Imagine a 12 year old screaming about a drink she had forgotten to bring home from a restaurant after she’d eaten her tea.
Imagine a 3 hour meltdown following because the drink was one of her things and was now wasted.
Imagine being screamed and shouted at because you wouldn’t drive her back to get it.
Imagine her refusing to get out of the car at home, thumping us and beeping the horn thinking this would make us take her back.
Imagine repeatedly telling her it would have been cleared away and has gone forever, but her not understanding.
Imagine tears of anger and frustration rolling down her cheeks for a half drank drink.
Imagine wanting to take her back to show her but knowing that it would cause the meltdown to spill over into a public place…
…imagine her not understanding that I am not being a ‘horrible mum’ because we are staying home.
Imagine that the whole episode wasn’t even about half of a cup of 7 up left at KFC, but about something we are yet to even find out.
This is Autism.
Meltdowns come from seemingly nowhere.
Triggered by things you or I could easily manage and process.
The anger boils through us all as we get frustrated about what was ‘just a drink’…
….except it wasn’t ‘just a drink’, not to her, it was the straw that broke the camels’ back.
To outsiders this behaviour looks ludicrous
To me even.
It takes me time to process the demand and realise that it is a result of an overload, and by that time I have made it worse.
There is no reasoning, no compromise, my girl has lost all control, her entire focus on half a drink she left behind.
Autism, meltdowns….they are not easy.
Gone are the days where I could gather her up in my arms and hold her tightly until it passes.
I feel lost, unable to see how I can help.
I try to explain but it ends up angry with sheer frustration that there is nothing I can do.
My girl calmed eventually, and drew a picture to remember the drink that she left behind.
She stuck it to the wall.
I am sat looking at it now crying as it is a stark reminder of just how hard life is for her.
Crying because I will never know what it was all about.
Crying because I will never understand.
Crying because what seems so logical to me is so foreign to her.
Crying because I know I can’t do anything to help.