Okay, so I personally have a lot of issues, especially with identifying what I’m feeling, I never have solid moods and they change constantly, but with the aid of my therapist(s), and a lot of personal research through textbooks and the internet, I’ve sort of begun to be able to identify the general emotions I’m feeling, and regulating them a bit more. I’ve recently discovered this is actually a problem a fair amount of people have. (Apparently this is something a lot of people with Aspergers or BPD have?) so basically.
Basically one of the many things I do on a daily basis, is I’ll go through a list similar to the one below, and with each “mood set” on a scale of 0-10 I’ll write how much I think I’m experiencing that mood, and then go through all the feelings I’ve writing within and do the same, it’s not always perfect because emotions aren’t very defined, and sometimes I can’t even tell if I’m experiencing something or not. But because I’m not looking for a single word to explain all my feelings, and I’m not looking for a definitive answer, I can figure out the general aspects of it. And also I want you all to remember that it’s okay to have contrasting emotions, you can be on top of the world at the same time as feeling shit, you don’t have to be on one side or the other, and you can experience all emotions equally at the same time. If you don’t understand an emotion, or don’t fully know if you’re feeling it, looking up the definition always helps, and if you just can’t figure out if you’re experiencing it or not you can skip it.
What to do when you see your friend, child, wife, etc having a sensory meltdown.
-get them out, wherever you are get them to a dark, cool, quiet place if you can. Taking them home or to a familiar place if you can that is quiet and not chaotic is best.
-use a calm, soft voice when talking to them, don’t use baby talk and only say what you can do to get them to a quieter, better place if you can, you talking is just more sensory input for them to deal with.
-DO NOT TOUCH THEM I know you want to hug them and comfort them but that will just make it worse, much much worse.
-understand they are shut down and all their primitive instincts are in overdrive, even if never have in the past physically hurt you, they might this time, their body is screaming at them that they are in pain, confused and in danger, their good sense is GONE stay safe! walking away as soon as you got them in a good place is really the best thing you can do.
-In ½ hour to an hour you can check on them. (as long as they are not prone to self-harm)
-I know its natural to want to hug, cuddle, talk and stay with them when they are in so much distress, you are not being heartless or a bad mom or friend or whatever by doing what is best for them and helping them the most to get out of their sensory overload quicker.
-after their meltdown don’t bring up anything just say “its alright” and give them a glass of water.
-For the next two hours they will still be “coming off their sensory overload" have them do something calming, relaxing and positive with them for the next two hours like watching a favorite movie, listing to music, taking a shower etc. then you should be able to move on. Do not touch them for these two hours, and keep using a soft gentle voice.
-I’ve heard putting your child in the tub when they are having a meltdown is good, autistic people love water and it really helps them to calm down. I take a shower when i feel myself getting a bit panic-y. Having a room to yourself, to calm down is so important for autistic people. If this happens at school, or any public place, finding a one-person bathroom and having them sit down there with the lights off can really help.
*PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress syndrome) attacks and Panic Attacks are very similar to sensory overload episodes, use these same techniques when your husband, son etc is having a PTSD episode.
When it comes to autism, the autism itself often isn’t the thing causing issues. It’s usually either ableism/disablism, or co-morbid conditions.
Autism is just a different way of thinking.
Co-morbid conditions can be anything from Specific Learning Difficulties (e.g. Dyslexia) to mental illness (e.g. OCD) to Sensory Processing Disorder, which is what I’m going to talk about today.
Sensory Processing Disorder is when your brain doesn’t interpret sensory information properly. Our sensory organs actually receive more information than we get. Our brains just can’t handle every little thing at once, so it filters out things like the feel of your socks against your skin, and the sound of the clock ticking.
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is when it either doesn’t filter out enough, and you receive too much input to handle, or it filters out too much, and you don’t get all of the information you need.
This is just one of those annoying things
that Autistic people have to put up with.
It’s also one of the things that mostly gets seen through
“Oh no, look how terrible it is for me, my child freaks out
when I take them to the shops. Oh woe is me!”