What Is An Autistic Breakdown?
The Autistic Breakdowns are some of the worst experiences I am capable of having. At the time of this post, they have averaged at a frequency of once every two weeks, although it wasn’t uncommon for that ratio to sometimes go up to once every week during rather stressful periods.
I used to believe there was only one possible way for a breakdown to result. This is wrong.
Breakdowns are caused by built-up frustration. Although Normals also suffer from breakdowns, the triggers for them tend to be extreme and infrequent, or numerous and mild. The Autistic Breakdowns are caused by six triggers instead:
1) Not being able to figure out a rule
2) Thinking about breaking a rule
3) “Bad Thoughts” during isolated periods where there is a past expectation of talking
4) Feeling weak
5) Normal People stupidity
6) The fear of having a breakdown
Although I haven’t found Normal People triggers to be particularly disconcerting, there is probably a chance they would be able to incite them as well.
1, 2, 4, and 6 are self-evident.
By “Bad Thoughts” i mean that when I am alone for too long, I suffer from an inferiority complex, superiority complex, thoughts of hopelessness in relation to my crush, vivid feelings that come back from remembering terrible memories, all that jazz
By “Normal People stupidity” I mean the lack of understanding that Normal People can sometimes have when they talk to me either about my condition or sometimes in general. Examples include
-Denying a Rule exists for every situation
-Denying the severity of any of the symptoms
-Deciding what is best for me with things related to the autism
-Calling me a robot
Not being able to figure out the rule is the strongest trigger, followed by thinking of breaking a rule, then Normal stupidity, then feeling weak, and then bad thoughts.
All of this tells what causes the breakdown, none of it tells you what they’re like.
Breakdowns last for about 2 hours from their initial onset, although the time can be reduced through coping mechanisms. The first part of the breakdown makes it difficult to breath and suddenly there comes this overarching fear, this fear of absolutely everything that brings me to tears and wanting to claw my head to distract myself from the emotional suffering. The breakdowns result in a hyperawareness of how absolutely miserable I am at their onset. As it continues, I begin to feel physically weak, and by the end of it I’m lucky if I can walk straight. Bad thoughts begin to swarm into my head reminding me of how monstrous I am and how stupid I am for being autistic. In small quantities, I can handle that. When it’s an endless stream and you’re too tired to fight back, you just submit, and allow them to continue unhindered.
During an autistic breakdown, I cry. There has not been a breakdown so far that has not brought me down to tears. During every breakdown, there is this urge to escape. To escape from everything and everyone and to get away but no; the System forbids running away. During a breakdown, the entire System becomes too much of a burden to keep up, and it drops. Just drops. I try aiming for anything at all to shake in my hand repeatedly, I try looking for any spot to walk around in circles, to tap my knee, to flap my hands, to shake my body, to do any repetitive motion that might help make all the stress go away if only by a little bit.
I usually just grab my Tinman toy and shake him around furiously. Tinman is the best friend anyone could ever want. The best.
I pace, I smash my head against walls (or used to), I claw my head (or used to), anything that makes it end.
My speaking style reverts back to it’s “Natural Autistic” state. Run-on sentences, verbose thinking, overly long metaphors and similes, not looking at people’s faces, a fluctuating tone.
As it subsides, the tears stop, the emotional pain goes away, the Tinman shaking simmers.
But when the breakdown ends, it doesn’t. For then next 36 or so hours, my body and mind will be too weak to accomplish anything. My focus on any activity becomes scatterbrained and I fall behind in any obligations I have. For the next few hours after it ends, my body becomes even weaker until I want to do nothing but just lay down. I can’t focus on any kind of serious work. I am left weak.
And at the same time during those hours, the System does not give a damn. It demands that I use all available evidence to figure out what caused the breakdown to begin with and then ‘solve’ it so that it will never happen again.
I am not always successful. It doesn’t stop bugging me until all those hours are up.
Because of how frequent these breakdowns are, I have failed 5 classes. Because of my obsession with trying to solve them so they never happen again, I have become absolutely afraid of another ever happening again.
Every two weeks, I become afraid. It might happen again then. They were only mild before Sophomore Year, and Junior Year they escalated to the terrible point they’re at now.
That’s an Autistic Breakdown.