November 24, 2020

I had a mini meltdown today – letting out a sharp cry, then curling up and covering my head. Usually my meltdowns include a sensory trigger, but this one was purely cerebral. My brain simply ran out of space to process all the things.

It was “mini” because I knew what to do about it.

“I need a whiteboard!” I yelled, dashing from the room, returning moments later with the magical device in hand. I curled up beside my boyfriend, who wrapped his arms around my shoulders, leaving my hands free to write. He waited patiently.

I surveyed the damage in my mind. There had been a swift avalanche, and I needed to recover three separate thoughts from under the wreckage. The first was easy to spot, and I jotted it down. The second required some searching, but I found it too. The third had only been half-formed when the overwhelm hit, so I stared at it a little longer to make sure it was complete.

With my three thoughts recorded, I was able to turn back to my boyfriend and calmly say, “I’m ready to keep talking now.”

I started by apologizing for the sudden outburst. He assured me that no matter what I do, and no matter how mysterious it seems, he always trusts that it will make sense eventually, once I have a chance to explain.

I am profoundly grateful for that trust.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.