I have a lot of shutdowns but nobody ever gets that I’m not being a jerk when stressed. I just happen to have Asperger’s.
I don’t claim to be an expert in this, so if anything is wrong please feel free to correct. Or add your comments below if you want, too. It’s always good to hear other people’s stories.
This is 100% accurate for me.
I would also explicitly add that “remove them from the area” does NOT mean “physically grab them without permission”. Or even “start ordering them around when they’re too overloaded to deal with that or maybe even understand what you’re saying”.
That is often a good way to get either a stronger shutdown response, or to trigger a full meltdown instead. The same goes for when someone is having a meltdown. Those responses are likely to go over at least as well as condescendingly telling them to chill.
Oh! Yikes, I forgot to specify that.
(Probably because I assumed it would be obvious, LOL)
There is one people who is allowed to physically grab or order me around when I’m in shutdown. If he does, then he can get me into a place that it safer for me. I suspect one other person would be able to, but I know she’s not the type of person who’d do so, she’s the type of person to test if I am and give information to people around us that I’m not okay and that stuff needs to change but not to physically move me if I am far enough gone that I need that.
If anyone else does so, I shutdown even more. It takes even longer to leave the shutdown. It’s more extreme. If I wasn’t catatonic, I go catatonic. Trying to make me leave a situation when I can’t only leads to me being even less capable of doing anything, and even less trusting of people in general. People doing this has actually caused some long term problems as well as short term problems. It’s actually even caused my dog to have issues with being protective, because really, there is a point at which you just don’t do that.
Another thing that wasn’t mentioned was do not guilt someone for being in a shutdown. Maybe I’ve just been unlucky with who I’ve been around, but apparently people have decided this is an appropriate response. If they guilt me about it, then clearly I’ll just get up and do what they want, right? Actually that’s another thing that will make me shutdown more, but will also make me start having self-hate. If this is done enough then this will cause people to have lower self esteem. I just can’t even understand this one…
I have seen nts dismiss shutdowns derisively. Most of them think it is an inappropriate response. We have an nt girl in my guide unit who withdraws into herself instead of outwardly tantruming and I have heard other adults make passing comments about her being “a shutdowner” and saying they won’t put up with it. Granted this is a neurotypical tantrum and deliberate but I don’t doubt most nts can’t tell the difference and treat them all the same.
I experience amnesia during my shutdowns (which are often caused by people fighting/yelling around me), and allistics always assume I’m ‘just being difficult’, when really I legitimately can’t remember what I said or other people said when I was ‘shut down’. Usually, calmly explaining what was said afterwards helps.
But yeah, don’t guilt someone about having a shutdown, and believe them when they say they are having one/that they get amnesia/that they can’t speak at the moment. Trust them.
We don’t like having shutdowns. They’re scary and stressful and not fun. Why people think we’d fake such unpleasant events for attention boggles me.
Yup, This happens.. that list of things that happen about 50 or 60% of them are what happens to me, during what Aaron and I call a big one. I have have several small ones and my Trileptal and Magnesium help soften and slow the progression of the smaller ones, gives me time to get away from the stimulus. I am sharing this here because it needs to be shown, this is an EXCELLENT description! PROPS!]