About previous post on Epilepsy and ASD / Meltdowns

The “can of worms” – those questions about human childhood that bedevil so many ASD adults.

The specifics of “epilepsy” are new to me: I guess like most people I thought about epilepsy as a neurological condition in which the electrical system of the brain “misfires” (whatever that means), and that it used to be considered one of those “demon possession” superstitions, viewed through fear and prejudice, but mainly ignorance, which has today been overcome. That “treatments” are available.

Why today did my attention turn to epilepsy and autism? It’s due to one of those “odd prompts” of the unconscious-intuitive way of processing information.

I don’t have prolonged conversations with people very often these days. When I do, it’s with an old friend via the phone, or an impromptu encounter with a stranger at someplace like the grocery store, post office or hardware.

Yesterday, it was a new employee at the grocery, who has taken over much of product selection and orders, promising to “upgrade” the lousy quality and choice we are stuck with. We “gabbed” for probably 10-15 minutes.

I have been aware for some years that this type of extended conversation leaves me feeling exhausted, which seems to be a typical Asperger experience. This is true whether or not I enjoy the social exchange, either in person or over the phone. I prefer email and avoid the phone, for just this reason.

Sure enough, after I returned home yesterday, I felt exhausted, plus had a sore throat – which is also typical; I usually attribute the burning in my throat, which may last for 24 hours or more, to infrequent use of my vocal apparatus. But, it’s more than that. It’s as if I don’t know how to speak correctly and efficiently, or how to coordinate breathing and speaking in a way that doesn’t “wear me out”.  I have no problem forming words – that is – constructing language, but speaking essentially “hurts”!

Is this somehow key to social interaction problems?

This speaking thing seems a trivial circumstance, and yet it isn’t; it does affect my desire to converse; to be in social situations. When I look back to working in advertising (extremely social-verbal environment) I did fully participate, but had to escape frequently to regain energy and to rest; otherwise “meltdown” might overwhelm me. The classic explanation for meltdowns is rather vague: sensory overload causes meltdowns; sensory information cannot be adequately “regulated” by “autistics”

But – this question came next: Are meltdowns a type of SEIZURE? Having experienced many childhood meltdowns, my description is this:

A sudden, overwhelming “loss of control” – an almost blinding pain – automatic paralysis of conscious process, as if every part of one’s body is “feeling” extreme primitive fear at a level of life and death severity. There was the actual event; then there was the terror that undergoing such an event produced. Adults swamped me with questions – which I could not answer. They wanted me to “account for” my behavior, but there was no “reason” for it that I could point to.

I did “grow out of” these experiences eventually, at least in severity, and-or they “changed into” sudden fits of temper – anger and frustration. The “social environment” (including our pediatrician) turned these episodes into “gross violations” of acceptable behavior – possibly THE WORST aspect of these episodes was the unilateral condemnation that I was “doing this on purpose” to get attention or to upset other people. “Fear of meltdowns” – both the experience, which was horrible – and the repercussions from having a meltdown (the shaming), dominated my childhood. 

Nothing could have been further from the truth!

In fact attention became something very unwanted!

Is this one source of social aversion; the attempt to avoid whatever “triggered” these events? (I do believe it was some aspect of the environment, such as crowds and noise). This “fear of adverse behaviors” lingers to this day.

What this has to do with my “throat” is unknown, but I decided that I ought to pursue the subject of seizures.

 

 

 

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