Managing Neurospicy Meltdowns

Hi there, as some of my followers might be aware, in 2023 I received a late diagnosis of ADHD. What a rollercoaster of self-discovery it has been!

I think one of the biggest challenges for me, has been understanding and dealing with my meltdowns. Now, it’s not like these have been a new thing, I’ve always suffered from them, but now I have better understanding so that I can reflect on and understand the moments when those intense feelings and emotions overwhelm me and take some preventative measures to reduce their frequency.

1. Spotting the warning signs

Meltdowns don’t come with a manual or set of instructions and what works for one doesn’t work for all. However, for me recognising the early warning signs or pre-empting them in certain situations, has been a game-changer. For me, it’s a subtle build-up of frustration, like a pan simmering on a hob. Increased anxiety, sensory overload, or feeling trapped are my cues to ‘brace for impact’.

2. Find your safe space

Having a meltdown, is my neurodivergent brain’s way of saying, “This is too much”. Creating a safe space has been my lifeline. Whether it’s closing my eyes in a quiet room practicing paced breathing, going outside for some fresh air, wearing my loop ear pods in busy places, or scrolling through some TikTok videos. I’m finding that these things help me to regain control and reduce the likelihood of me becoming overwhelmed.

3. Communication is key

Letting those around me know what’s going on has been really useful too. It’s not about burdening them but creating understanding. Sometimes a simple “I need a moment” is all it takes.

4. Sensory Toolkit

Think of it as your superhero utility belt. Mine includes noise-cancelling earplugs and a bottle of ice cold water on standby Having these ‘tools’ at the ready means I’m prepared and can take action when sensory overwhelm is upon me.

5. Boundaries

This one has been a little trickier, but it is something that I am working on. I have been trying to slowly reduce how many clients I see in a week and trying to cut down on working late into the evening or on weekends. I find this difficult as I have a passion about helping others, but I am slowly recognising that to be the best that I can be and to be able to help others, I have to prioritise my own needs and not put self-care on the back burner. If I’m feeling the warning signs creeping up on me, I know I need to say “no” more.

6. Reflect and Learn

Instead of beating myself up after a meltdown, I’ve learned to reflect on what triggered it. I ask myself  – was it a particular environment, a sensory overload, or emotional stress? Understanding these triggers helps me build a defence strategy for the future.

7. Community Support

Understanding neurodiversity more and talking to others who understand the challenges (or may be neurodivergent themselves), whether online or in person, has been so cathartic for me. I could honestly talk for hours to people about it. Sharing experiences, tips, and victories creates a network of support that makes the journey less lonely.

I know now that meltdowns are not the enemy; they’re just part of the journey. By recognising the warning signs, finding calm in safe spaces, communicating openly, and arming myself with the tools and boundaries I need, I can navigate and conquer the storm of meltdowns with resilience and self-love.

Remember, we’re all warriors on this unique journey together!

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