Sunday, 16 April 2017

Me, Asperger's and Adult Meltdowns

Autistic children grow up to be autistic adults. They aren't cured, they don't grow out of it. It stays with us, and sometimes, in the case of me, it can get worse as we get older.

You might have seen films about autistic children having meltdowns in shops, adults can have meltdowns, too. I don't remember having meltdowns as a child (probably did) but I do when I was growing up from a teenager to an adult. Here are a few times.

The first one I really recall was one of my first shopping trips by myself. It was local. I had gone to buy some tapestry bits for doing a cross-stitch tapestry. When I came to pay for them, I realised I didn't have enough money. I was mortified. I left the shop in tears, and without a thing.

Cause: Frustration. Motto – Always take more than enough money when going shopping.

The second example was when I was at work. I had gone for an interview for another job in the same department. It was the written test, and included sums, especially percentages, which I am not good at all. I read it but still couldn't work it out. I got so upset, I ran out of the room in tears and to the nearest toilet. Not a good example for future employers. I was calmed down by my then team manager. I never got the job, and in hindsight, it was a good thing.

Cause: frustration. Motto - If you can't understand something, especially in an interview, I feel that it is best left out. If in doubt, leave it out.

The last example comes from the recent past of a few years ago. My mum and I used to go to the local big Sainsbury's. I used to get IBS within half an hour of starting walking round the aisles, so had to leave my mum to carry on while I went elsewhere. Only, when I came out, I couldn't find her and panicked. This caused me to get upset and cry, making me lose all reasonable thought. When my mum found me, I had a go at her, crying, causing a scene. Definitely a meltdown.

Cause: separation anxiety. Motto - Agree to meet at a particular point in the shop if you get separated. Or the parent to wait outside the toilet. We ended up agreeing to meet in the centre of the store. It worked.

So, adults can have meltdowns. I plan to write out a guide to meltdowns and shutdowns in due course.

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