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Aspie Shutdown

Jerrekedb's avatar
By Jerrekedb
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Me      : Party, yay! Let's hang out with my best friends for the rest of the night.
*party goes on for a few hours*
Brain   : Ok, that's it. I'm shutting down now.
Me      : Wait, what? I can't move, nor can I hear anything... What did you just do to me?
Brain   : I was getting way too much sensory input. I shut off those parts so I can recover a bit. It's sad it had to happen this way, but you wouldn't listen.
Me      : Listen to what? I didn't notice anything was amiss.
Brain   : *sigh* Just wait a minute while I get you back online.
Me      : Can't we just go outside? You'll probably recover faster if you don't have to block all that input
Brain   : It's too late for that now. You're just going to stand here until I recover.
*a few minutes later*
Me      : My friends will get worried about me... Can't you really get my motor system back online so we can go outside?
*no reaction*
Me      : Really, we need to get out of here now. My friend has a really worried expression on his face.
*still no reaction*
Me      : Err... Brain? Have you noticed that he is shaking me by my shoulders?
*nothing*
Me      : WAKE UP!!!
Brain   : huh?
Me      : We need to get out now. And by now I mean NOW!
Brain   : I'd like to get out of here as well, actually.
Me      : But I still can't move... Didn't you forget something right now? Like having shut down my motor system?
Brain   : That's right, I did that, didn't I? But I had a reason to do it, though
Me      : Let's discuss that later, shall we? We really need to get out now, so if you would be so kind?
Brain   : Ok, ok... Here's your control back.
Me      : Finally, let's get out now. I'll have to apologize to him later though...
Brain   : Be glad I didn't make you collapse on the floor.
Me      : *sigh*... I'd be more glad if you gave me a warning in advance, so this wouldn't have to happen.
This happened to me a few times in the last week(with the party I went to two days ago as the one written down in this text).

EDIT: Changed the name to a more correct term. As for how it looks on the outside: I stop moving at all, my eyes seem to have a haze in front of them but I'll still move in reaction to impulses(for example: at the party Thursday evening, people got me involved in a dance and my body was kept upright while moving along).
Note that this was an attempt to put what was going on in my mind into words, so there are a few inaccuracies, especially since English isn't my native language.

Edit 2: In a discussion with ObiWanSkywalker178 below, I developed a theory as to why these shutdowns happened. For those who want to read it and don't want to scroll trough that wall of text, here's a direct link: comments.deviantart.com/1/4197…
As to my watchers that aren't interested in this, sorry for the update spam ;p
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© 2013 - 2020 Jerrekedb
Comments32
anonymous's avatar
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MagicalJoey's avatar
MagicalJoeyHobbyist Writer
For me this would be an incredibly freaky thing.
Jerrekedb's avatar
Trust me, it is. Although it's more of "*sigh* here we go again" when it happens now. When I wrote this, I had experienced this a few times(3 or 4) already, but since then I've had it 20-30 times. I stopped counting at 20. I did keep a log of when it happened: sta.sh/013l2adai9gx
MagicalJoey's avatar
MagicalJoeyHobbyist Writer
:tighthug:
Nichrysalis's avatar
NichrysalisHobbyist Writer
Interesting, I can become the same at parties, just plain immobile from anxiety and fear, it's a very weird feeling that you've described well in the dialogue here.
Jerrekedb's avatar
First of all, thanks for taking the time to read this and give me feedback. I really appreciate this.

As for the root cause, I don't think it's anxiety/fear in my case... I'm actually feeling pretty good until it happens(and when it does, I become angry at my brain for not giving me any warning signs so I would be able to avoid it). I have kind of started to like going to parties, but that might change if I keep having these.
47X's avatar
47XHobbyist Artisan Crafter
I recognize myself partly in this. But I have some control over what I'm shutting down. 

I also have to admit that I read the "Brain" lines in Wheatley's voice from Portal... :)
Jerrekedb's avatar
Just to let you know: I've developed a theory as to why these happened, explained in the discussion with ObiWanSkywalker178. A direct link to it: comments.deviantart.com/1/4197…
Jerrekedb's avatar
I get why my brain decides to shut my hearing off, since that's what I'm most sensitive to(I recently bought noise-cancelling headphones to make commuting to university less of a nuisance). That's probably also the trigger, but there was no sudden loud noise or something.

"I also have to admit that I read the "Brain" lines in Wheatley's voice from Portal... :) (Smile)"
:D Believe me, if it *was* his voice I'd be hearing, I might want to stay in that state ;p No, seriously: this was just an attempt to vocalize what was going on in my head. As I said to ObiwanSkywalker(comments.deviantart.com/1/4197… ), it's basically more a general feeling of pushing back and forth against my proverbial blockade.
ObiWanSkywalker178's avatar
Hey I got your comment. I'm just going to start with a personal thought.
I never really have a shut-down.. well I do but not in the way you've described. I normally when I get a sensory overload I can easily be agitated, everything seems to be moving faster than I am, my mind is muddled and it eventually gets to the point I either scream out for it all to stop or I escape to some place quiet and secluded for at least 20 minutes. Sometimes I randomly phase out when my mind is literally blank or I'm deep in thought and apparently I look as if I'm death-staring something or someone.
Now for feedback.
I like the way you've written it. I express my thoughts through free-verse poetry, short story, or a speech or rant. It's great you put this out there. I'm curious, is this how you experience a 'shut-down' in your mind? A conversation debate between your mind and your brain? Or is this the best way you can explain your experience? For me it's like as if there's multiple layers to my mind. I'm able to have several voices going on in my mind or a whole song (music, singer, beat and all) at once. It's not so much as thought but actually feel. When having a... moment I find my layers wrap around my main self and there's a presence that I could only explain as a fog (as I attempted to explain in 'An Anatomy of a Meltdown')

Ok I've blabbled on for long enough.
Jerrekedb's avatar
To be honest, I wouldn't know how to expand on my previous comment... I just don't know enough about these shut-downs yet. And I hope I won't either, because that would mean me having another three or four of them. Not that I have the feeling they will stay absent, since it happened thrice in a single week...

If it happens again and I can extract more information on how/why it happened(yes, I'm trying to be very rigourous when it comes to analysing why my meltdowns happen), I'll probably post a journal or something and if you like I can let you know as well(since you haven't :+devwatch: me, you wouldn't know otherwise).
ObiWanSkywalker178's avatar
Well I wanted to expand on the "fog". It's the only way I've figured out how to explain it. Literally words can't describe what we experience no matter what we try. I can understand what you mean by a cage. You feel mentally restrained by your brain. I feel similar to that but the way I picture my experience is like as if I'm trapped in a prison. In my mind. An open prison that I can move about in but cannot see anything save for darkness and some haziness like a mist. When I close my eyes that's all I can see, a mist. A fog. And colours ranging from shades of black, grey, and red.

Trust me, I've had many... moments contemplating why I feel, think, react, and experience things the way I do. I've come to some understanding but still much eludes me. I've come to believe no matter how much we come to understand ourselves we never fully will. Why? I don't know. But I just know we never will.
Jerrekedb's avatar
"I normally when I get a sensory overload I can easily be agitated, everything seems to be moving faster than I am, my mind is muddled and it eventually gets to the point I either scream out for it all to stop or I escape to some place quiet and secluded for at least 20 minutes."
That seems to me to be an explosion, which is another type of meltdown. I classify meltdowns in three categories: explosions(commonly referred to as temper tantrums, which they aren't, and where things get violent/harsh words are spoken when I don't remove myself from the scene timely), implosions(emotional breakdowns, almost nothing to be noticed from the outside until it's too late and I crash) and shutdowns, which I only experience for the first time a week ago.
I'm pretty acquainted with the former two, especially the first since those are quite *fun* for bullies to see. And boy, did they know how to trigger them. Since my diagnosis when I was 14 years old(that's already six years ago :o ), I learned to deal with the explosions and see them coming days before they would be able to happen(building up of stress/rage/...). The implosions came as a replacement because I got successful at avoiding explosions and their triggers, but I still built up stress which needed an outlet. In come the emotional breakdowns, ie: implosions.
Eventually, I learned to feel when they were about to arrive so I could remove myself and cry it out in solitude or with a trusted friend at my side.

These shutdowns are new, and I have no idea what triggers them. I only had three, so no real data on how it feels the minutes before they happen yet. As I said in my description: my shutdowns look very similar to your phasing out to the outside. I just stand there and stare to nowhere in particular.
As for how I experience them: a fog might also be a good analogy, although a cage that gets locked around my conscious mind is more accurate. The text I wrote is an attempt to put what I felt into words, which doesn't always work out very well. There are several parts I'd change, but I'd rather not since those are the words I wrote when the experience was still (relatively) fresh in my mind.
The "debate" I'm having in the text is more to be seen as me pushing against the barriers my brain put me in and it not wanting to listen.

I might expand on this answer in a later comment, but I've got a train to catch ;)
ObiWanSkywalker178's avatar
I didn't notice that. I've always generalised them as meltdowns and never put them into types but yes I would have to correct myself and say yes I get all 3 types. I would have to say I get implosions the most. Most of the time when I get one the only visible thing you can see is a single tear. That is all however inside it's world war 3! I'd have to say I'm with you on needing an outlet. I seem to find I rarely have meltdowns (i.e. outburst and complete shutdown, the big boom etc), mostly implosions and explosions. But when I do have a meltdown I have to let it all out no matter where I am, who I am with nor what is happening. I've noticed each time I've had a meltdown they're slowly getting longer and more severe. Long-term I feel like I'm fighting a losing war. Each meltdown I eventually endure and win the battle. More than once in a meltdown I feel the urge to lash out at everything and everyone. I used to when I was little and sometimes (in last few years) I completely lose control. One time during PE in the pool a couple of years back there was one b!#$% who was bullying me, shoving me and cutting in front of me while I was trying to swim. In the water my reaction time and spacial awareness are put out of whack so I'm focusing a hell of a lot on trying to swim, get air, be aware of everyone, all the while still paying attention to what we are doing for that class. We had to divide into two groups and as per usual the bully was on my group and started doing her thing again. I warned her a few times but she laughed it off or ignored me. Eventually I lost it completely and launched a kick at her at full strength. As that kick was moving I realised the outcome too late and pulled the leg back and redirected the aim. If that last-second move wasn't made, that girl would have been in hospital with at best a broken knee. She only got clipped on her thigh but still made a big fuss over it.

I really find it strange and have never been able to comprehend nor rationalise why after a meltdown I feel a lot better. I know I've let out subdued emotions etc. but I've never understood why the only way for me to let it all out is through a meltdown. No matter what I've tried nothing works except this natural system. Bottle everything up. Have many implosions, some explosions, a few shutdowns here and there, then the big finale comes in the rage outburst and major meltdown. All over the period of on average 2-4 months.

I was diagnosed for Aspergers when I was little but I actually found out that I was an aspie when I was 12 which came as both revelation and shock. Weird isn't it? My parents thought for all those years I knew what I was but no that's was never so.

Don't change what you said. This is the way you put it when you were in that state of mind. Maybe when you're back in that state of mind, change it or write something else but keep it as is.

I've gotta go too but I'll go back onto this later.
Jerrekedb's avatar
I can certainly recognize that kind of situation... Only thing is: I do exactly know what I'm doing, but I can't change it in any way while it's happening. Just like during my shutdowns, I'm completely aware of what's happening around me, I just can't do anything about it.

"I was diagnosed for Aspergers when I was little but I actually found out that I was an aspie when I was 12 which came as both revelation and shock. Weird isn't it? My parents thought for all those years I knew what I was but no that's was never so."
In my case, no-one had a clue of Asperger until I was almost 14 years old, but the doctors did once think it was ADHD or something similar and wanted to put me on rilatin. I'm glad my mom withheld that decision, or otherwise I'd probably just get drugged to make me comply, instead of learning to live with the meltdowns, being able to see/feel them coming and be sure to not be somewhere public when it inevitably happens.

"I really find it strange and have never been able to comprehend nor rationalise why after a meltdown I feel a lot better. I know I've let out subdued emotions etc. but I've never understood why the only way for me to let it all out is through a meltdown."
I've noticed that things that get my adrenaline flowing(heavy physical exercise, playing serious music with our band,...) helps me prolong the periods I can go on without having any meltdown whatsoever. I do occasionally trigger a slight implosion when I'm alone(and I feel stress is building up to a boiling point) to prevent a major explosion later on, which seems to work since I haven't had any explosions for a few years now.
ObiWanSkywalker178's avatar
Sucks doesn't it? Oh well we can only hope to understand it to the extent we can soothe it so it's easier for us.

Lucky you. There have been some theories as to how people get Autism or Aspergers. I believe it can be hereditary. My siblings are aspies and so too is my father. An uncle on my father's side has... difficulties and after a brief discussion with my father's mum; dad's father may have been an aspie too.

Exercise releases endorphins which results in you feeling better and less stressed. I do exercise too and love doing it. It provides temporary relief. I also find playing games and writing make me feel better too. I find spending time (6 hours max) with friends or out doing something with my oldest sibling I enjoy myself. Not to mention time spent alone. One of the main triggers for me is a sibling with ADHD and my family in general.
Jerrekedb's avatar
Another thing: I think I have a theory of what actually happened and made my brain shut down those systems... I was simply not noticing the pressure the commotion was handing to my sensory systems until it was too late, and my brain had to intervene. See musingsofanaspie.com/2012/09/1… . Instead of pain/cold/..., this was a case of too much auditory pressure, and my conscious mind wasn't paying attention to the distress the rest of my brain was in.
This also explains why there is such a difference in the predictability of my shutdowns vs. explosions/implosions. The latter two need a serious build-up of emotions and stress, which I'm pretty good at noticing before I reach that threshold. I do still consider a shutdown to be a different type of meltdown, but it's clearly separate from the others.

PS: yes, the idea for the format of this deviation must have come from that blog post, although I wasn't thinking of it at the time I decided to write this.
ObiWanSkywalker178's avatar
musingsofanaspie.com ... yes I'm familiar with that blog. Your theory could be plausible. My friends have sometimes commented I'm being a little moody or tense and only when they commented did I realise and was able to escape before it escalated.

Predictability of shutdowns and meltdowns. I would have to agree with you there. It is easier to identify and contain a form of meltdown compared to a sudden shut-down.
Jerrekedb's avatar
There are a few large social events coming up(holidays, concerts of a few of the bands I play in,...) and if I don't get a shutdown on either of these while consciously monitoring my pressure levels every half an hour or so, I think I can conclude my theory has at least some truth to it.
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Jerrekedb's avatar
Another thing: at what part of my answer is that "Lucky you." aimed at?
ObiWanSkywalker178's avatar
"In my case, no-one had a clue of Asperger until I was almost 14 years old, but the doctors did once think it was ADHD or something similar and wanted to put me on rilatin. I'm glad my mom withheld that decision, or otherwise I'd probably just get drugged to make me comply, instead of learning to live with the meltdowns, being able to see/feel them coming and be sure to not be somewhere public when it inevitably happens."
Jerrekedb's avatar
So the not getting drugged part :D
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Jerrekedb's avatar
There indeed is some evidence that suggests that Asperger is connected to genes. I don't have any relatives I'm sure of are aspie, but I do know several aspie friends of mine that have a few Aspie relatives.
ObiWanSkywalker178's avatar
There have also been some theories and tests as to the chemicals and artificial ingredients in products (everything) that have "triggered" whatever causes Autism in the first place. This all started when people noticed a large increase of Autistic children being born in the last 10-15 years or so.
anonymous's avatar
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