I carried a pocket list of personal strategies to deal with meltdowns, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts (rumination), shutdowns, depressions…
Long before I knew I was on the spectrum.
I’m bright enough, with a detailed memory.
But when the fog of meltdown comes on, I can’t think of what to do in that moment.…
To just deal.
So when I felt I was losing control, I’d slip away, pull it from my wallet… and privately remind myself of what works for me.
At first I was embarrassed… inside. Kept it secret…
It felt so… childish.
And then I stopped referring to it cuz.…
Well, I felt like…
I should just know it, already. Ya know….?
Got out of the habit.… Lost that source of comfort…
Eventually, my emotional roller coaster pretty much went off its rails again — forcing me to re-create it.
I personally keep a folded index card in my wallet that I can pull out any time, anywhere things start to slip out of control…
And I can’t think… what to do.
Hope it’s useful to others…
THE DARK AUTIST’S DOs & DON’Ts: MELTDOWNS, PANIC, OBSESSIVE THOUGHTS
- TELL SOMEONE I TRUST & WHO KNOWS ME WELL!
- Mindful breathing
- Walking (mindful, take photos)
- Escape into Nature
- Repetitive, productive task
- Meditate, yoga, breathing exercise
- Reduce sensory & social stim
- Drink a little wine or beer
- Turn off the TV, radio, Facebook
- Alone time in a safe space (no phone or answering my door)
- Reduce light (or reduce too much depressing darkness)
- Reduce noise (close windows, turn off all sound sources)
- Natural scents that soothe or focus me… Sandalwood, Lavender, Citrus, Rosemary…
- Hot shower or bath
- Sunbathe or tanning booth
DISTRACT & ACCOMPLISH
- Solve a problem
- Use intellect, mindlessly… crossword, chess (solo, against electronic game)
- Play musical instrument (be careful… may not be possible… and bad time to feel frustrated by imperfections!).
- Read (carefully, low-emotion, no news)
- Special interests… especially physical, like yard work
- Write words and/or music
- Art or craft
GUARD SELF CARE
- Sleep Routine
- LIGHT exercise (heavy exercise can cause depression)
- ADLs (shower, shave, dress, launder)
- Love (See Kimmie)
Facebook or Internet Caffeine Weed or drugs(effects too unpredictable) Retreat to bed TALK! To self or others (for at least a timed half hour) Answer phone or door (for at least a timed half hour) Play radio, CDs, movie (for at least a timed half hour) Go to loud, complex places (bar, party, social or family function) Make commitments or decisions BUY ANYTHING!
Comment, private message, or email me any of your strategies!
You may well help others…
Including especially autistic kids.…