This might be not so polished or coherent because I'm overloaded. Heh.
Maybe it's two separate posts that I need to write here. I'm starting with overload, but tagging along right behind that is overwhelm that I'm feeling about not understanding people.
What does that even mean? Probably a lot of things. A state before meltdown. A feeling in my head. A scattered sensation. An exhaustion that is simultaneously 'wired' and an anxiety that makes my body feel heavy. It's all the senses all at once becoming a little more brash and difficult to handle. It's feeling trapped, whole body coiled like a wire. It's like drowning, being able to breathe still just by fighting but feeling like little by little something is slipping away. Like there is an edge I'm trickling towards.
That edge is a scary place. I used to think it was the edge of psychosis. I used to think that if I let myself relax, if I let go and stopped fighting the current I was feeling in my body and mind, if I didn't keep coiled up in every muscle of my body, I would go insane.
I admit, I have gone into states of regression when I've gone over that edge. Into places of non-language and vertigo, spinning word salad or feeling so scared and vulnerable that I feel like I'm 4. It is scary. Maybe some outside onlooker would see it as psychotic. But I think it's meltdown.
Meltdown is different for different people I suppose. Not everyone would describe it this way. But this is Karen-meltdown, not anyone else-meltdown.
Meltdowns for me are not tantrums. They may not be classic in any sense, at least from how they appear on the outside.
In overload, the senses are too much to bear. Everything hurts. I crave quiet, and darkness, and deep pressure, and warmth. In meltdown, things get all crossed and the senses don't process in their normal way, so the coherence in my mind is all messy and the world disappears from sight and touch and sometimes sound. Things don't make sense anymore.
Meltdowns happen rarely for me. I have great self control. I sometimes wish I didn't, because having it means suffering from overload, in silence. Like being in a constant state of feeling bombarded by the world.
This past Friday I went to a conference about Aspergers. I attended keynotes and panels, and even participated in one. I hung out with other adults on the spectrum, talked with a parent about .. 'stuff', asked a question, even, in front of the hundreds of people there. It took me two days (at least) to recover, and work these past two days have been really taxing.
Then at work today, it was just hitting me how much my interactions with people feel like they are happening between.. well, not a pane of glass. More like between us is 2 panes of glass, and in between those panes is a layer of water. Sometimes I can't hear the person well. Sometimes I can't make eye contact, or read their face because I have to look elsewhere. Then when I 'wake up' and I do look, I am faced with a whole crapload of emotions that I can't process. So I left work tonight and got home and J was asleep and I just cried. I feel like I could cry and cry because the world is overwhelming and I am sliding toward the edge, at any given moment maybe digging my fingernails into the ground a little more deeply, but still sliding...
I guess I'm still adjusting my understanding of it all. I'm still not at a place of acceptance with it all. I still fight against the overload instead of accepting my limits and respecting what I need to do to stay safe and integrated and grounded. And for that matter, I just don't exactly know what I need to do.