At Your Most Difficult Times
It can be tough to experience meltdowns and shutdowns. It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes and have trouble regulating your emotions. This guide is here to help you understand these experiences and give you some tools to help you cope.
What Are Meltdowns and Shutdowns?
A meltdown is when you feel overwhelmed and have difficulty controlling your emotions and behavior. It can be a result of overstimulation or frustration, and it can cause you to feel like you're losing control. On the other hand, a shutdown is when you retreat into yourself, feeling overwhelmed and unable to engage in social interaction. Shutdowns can make you feel like you want to be alone, and you may not feel like talking to anyone.
How Can I Cope with Meltdowns and Shutdowns?
Here are some tips to help you deal with these experiences:
Take deep breaths: Deep breathing is a simple and effective way to calm yourself down. It can help you feel more relaxed and in control. Try taking slow, deep breaths, counting to 10, or using visualization techniques like imagining yourself in a peaceful place.
Find a quiet place where you can feel safe: When you're feeling overwhelmed, it can be helpful to find a quiet place where you can feel safe and protected. This can be your room, a special chair, or even a closet. Take some time to be alone and calm down.
Use sensory tools like weighted blankets, fidget toys, or headphones: Sensory tools can help you regulate your emotions and focus your mind. For example, a weighted blanket can help you feel more calm and secure. Fidget toys can give your hands something to do, and headphones can help block out any loud noises that may be causing you stress.
Talk to someone you trust about how you're feeling: Talking about your feelings can help you feel better. Choose someone who you trust and who you feel comfortable talking to. They can listen to you and offer support.
Write about your feelings in a journal: Writing about your feelings can be a great way to get them out and process them. You can write as much or as little as you want, and you can do it at any time.
Take a break and engage in a calming activity such as coloring, drawing, or listening to music: Doing something calming and enjoyable can help you feel better and recharge your batteries. Choose an activity that you enjoy and that makes you feel relaxed.
Remember, these experiences are normal for autistic individuals, and it's okay to take care of yourself. You're strong, and you will get through it.