Dangerous Compassions

how to recover from an autistic meltdown

how to recover from an autistic meltdown

You know I do self-care all day, and I’m pretty amazing at being good to myself.  Ming supports me, and he is very kind to me.  But sometimes, very rarely, I lose my shit.  I wanted to write about how to recover from an autistic meltdown.  Here is my process for the most recent one.


Stress level higher and higher.  Spoon level lower and lower.  Go negative spoons.

Withdraw, rest, and try to feel better.  Lie in bed and do nothing for a while.  Take two magnesium glycinate and drink some water.

Then get pushed past your point.  Tell Ming, “You don’t understand.  You can’t make that noise three feet away from my head.  No, you can’t do that to me.  Please leave.”

Ming leaves.  Luckily it is not raining, it’s daytime, and a wild animal will not eat him.  He was going to walk outside for a phone call anyway.


It’s not that you need to be alone exactly.  More than you need quiet and not to do so many things.  Yes, it was a mistake to do 20 things today when you needed to do just ten.

Light the candle you bought at the grocery store.  Light some palo santo, just enough to smell it.  Put on this playlist, and feel free to skip songs that aren’t as pertinent.

Turn off all the lights that are hurting you.  Apologize to yourself.  Something like,

“Self, I am so sorry that you endured too much today.  I am so sorry for how hard you worked today, doing more than you could do.  And it was not fair.  The world is not set up for your well-being.

“But you are so brave to try.  I believe in you, and you will feel better someday.  I’m sorry it hurts.  I’m very sorry.”


Eat some noodles.  I like rice noodles cooked in garlic broth, with tahini added at the end for creaminess, and maybe extra salt.  The noodles are comforting.  Eat as slow as you want.  Energy from the food might help as part of how to recover from an autistic meltdown.


Then think of the people who love you the most who are on the other side.  In this example, that’s my mom and her mom.

Think of how you meant everything to them.  And now they are not here on earth as living people.  But you’re alive, and you can honor them by doing good, being who you are, and using the gifts they handed to you.  Thank you for staying alive as long as the world needs you.

These people who have died love you still.  Their love glows from the other side.  You are safe, and you will feel better one day.  They were the kind of people you could ask for help, and they would give you anything to help you.  Even though they’re not with you physically anymore, their love is inside you every moment of your life.  If only in your cells, you are always holding part of them, in your mitochondria.

Cry as much as you want.  Touch your own hands, and think of their hands.  No one is around to hear you.  Cry as long as you want.  Cry like aerobic exercise.  Your body misses them, along with your soul and your mind.  All of you misses them.  Let your body express as much grief as it can.

Poor body.  Pat your own chest.  I’m sorry it’s hard to live without them.  They believe in you, and they are so proud of you.  You think you’re a regular person, walking around doing regular person things.  But to them, you are like a miracle.  They are rooting for you as if you were a sport star or helpful angel.


Then think of the people who love you who are still alive.  These people love you skillfully.  They are brilliant, gorgeous beings who truly understand you and see you just as you are.  They’re not here right now.  But they are holding you in their hearts.

You don’t need to worry what they think of you or try to control their view of you.  They love you for your faults and weaknesses as much as for your strengths.  You are 100% valid to them.  They love your entire self.

If they were here right now, they would hold your hand, give you a hug, make you some tea, sit by you, and say nothing at all.  Or they would tell you how much they like you and you matter to the world.  They would be on your side and respect you no matter what.


Yes, you keep a list of these people.  You’re sitting there in the dark, seeing the beautiful flicker of candlelight, hearing the sweet tinkling music.  Consider calling one of the friends, the friend you’ve been most wanting to call.

She doesn’t answer, so leave a voicemail.  Say you had a hard day, you’ve been thinking of her, you love her, you will talk to her another time.


Be grateful that you are in your mid-40s and probably will live another day.  Blow your nose quite a lot from all this crying.

Ming arrives back home and tells you about his phone call.  He asks how he can help you and washes dishes so you can cook and eat food.


What do you think of this account of how to recover from an autistic meltdown?  What do you do, to recover?

Maybe you use different music and don’t need a candle.  Maybe you dance it out.  I have done that too, back when my mom was dying.

Whatever would help you, I hope you can get it.  Love to your needs and mine.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

2 replies on “how to recover from an autistic meltdown”

I really appreciate how and what you write. This is such a great breakdown of a meltdown and recovery. My meltdowns also usually happen when I’ve done too much or it’s way too hot and humid. Noodles are always involved in recovery. Lying down on some mats and rolling on the ground while listening to music is another good technique. Also Anat Banial exercises, or Feldenkreis, or Hanna somatics on youtube.

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