curled up rocking my back to the wall

tears and eyeliner pouring down my face.

Stop! Stop! The panic continues

while I bang my head up

against the wall.

It’s gotten to that point

where everything falls apart.

You think I am overreacting to something small

but this is the result of holding things in

 hours, weeks, even months.

It’s always the same.

I reach my limit.

Eventually that one thing happens

and everything just becomes too much for me.

The weight I’ve been carrying comes crashing down hard.

Desperate, panicked, and alone, I am stuck beneath it.

“Get a hold of yourself! You are acting like a child!”

The words don’t help because I can’t

make it stop.

I would if I could

but this has to run it’s course.

Once the meltdown starts it overtakes me.

All I can do is run, make irrational choices, and cry.

When a meltdown hits I am lost and tormented.

You may be here with me but I am alone

and feeling helpless

drowning.

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18 thoughts on “Meltdowns – Banging My Head Against the Wall”

  1. We are energy systems and I find considerable help in the ancient Japanese system of Jin Shin Jyutsu. A book by Alice Burmeister called The Touch of Healing has useful flows and self help flows. In the middle of night if I am awake I find it useful to begin with the left hand and hold each finger for a couple of minutes (It should be pad of fingers to pad of finger) then do the right fingers. For anxiety hold the right thumb with the left hand. Again, pads of fingers to pad of the thumb. If nothing else it is distracting and I find it helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Everyone has destructive behaviors when they are upset (get a tattoo or smoke, etc). You are not alone, although your struggles and behaviors are more extreme. “Neurotypicals” have filters that block out many sounds, and other stimuli, you may feel overwhelmed and wore out by what is going on around you. Does that sound right or is it something different?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a NT with autistic relatives, is there anything I could do to help? Be quiet, of course, but maybe bring something soothing? I read someplace about autistic children responding well to being stroked on the arm with a soft hairbrush. Maybe knowing what is soothing to the individual and bringing it would help.

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    1. There are things that help calm a meltdown for some. Our nephew loves Bob Marley, and if we notice him starting to lose control, someone starts singing “Don’t worry… About a thing… Cause every little thing.. is gonna be alright”. He joins in, and it usually mellows things out for him. For others, though, like myself, it’s more a removal of stimuli that’s needed. Even trying to talk to me in a calming or soothing tone is too much because it is truly an overload situation.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I loved the poem, and the care you put into constructing it. I’m amazed that you write a poem each time. I’m so drained afterwards, when time resumes rationality. But, of course, we’re all different. I admire your response to meltdown.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t had as many meltdowns as I used to, but I tend to overstretch myself with chores late at night and sleep too long during the morning. Yesterday I went to bed at 9:30 pm my time and didn’t get up until Noon my time.

    Today is a day to take a well earned rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This sounds very much like a greatly heightened version of my non-autistic meltdowns. Apparently, the autism heightens every experience. I guess losing control allows some of the anxiety and bottled up energy (anger, fear, etc.) to boil off.

    I guess a meltdown in another mechanism the our bodies and minds use to cope.

    Very well written poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. HI Anne,

    I think you are right that things do pile up and then a little thing causes you to explode. I pray that maybe your writing as an issue comes up can relieve the bigger blow ups. I understand about stuffing things down. I bet writing this blog and talking about it in a safe forum helps, too. (and prayers and encouragements from friends.) This week you hopefully will be getting a reply from a girl named Mariah. She has a blog about her brothers called Artistically Autistic. She is one of my students who needs a little reminder that she isn’t alone out there.

    Thanks, Gary

    On Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 1:41 AM, Anonymously Autistic wrote:

    > anonymouslyautistic posted: “It’s hard to write about meltdowns, they are > very difficult to describe. The most frustrating part of having one is the > fact that I have very little control over it. In fact while I am having a > meltdown it feels as if I have lost control of everything. I ” >

    Liked by 1 person

  8. If with someone who is having a meltdown, I prefere it best to know and understand WHY they are having that meltdown. That way, they know they have some form of support with them. I know I can get them to a better place before they fully lose it or refocus their attention before it gets to that questionable point-of-no-return.

    Other than that, viewed by the typical person, a meltdown looks like the person can’t handle reality and are having first-world problems. They appear like an attention-needy teenager who isn’t get 100% of everyone’s attention at that very second and throw a tantrum. I think, when a meltdown happens, and someone asks, “What was that all about back there?” the best thing to do is ask, “Will you listen and try to understand and not judge me?” If they pause for 3 seconds or more, they don’t need to know. They are just trying to satisfy their curiosity. If they look genuine before or even AFTER those 3 seconds, give it a shot. Gauge their face best you can while you explain. Judging faces can be damn difficult for more Autistic people. Some it comes rather easy and for less, it’s 50/50.

    Ok, I’m done. Thank you for reading my reply. I know it was long.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “If they look genuine” – I cant do this at all with people UNLESS I know them VERY well and have had time / years to study their faces and memorize them. I have to do this for every person except for the obvious emotions – crying, big smile, laugh.

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