It was the first image, or comparison, that came to my mind. When people get drunk they can have hard hangovers the day after, which will reflect on their mood, and sensitivity to noises, lights, etc. As far as I understood, a hangover can make you feel overwhelmed by your senses, apart from putting you with bad mood. You wish it’s Sunday and that you don’t have to get out of bed, in the darkness, in silence.
Couple days ago I had one of those days in which I had to deal with (lots of) other people. It started at 8am with a photo session, then a working meeting, some chores to be done, post office, shopping, lunch out, another working meeting, social meeting, etc. from 8 am until 10:30 pm I didn’t have a moment alone in a safe place.
Some times happen that everything comes on the same time, and it can be overwhelming and extremely draining.
Usually I try to not have more than 2 meetings on the same day. It gives me time to breath, to have a moment with my own, to recycle. But some other times, seems that you just can’t predict or even control it. It comes everything at once.
I must say that the day went very well, my defences were working perfectly, I had a nice day and in fact, it was a very productive day after all.
Then came the day after.
Meeting people can be compared with drinking alcohol, even though I don’t drink, so I actually don’t know much about it.
One glass it’s ok, but 10 are too much for one day. You, most certainly, have a hangover the day after.
I had a meltdown.
First I didn’t realize, mainly because I live alone so I don’t have to deal with other people in my own space. I don’t have to open the curtains to let the sun in, and I don’t have to listen anything but the silence. I cut the sun, even though I opened the windows for the air to come in. I didn’t put music. I took my breakfast with my head covered with a hood and sunglasses, sat down on the floor in lotus flower looking to the void. The mobile rang and in a reflective act I turned it off. No one could interfere with my silence. I checked the mailbox and had several emails to answer. But knowing myself already, I decided to not do it otherwise I could answer them in a not so nice or polite way. Somehow I had the skype on, and several people trying to reach me. I turned it off as well without answering anyone.
If you’re autistic, when you have a social/meeting’s day, you should make sure you can have a time off on your safe place.
When you have a meltdown, you’re just overwhelmed with senses, and you need to rest. You’re most probably drained. Exhausted.
Yesterday I didn’t do anything. I just couldn’t. I was conscious that whatever I would do, that would include contact with others, would end up a mess. I didn’t even post anything on any social media. I wrote down notes to myself.
Then, I went create something. Creating can be as good as meditation. I drew, I wrote, I worked on new photographs, and I cooked. But I knew I couldn’t, or shouldn’t make any contact with anyone.
I needed to give some information to someone though. I wrote an email and at the end I said: “don’t reply to me today, please do it only tomorrow.” Because if I had a reply, it would make a conversation, which was the last thing I wanted: to feel connected with others.
I only have meltdowns when I have to deal with others. Or afterwards, to be more precise. Usually I take a walk by the sea, or just disappear for couple days to the countryside. But sometimes we can’t, so the best thing is to make it conscious, accept the fact that creating social defences can be draining and that we need time and space to recycle. Embrace your own self, your own silence, your own time and space. Because this, accepting and embracing your self, is nothing more than having a moment of self respect.
Make sure that the others who surround you can understand and respect that too. There’s nothing wrong in enjoying your own solitude and silence. It can be very productive and healthy.
We have different concepts of time and space. We are all different as living beings. We all have different needs. And there’s a time for everything. A time for shouting and a time for silence.
Our meltdowns are just that: our need to be with our own selves.
With our own silence. With our own concept of time and space.
Protected against external energies.
If you deal with autistics, and they’re having a meltdown, make sure they feel safe, put the blinds down, turn off the music… and don’t even say “Hi”, because we might get stressed by the fact that you expect a “hi” back.
Don’t even dare to touch us, even less our heads. There’s nothing worst than having someone rubbing our heads.
But you can gently whisper something nice though: something that wouldn’t require an answer.
Like a whispered “love you”, before leaving and close the door. A “love you” whispered can be helpful on the healing process because a meltdown is our way to heal our own self. Which should always be done with love.
Just to make it clear: a meltdown is not us having pity on ourselves, it’s rather our way of recycling and healing our social defences. If you have the need to say something: whisper it. But please don’t mistake whispering with doing annoying angelic voices. And again: don’t touch us, because doing so you’re interfering with our energetic space that is healing, yet still opened like a wound.
If you deal with an autistic person, try to keep in mind things that can make us feel safe and try to make them available. A room with door closed. A smell. A special blanket or a salty warm bath. In my case there are smells, colours or spaces that can help, like the smell of incense.
Sometime ago I spent almost all year travelling, being on different cities and cultures, without a concept of home, or safe place to be. And that was when I wrote “The Sacred Book of G”, a journal that became my concept of home and safe place. When I needed to feel safe, I would start writing. And it was incredibly releasing.
My bedroom now is fully painted in dark teal. And apart from the bed, there’s a shrine with a Buddha image, a bawl with crystals and incense from Tibet. And there, is where I feel safe and able to restore and recycle my own defences.
So I can keep creating.