In a piece in this morning’s Guardian, Charlie Hancock writes, in part, about what a meltdown is like:
This is what it’s like. To be autistic is to live in a world where everything is too loud, too smelly and too bright, populated by people who say one thing and get angry when you fail to realise that they really meant something different. At the same time, your brain is struggling to keep track of and process the stimuli constantly bombarding it. Your brain and body then shut down and go into overdrive at the same time. Adrenaline courses through your veins. You are swallowed in a cloud of panic and cannot help but scream and sometimes lash out at others or even yourself.
But then, almost as soon as the meltdown erupts, it is over, and you are left with a mixture of exhaustion and intense shame. It can take days for the burnout to dissipate, but the shame is far longer lasting. It can colour the way that people see you and treat you.