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Welcome to a blog written by an autistic adult woman in her late 30's using words and images to advocate acceptance as well as awareness of those with life-limiting sensory processing disorder and resulting social and behavioral challenges.Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

I had a meltdown in my psychiatrist's office when she yelled at me (I have autism and spd)

Woman holding head in hands
Wednesday, I went for a routine psych assessment which lead to a meltdown which included me beating my head with my fists, and a walkout.
It was a good thing I was already chewing my chewable, silicone necklace.
Braided chewable pendant by Stimtastic

What precipitated the meltdown and walk out was being yelled at (a deciBel level below screaming range and above emphasizing speech) by the doctor, who claimed in a previous appointment to know something about autism and sensory issues.

I took myself off of an anti-depressant because it was making me suicidal. I was already dealing with a major depressive episode and still am. I kept and went back on the anti-depressant that I knew and trusted. I felt better in a couple of days. Better meaning non-suicidal.

I never thought once of calling to discuss my decision with my doctor. It honestly never crossed my mind. For that, I am sorry. I made an unintentional error.

After replaying the visit dozens of times over in my head, I could see where she would have been scared hearing this news and thus given over to raw emotion. Doctors do have some legal responsibility to their clients. I imagine manners could have evaded her for the moment.

My stomach churned when she exclaimed, "You COULD have TOLD ME!"
The bluntness with an abrupt rise in volume had my heart pounding, fists clenched, breath shallow and mind whirling.

"I never thought to...I did it on Thursday, you aren't there on Thursdays..."

"Well, they [the clinic] could have called me.

I told her not to yell at me, but, as with so many in the psych field, (it doesn't matter the degree of training), she defended herself by saying she wasn't yelling.

It's the defending and excusing and often blame-shifting that shuts me down. It used to make me go ballistic, until I got hospitalized and bullied on all major levels as well as my mom's death that has driven me progressively inward.

By now, I am madly chewing my stim pendant. My body is imploding and I can't think because I am feeling anxious and once again, invalidated. 

There is a split-second gap in my brain. Then, the punching begins.

Further humiliation.

Again, she yells at me, "Stop doing that RIGHT NOW!"
Is he being naughty or having a meltdown? Toddler crying, covering ears

As if I am a 2-year-old, small and invalidated by the grown-up in charge.

It is all I can do to get myself out the door before she does something else to make an already bad situation worse.

Thank God my SAFE PERSON was there! That is why I talk so much about "high functioning" autistic people like me needing to have support people to go with them into the public.

I run outside the building. I am done with her. 
I get the pepper-spray out of my purse in case she comes out and tries to catch me. I ran around the building and saw her, but she didn't see me.

I am 37 years old and my own legal guardian. Nobody can make me do anything without my consent.

I come back inside when I am ready. My sister is talking with the administrative assistant. The doctor is gone.

She had already talked to my sister, telling her, 
"She probably won't want to see me again," and went back into her office. Shortly thereafter, I came back in.
Her assumption was the correct one, though yet another assumption treated as a mutual decision.

I tried to have a positive attitude toward her, but the first time I saw her, she greeted me by bringing up my adult criminal record from 19 years ago. 

She knew about "damaged filters" right off. I focused on the positive. She knew I didn't do phones or go to places too stimulating for me.

She also assumed, instead of asking me, that I didn't do computers because of the screen brightness.

I HATE it when someone says to me, assuming, "You don't do that because...you won't like that, because...I am going to do x to you, because..."

Remember the saying about the word assume. It makes an ass out of u and me.

If you use sarcasm and/or yell at an autistic person, especially when you know they are already stressed out, you can expect they may hurt themselves, cry excessively and even hurt you should you try and physically harm them.

If you have no better sense or respect for an autistic individual, remove yourself from their presence and decrease the misery.

I wish nobody became a psychiatrist, therapist, case worker or caregiver without having as much street training with autistic individuals of all ages as they did book learning.

I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in bed. I had to take extra anti-anxiety medication to calm my body down.

Kudos to my sister for her calmness in handling the situation with calm rationale and driving me home without adding words. 

April is days away. The awareness and acceptance campaign for 2017 is off and running. 

How do things look from my small corner of the world?

Bleak on both accounts from the Northeastern Land of Lincoln.

Update: My psychiatrist e-mailed me, apologizing for the way the appointment ended. In my experience, this is rare for a medical professional to do. I give credit where credit is due. I relayed my acceptance of stated apology.