April 6, 2020

A meltdown doesn’t always mean that I’m upset. Often, it simply means that I’m depleted.

Today, after five minutes of ordinary conversation with my boyfriend, I collapsed into tears on his shoulder. There had been nothing upsetting about the talk, and I quickly told him so.

But there had been lots of multitasking and miscommunication in the previous few hours of working from home. I didn’t realize soon enough that the energy I needed for that five-minute conversation was the last ounce of energy I had.

People often find autistic meltdowns confusing, and ask why we’re upset about such a small thing. Sometimes there are hidden reasons, like sensory triggers. But other times, it isn’t “about” the thing in question at all.

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.