Meltdowns are the number one behavior issue amongst those with Asperger Syndrome. Avoiding them is hard to do. The littlest thing can set someone off, but recognizing the signs early can minimize a meltdown.
Trips to Bible studies have become something that my “brothers” and I have made a regular thing. This causes some strain for me. The new surroundings, the new people, and new worship songs all make me nervous and more susceptible to a meltdown. There were several points on Friday night where I could have had a meltdown, but I did not.
Friday morning, unlike my normal schedule, I stayed home in the morning and worked the afternoon shift instead. Going away from my normal schedule kind of messed up my day. My eating pattern was off and it put my senses on edge. I asked my mom to brush my hair and avoided a meltdown by doing something I know calms me.
We left late for the Bible study and I was hungry. I dislike being late with a passion. Why set a time to leave if you’re not going to leave at that time? While sitting in the car waiting, I was almost in tears. I asked to pick up something to eat and avoided a meltdown by filling my stomach.
At the Bible study, while in an already stressed state, I had a cup of tea in my hand while talking to someone. One of my “brothers” came up behind and shook my shoulders while encouraging me to be more social. A little bit of the tea splashed onto my hand. I lashed out at him just a bit, then I excused myself to the bathroom to clean my hand and take some deep breaths. I avoided a meltdown by pulling myself away from the situation and giving my senses a change to calm down.
Meltdowns can be caused by simple things, but they can be avoided. Eating, reading, singing, and brushing hair will not work for everyone. Those are simply specific to me. Find what calms you, separate yourself from the situation, and do that until you feel comfortable again. I always carry a small brush and a book with me, just in case. People would much rather I excuse myself for ten or fifteen minutes than freak out and blow up at them. Preventing meltdowns isn’t a skill you perfect overnight. It takes time and practice, but you can do it. I’ve gotten better over the years and, Friday night, avoided several meltdowns in one day. You can too.