Never underestimate the impact of a meltdown 

This was one of those days where I spent all the energy I had in morning. 

The boys went to the zoo today and the anticipation/excitement of that kept Emmett from sleeping last night. We camped out on the couch and he did eventually fall asleep, but he didn’t get nearly enough. 

He was a holy terror this morning. Overstimulation, exhaustion and anxiety are not his friends. 

As volatile as he was this morning, when we got to school he was fine. He gave me a super long hug and a kiss, before hopping out of the car and walking into the school. 

I don’t know own how he turns it off like that. Gavin used to do that and it drove me crazy. He’s get Lizze and I all worked up with his behavior and then shut it off, acting like nothing happened. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that Emmett went to school happy, but there’s no resolution for the adrenaline rush. It takes a great deal out of me and when I came home, I went to bed. I was pretty much useless until I woke up, partially replenished. 

Never underestimate the impact of a meltdown… 


  1. kimmy gebhardt

    The other day you posted about Emmett having a meltdown and not wanting to wear clothes, and when you said you were leaving to take Elliott to school he stopped, got dressed, and went to school. So, it seems like he does have some actual control over the meltdowns. What would happen if you were to tell him that he could melt down all he wanted, but he would have to do it in his bedroom? When he was done and wanted to be part of the family again, he could come out. I understand that this might seem like a punishment, but it really does seem like he is holding the entire family hostage with the meltdowns at times.

    1. I get what you’re saying but I don’t think it’s that simple. There are days he can work through it and days he can’t. It depends on where he is emotionally at the time.

      This morning, he didn’t get enough sleep and that wasn’t working in his favor

      1. kimmy gebhardt

        I can understand that some days would obviously be better than others, and fatigue would be a definite factor, but is telling him to go to his room not an option?

  2. Jimmy Rock

    Objectively speaking, and based solely upon the information that you have provided, Kim makes a valid point. It does seem, unfortunately, that the meltdowns do, at times, hold the whole family hostage, completely paralyzing the entire family unit from functioning at all. Meltdowns can definitely do that. I get it. But whatever the reason for the meltdown, whether it be lack of sleep, sensory overload, simple frustration from an inability to express himself, etc., all of those things are simply that — reasons for the meltdown. The fact remains that all of these things will likely continue to exist throughout his life. That, unfortunately, may not change. But what can change is his ability to deal with these triggers.

    Maybe you could talk about how you work through these meltdowns with Emmett, and/or, even better, what you might be doing to teach him to self-soothe. I know the triggers might be different each day, and the severity of the meltdown may not correlate, but the ability to self-soothe can be taught.

    I think you often, understandably, fall into a pattern of talking about the meltdowns from the angle of what kind of effect they have on YOU. I think most people can understand that the meltdowns are very stress-inducing. I know you’re just talking about your day and explaining the effect of a meltdown, both to people who have no familiarity with what you’re talking about, as well as those who get it. But I think it would be more enlightening to both groups, if you talked about this — short of eliminating the triggers themselves (an impossibility), what do you do, in the moment, when a meltdown is occurring?

    I’m not saying you never talk about that aspect – just trying to spin this from a different angle to help you give people a greater idea of what you’re talking about and what Emmett is dealing with when these meltdowns occur.

    I know this is not easy – believe me. Best of luck.

Please Share Your Thoughts