This poem comes from a long term reader, fellow blogger, and dear friend. I am honored to share with you a work by the one and only Allison M. Kramer of the Through 1 Filter blog.
Thank you for sharing such an intimate moment. People need to understand meltdowns. These conversations are important.
My meltdown is
Echoed in my screaming
Adrenaline is racing like napalm through my veins
Moro reflex punching my gut over and over
Reliving the sensory overload on a loop
I’m drowning without being in water
and I have to go to bed for 2 days
Sometimes it brings red and blue flashing lights on a squad car
Handcuffs chewing into my wrists
Lots of shouting and grabbing
Strapped to a backboard while my skin turns purple and black
Locked up, drugged up
Being punished for something I cannot control
It isn’t a conscience choice I’ve made
To disrupt my life or yours
It so happened that
A dog was barking-
A child was screaming-
Someone set off a firecracker-
And I couldn’t process the information fast enough
To remain in control of my executive functioning
The threat of sensory overload
hangs pregnant, like a cumulonimbus cloud
I need a safe place and safe people- now and until I die
To successfully process what life heaps upon me
Will you help me to make this a reality? I cannot do it alone, behind a computer detached from any notion of community. I don’t want my life story to end in a jail cell, nursing home or alley.
Allison M. Kramer
Author:Through 1 Filter
My mental profile is SO spiky. I am extremely gifted at a few things but certain things I can’t handle.
Last minute schedule changes stress me out. Meltdowns are the worst and having one in public is embarrassing as hell. A woman in her mid-thirties crying like a child. I hide and cry. This also happens anytime someone I trust misleads me (because I trust few people).
Sometimes if the schedule change is big enough I will go into a full blown panic. It is worse if I feel like I am trapped and can’t say no – I feel like I am drowning every time this happens. I know how to recover from them but they are not under my control.
My meltdown is NOT a tantrum – it is a very true expression of inner feelings that I can no longer contain. The dam has broken and a flood is imminent. Everything I’ve been holding in has got to come out.
People think I am being dramatic or exaggerating things but I literally can’t stop a meltdown. In addition the thing that I am reacting to may seem very small to them. They don’t see things from my perspective or know all the other factors that went into building that meltdown.
Maybe someone I love just passed away, or I am feeling sick, maybe I am having horrible PMS, or trouble sleeping, sometimes my social anxiety gets out of control.
These are the disabling things I don’t talk about.
I tend to bottle everything up, which can’t be healthy, and eventually like a can of frozen soda – when the pressure becomes too great, I POP! I’ve done this all my life.
It’s too late once a meltdown has started, they have to run their course – sometimes if I get away fast enough I can help one pass more quickly.
While meltdowns are physically and mentally painful and I NEVER want to have one, sometimes the relief felt after one is amazing especially if you’ve been under extra stress.
I always feel worn out afterwards, like someone who has had a seizure, or an orgasm. Sometimes I feel naked and exposed meltdowns make you feel vulnerable and out of control.
Please be compassionate next time you see a thirty-something woman crying in public, you don’t know what she’s got going on.
She might be autistic, she might be stressed, she might even be me. 😉
Sometimes it creeps on slowly
I see it coming hours in advance
Other days it hits me like a freight train
I feel like I am always holding off The Beast
Swimming through mental sludge
My head is pounding and my eyes burn
Out in the world I am unprotected
I need to find a private space
Being alone is the only cure
Finally I am home
Worn down and empty
I find myself in bed early
Rolled tightly in blankets
Soothed by darkness
Maybe if I sleep the monster will leave
Sometimes rest is all I need
There are days where nothing can save me
When all my senses begin to run together
Sounds and sights become dizzying sensations
I cannot move but I must
The room is spinning so fast
I make it to the bathroom just in time
as motion sickness overtakes me
I am paralyzed by an indescribable pain
My body and mind stop working together
Getting back to my bed is challenging
So I stay on the floor in my bathroom
Curled into a tight ball
Hiding under a pile of towels
Thinking is impossible
The monster is in control
Pain and confusion
The Monster has me
Nothing left to do but wait it out
A poem about an Autistic Meltdown.
Squinting in the light
The world is so bright
Shiny daylight fixtures
Killing me slowly
Eyes and brain aching
I’m not faking
Sounds you can’t hear
Driving me crazy
Can’t tune it out
Can’t make it stop
I close my eyes and rock
Counting to ten
Trying to hold it in
Looking for a place to hide
The world is spinning
I can’t escape
Hot tears burst
My body burns
Nobody can help me
Let me be
Do not touch me
I need to breathe
This pain must run its course
Before I sleep
A poem inspired by Sensory Overload / Sensory Meltdowns / Autistic Meltdowns / Sensory Processing Disorder