The M Word: We need to talk about adult autistic meltdowns

I can relate to this article when I was married.   — Greg

I’m sitting at my desk at work.

It’s just after 4pm on a Thursday in the second week of August in 2016. The daylight is fading and the sky is slowly turning purple with flecks of pink. I’m becoming more aware of the fluorescent light above me and the hum of the air conditioning system continues to pulse right through me as it has all day. My heart rate rises and I start to sweat.
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The Importance of a Support Team and Why

Everyone in the world needs a support system to to share the joy during good times and in tougher times to help with challenges. How people use their support system can make a difference of a wise choice or a choice that can lead to a harder path. 

The creation of a support team was a result of of getting sick and ending up in the hospital due to septic shock and dehydration. I am grateful for my sister taking charge.  Before I got sick I was dealing with several changes in my life.    

My father passed away in January and the adjustment of his passing away meant the loss of his strength end encouragement and a place to go in Naples, Fl.  I also had to learn to manage my finances from a big picture standpoint for the long term.   

I got married to my now ex-wife the same year after dating for two years.     Within a month of getting married she lost her job at the post office as a letter carrier due to degenerative back disease.  We lived in my small one bedroom apartment while we were waiting for her to bring in some income.  I was providing support and paying all her bills. Her adult children needed help at the same time. I felt overwhelmed and then pressured into purchasing a house or larger apartment. I felt scared moving out of my apt because of the outlay of money and it was a place that my father helped me move into. My apartment gave me a feeling of being safe. During this year I felt very much alone with no support system. My wife was trying to be my support system but also creating a division between me and my family. The only way I knew how to deal with all the stress was to sleep or stay in my bed under my weighted blanket where I felt safe. I did not feel like eating or even drinking water. I needed a break from my wife due to the intense pressure, so she took to a trip. During this time it gave my brain a chance to rest. I was so worn down that I got sick and I thought it was just a chest cold. I contacted my wife who raced back because I did not want to call 911. She got me to the hospital just in time or I would have been gone.  I learned that as a person with Aspergers I can not deal with constant stress in a way that most people can. The side effects of Aspergers for me is depression and anxiety. I am very routine-orientated and need slow adjustments to new environments. Moving was a hard adjustment, but not for my ex wife.   

After I came out of the hospital my goal was to regain my health. Part of the recovery effort was creating a support system so that I was not alone. The goals of the support system has been to learn how to set limits with my ex wife personally and financially. I have a therapist who helps with emotional support, my energy healer helps support my body, which includes the proper supplements. I receive support from my financial advisor and my sister in paying my bills and insuring  financial sustainability to care for my needs over my lifetime. I receive physical therapy support in moving my body in order to reduce stress and increase confidence. The President has advisors and a support team and I have something similar. Me, like others on the spectrum are good people, kind people, but need an extra hand in the crazy world we live in. 

How Aspergers Had Made it a Unique Experience

I am an older adult and learned I had Aspergers later in life. Every day it can be a challenge to learn how to accommodate my needs in a world and that seems so difficult at times.  I started years ago when I left the world of work and went to the non-profit world. As a volunteer I have learned to be accepted, appreciated, and valued for my contributions no matter how big or small that is. I have won several awards for my efforts, written several articles on my stories, and I participated in the creation of a film called Programming Hope. 

When my father passed away it gave me a new set of challenges.  My father was my pillar. No matter where I was in the world his strength and just knowing he was around kept me going on a good path like a beacon from a lighthouse. After my father passed away I got married to a woman who at first met my vision of a marriage partner, but over time as things changed she taught me some other hard lessons. It made me reassess my needs on the spectrum.

As a result I created a new way to be guided by the lighthouse with a support team to keep me on calm waters of life. 

Some of the challenges with my Aspergers is my kind nature, sensitive nature, sensory issues, and anxiety issues that can really cause me to go into overload very quickly. My gifts can some times be misunderstood and taken advantage of by the world around me. The end result was going into the hospital for a life threatening infection that opened the door for the need to create a support system. The new system for my recovery is to care for myself emotionally, spiritually, financially and physically. I am going to share some stories of my process. It started by going to a doctor that understands Aspergers and putting me on a regimen of supplements to rebuild my immune system. Returning to the 12-step world, working with two healers to rebuild my health, continuing to work on boundaries with my therapist,  work on stress relief with boxing lessons, and to engage my sister in taking over my financial affairs with a long time financial advisor who knew my father. My stories will now follow.