I had not had a meltdown in well over a month and was so proud of myself. Well, I was bound to come apart eventually. It came on in a flash and it’s hard to tell exactly what triggered it. Panda found me in my room crying, beating my face, flapping my hands and gnashing my teeth. I was already nonverbal. She coaxed me into taking a sedative and drinking some milk We went through our verbal exercises and I was able to speak again quickly enough. I don’t know that I’ve EVER been brought down from a meltdown so quickly.
My temples are bruised this morning and I’m a bit embarrassed but I consider the whole ordeal to be a great triumph, both for myself and for Panda. One moment I was launching off the meltdown richter scale and the next I was crying softly, speaking coherently and in complete control.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been told that I don’t seem autistic, or worse, that I don’t “look” autistic. I have many advantages that others on the spectrum do not, but I’m not simply a lovable, absentminded cartoon character. Autism can have a dark side. Witness one of my meltdowns and decide whether or not I “look” autistic.
Even at its worst, autism always offers opportunities for growth, education, and the strengthening of bonds between individuals on and off the spectrum. Love doesn’t recognize words like “autistic” or “neurotypical.” Love transcends silly labels and even conquers the most ferocious of meltdowns.