How Autism related meltdowns impact me as a parent, and how I cope

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  • Post last modified:April 1, 2018

It seems like I have endless patience because I shunt all I have, and reserve for those most important to me. I should print out a shirt that says, I only have patience for three people today, and you’re number four. lol

Anyway, back to Emmett and his meltdowns. 

Emmett’s a loud kid in general. We’re told it’s a sensory thing for him. He has an indoor voice, but he rarely if ever uses it. It’s like a baby pigeon. Everyone knows baby pigeons exist because adult pigeons have to come from somewhere, but no one ever sees them. 

When he melts down, he screams at us. I mean, he literally screams every single word he says. In my opinion, and based on the very nature of meltdowns, this is outside of his control. 

I don’t think he’s intending to scream, but in that moment, he’s so completely overwhelmed by everything, he just purges. A meltdown is basically an involuntary action, by which the body purges because it can look longer process anything. 

Think of it as a system overload. 

Emmett had roughly half a dozen system overloads today, and while I did maintain my composure, I’m completely exhausted as a result. It’s really easy to overlook how exhausting it is for a parent to deal with a single meltdown, let alone multiple meltdowns a day. 

When Emmett is in a flare, the threshold at which a meltdown is triggered, is significantly lowered. It honestly doesn’t take anything to set him off. 

It felt like one meltdown after another, the last one being around 9 PM, when he should have been sleeping. 

There is no way to reason with Emmett, or any other child for that matter, when they’re in a meltdown. In most cases, we have to hunker down, and wait it out. 

I’m far from perfect, and on nights like tonight, I come damn close to running out of patience. I sometimes have to put myself in time out, so I can keep myself centered, so to speak. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about maintenance. When I feel myself on the brink of losing my cool, I remove myself from the situation for a few minutes, even if I need to hide in the bathroom. It’s a way for me to collect myself, and remember that the meltdown I’m struggling to deal with, is so much worse for Emmett. He’s a child who’s so completely overwhelmed, the only thing he can physically do, is Purge. 

Days like yesterday, are exhausting on so many levels. I’m in a state of hypervigilance, because I possess enough insight to know that meltdowns are coming, but not enough to know when and where they’re going to happen. It could be hours or seconds away, and I try not to be caught off guard. 

Like I said at the beginning of this entry, meltdowns have pretty much kicked my ass this week. 

Hopefully, I’ll get a good night’s sleep because it’ll be more of the same in the morning.. ☺ 

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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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Healthevents Ltd

Really needed to read this today. @SpParentsHbook


System overload is so accurate. There are days I can handle it like a pro, and others I wish I coul…

Peg Haws

Ugh! My son is now 31 and very independent. Reading this I see why my therapist keeps talking to me…

Jennifer Carlson

My son had one the other day!! He’s 14vand 6’2!! Usually I can ask if he wants a hug, sometimes it…

Md Mahtazul Haque

The parents of autistic children have limitless patience, I guess. Similar to you, a parent of an autism angel. Thanks.

Md Mahtazul Haque

The parents of autistic children have limitless patience, I guess. Similar to you, a parent of an autism angel. Thanks.