I’ve been wanting to post on here about SD’s meltdowns because the only way I can deal with this is laughing about it. I’ve been keeping a list of all the times she has meltdowns for her therapist and I really wish I could put this on Twitter or live blog the crazy, bizarre reasons she has meltdowns.
I guess I have to explain about the meltdowns and I apologize if this is long because I feel like I have to explain why a friggin' 17 year old has meltdowns. SD has always had meltdowns but in the last 6 months the number of meltdowns has increased (despite many attempts by therapists and other mental health professionals to coach her on emotional regulation). Her meltdowns aren’t for attention. IMO, it’s now become her coping mechanism to deal with big emotions or when she feels upset she lets everyone know how upset she is by carrying on and on and on. She will thrash around on the floor but they’re pretty much harmless other than lot of crying. They typically last 10-30 minutes and it doesn’t matter what anyone does. If you walk out of the room the meltdown can keep going on for another half an hour and you can’t reason with her at all until she’s worn herself out.
Most of her meltdowns at are at school and it tends to happen when she’s told she needs to either do X or Y and she doesn’t want to do either. For example, her teacher tells her needs to either sit at her desk or go to the office because she’s refusing to do what she’s told. Result is also an immediate meltdown where she gets 1 hour of time in the quiet area and then it repeats.
At home, the meltdowns tend to be sensory overload or just she’s upset/angry/frustrated. Her therapist keeps assuming SD’s meltdowns are over big things like being overwhelmed at school or upset over her mom. But no. The stupidest things set her off.
Here’s a list of the weirdest reasons for meltdowns the past few days:
- She was watching nature videos on YouTube and a lion cub died.
- SD didn’t like what was for lunch and didn’t know what she wanted to eat.
- Tired? Itchy? I’m not sure. She just lost it while sitting on the couch last night and had an epic meltdown for over 45 minutes.
- DD was playing a game on my phone which has music. The music was bothering SD. Instead of going somewhere else, she had a meltdown.
- Standing in a crowded line at Costco. It was very hot and I knew it was going to happen. A very nice mom of an autistic son helped us get her out of the way of everyone else trying to check out. The other mom told us she doesn’t take her son out because of those issues, but if SD didn’t go with us to Costco, then DH would have to stay home with her. So we're stuck taking SD out and risking the public meltdowns.
- Not getting to go to a 4 year old’s birthday party and bouncy houses.
I have to explain the whole bouncy house meltdown. It happened at a Starbucks in Target. A few weeks ago, my 5 year old DD went to the birthday party of the 4 year old who lives next door to my sister. SD doesn’t go over to my sister’s house any more due to behavior issues and there’s no reason she would be invited to this party. I saw the neighbor at Target and she showed me a cute video on her phone of DD and her daughter in a bouncy house at the party. We were exchanging Facebook information so she could share photos and videos with me when SD lost it. Complete meltdown, crying and carrying on while slumped on the floor with everyone walking by looking at me and her like “WTF?”
There’s major jealousy issues with SD and DD. When SD was DD’s age, things were very different financially for DH than it is now. She didn’t have birthday parties with bouncy houses. For SD’s birthday last week, we went out to dinner because there’s no friends to invite to a party and of course SD had a meltdown at the restaurant. There’s no possible way we can make it through dinner at restaurant without a meltdown. It’s too late to go back and give SD birthday party with a bouncy castle and she doesn’t actually want it. She’s just has to make a huge production about being upset so everyone knows it. I think part of her realizes what she's missed out on and the other half knows there's no use in her having a birthday party because she would be miserable.
And I want to add the next time you see some mom with a kid having a meltdown in public, please don't be a judgmental because it's so embarrassing to be in that situation.