Meltdown, Shutdown & Flooding Support

IsabellaIsabella Citizen
edited October 2020 in Mind and Body Wellbeing

I experience meltdowns, shutdowns, and something called Flooding which not many people have heard about.

I thought I'd start this thread by sharing some info on Flooding. Flooding is similar to a meltdown but in my experience, they are more interpersonal instead of being triggered by sensory stimuli, burnout, or exhaustion and frustration. They usually begin with some type of conflict involving another person, but spiral into emotional dysregulation.

In my opinion meltdowns, shutdowns, and floods all have the common denominator of starting with triggers. It's a bit of an oversimplification to say that a person is "triggered" without acknowledging that people can have different reactions to triggers, involving emotional upset and anger (flooding), anxiety (panic attacks), overload (shutdowns), and cumulative sensory hyperarousal (meltdowns).

Maybe other people have different experiences but these are mine. Feel free to contribute or share your thoughts and opinions.

My floods last longer than my meltdowns. Some of them last for about a week until I purge the emotion from my system. I often make the mistake of drawing the other person in, instead of learning self-soothing techniques. I'm still learning how to self-advocate and be verbal or expressive during a flood without making the situation worse.

I guess CPTSD makes it worse because I tend to end up being angry with myself via guilt and shame, and it's hard to break that cycle.

Anyway, here's the most recent article I read about Flooding. Enjoy.

https://giusisilvestri.com/blog/emotional-flooding-and-what-to-do-about-it

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Comments

  • I think i experience something like this too, i can spiral into a self destructive mood very easily by a seemingly small thing. I will read that article.

  • I think my ADHD makes it worse because I become reactive without being able to think through other options. Also my ASD makes me hyperfocus on the emotion and it's hard to shake it until I've totally immersed myself in the flood. I'm not Bipolar or Borderline. Flooding is considered a response to trauma but I'm sure we all experience this in one form or another at times.

  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor

    This is really interesting, I had no idea flooding was a thing. Thank you for sharing this.

  • @Isabella said:

    Anyway, here's the most recent article I read about Flooding. Enjoy.

    https://giusisilvestri.com/blog/emotional-flooding-and-what-to-do-about-it

    Exercise seems to help most things.

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member

    @Sheldon said:

    @Isabella said:

    Anyway, here's the most recent article I read about Flooding. Enjoy.

    https://giusisilvestri.com/blog/emotional-flooding-and-what-to-do-about-it

    Exercise seems to help most things.

    I'm pretty sure exercise would be beneficial to me, but I don't have the motivation (pushing 50, smoker, bad knees, couch potato, overweight, burnout)

  • @Save_Ferris said:

    @Sheldon said:

    @Isabella said:

    Anyway, here's the most recent article I read about Flooding. Enjoy.

    https://giusisilvestri.com/blog/emotional-flooding-and-what-to-do-about-it

    Exercise seems to help most things.

    I'm pretty sure exercise would be beneficial to me, but I don't have the motivation (pushing 50, smoker, bad knees, couch potato, overweight, burnout)

    I'm a lot older than you and I am increasing my exercise big time.
    Do you have a dog?

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member

    @Sheldon said:

    @Save_Ferris said:

    @Sheldon said:

    @Isabella said:

    Anyway, here's the most recent article I read about Flooding. Enjoy.

    https://giusisilvestri.com/blog/emotional-flooding-and-what-to-do-about-it

    Exercise seems to help most things.

    I'm pretty sure exercise would be beneficial to me, but I don't have the motivation (pushing 50, smoker, bad knees, couch potato, overweight, burnout)

    I'm a lot older than you and I am increasing my exercise big time.
    Do you have a dog?

    Good for you

    No dog , I'd have to walk it if I did.

  • Exercise makes a big difference for me too. The key seems to be finding something you actually enjoy doing.

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member

    I haven't enjoyed exercise since my football career died.

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen

    Its nice to have a word for this Isy, it happens less frequently to me these days, but there was a point back when the trauma was more predominant in my life that I lived for the times in between this flooding.
    Ill read that link when I get a chance to. thanks.

  • I'm a lot older than you and I am increasing my exercise big time.
    Do you have a dog?

    Good for you

    No dog , I'd have to walk it if I did.

    I was trying to encourage you, not showing off.
    Never too late.

    One of my dogs broke 3 nails, so my walking is on hold. I need her to heal, but can't bear to leave her behind.
    So everyone misses out, for a couple more days.
    "Parenthood" isn't easy. lol

  • @Save_Ferris said:
    I haven't enjoyed exercise since my football career died.

    I don't "enjoy" exercise either. Some get an endorphin(?) rush. I never have.
    I get a high when fasting a decent length of time, though.

  • @Bender said:
    Exercise makes a big difference for me too. The key seems to be finding something you actually enjoy doing.

    Walking my kids comes close to enjoyment, yet I still have to push myself, each day.

  • TemTem Citizen
    edited October 2020

    I would find someone with a dog to walk, locally, if I could commit to a regular schedule. I cannot.
    My pleasure is watching others walking their dogs.

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member
    edited October 2020

    @Sheldon said:

    I'm a lot older than you and I am increasing my exercise big time.
    Do you have a dog?

    Good for you

    No dog , I'd have to walk it if I did.

    I was trying to encourage you, not showing off.
    Never too late.

    One of my dogs broke 3 nails, so my walking is on hold. I need her to heal, but can't bear to leave her behind.
    So everyone misses out, for a couple more days.
    "Parenthood" isn't easy. lol

    Thanks for the encouragement , I never realised exercise was dependent on age , I thought it was ability - my mistake.

    Just kidding , encouragement doesn't really work on me.

    Hope your doggo feels better soon

    I have never really come to terms with my special interest ( football ) being taken away from me due to injury.

  • This is called a Feelings Wheel. It's from therapy today. We talked about Emotional Flooding and the difficulty it poses for people with Alexithymia who can't name or understand their feelings in the first place. I think I'm stuck in certain colour zones and I'm still working on naming anything beyond the centre core.

  • @Save_Ferris said:

    @Sheldon said:

    I'm a lot older than you and I am increasing my exercise big time.
    Do you have a dog?

    Good for you

    No dog , I'd have to walk it if I did.

    I was trying to encourage you, not showing off.
    Never too late.

    One of my dogs broke 3 nails, so my walking is on hold. I need her to heal, but can't bear to leave her behind.
    So everyone misses out, for a couple more days.
    "Parenthood" isn't easy. lol

    Thanks for the encouragement , I never realised exercise was dependent on age , I thought it was ability - my mistake.

    Just kidding , encouragement doesn't really work on me.

    Hope your doggo feels better soon

    I have never really come to terms with my special interest ( football ) being taken away from me due to injury.

    Losing weight is an overall major necessity for me, with high blood pressure (under control), diabetes (under control), cholesterol, and a fatty liver. But the most pressing reason, these days, is the danger of being overweight and contracting covid.

    I'll be having another blood test, at the end of this month, and expect a major, major improvement in my health.

    BTW, I have to amend my statement.
    I no longer have to force myself into walking the kids.
    I have to force myself NOT to.

    I took my girl, with the toenail problem, on a very short walk, just so she didn't feel she missed out.
    I just had to go out and walk the other two (one at a time).
    I am determined not to go backwards in my weight loss program.
    It seems my mindset has changed for the better. I hope it lasts.

  • @Isabella said:

    This is called a Feelings Wheel. It's from therapy today. We talked about Emotional Flooding and the difficulty it poses for people with Alexithymia who can't name or understand their feelings in the first place. I think I'm stuck in certain colour zones and I'm still working on naming anything beyond the centre core.

    Could you post information on Flooding on AutismForum?

  • Sure! I'm typing with one hand and holding Ouiji but will do soon!

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member

    @Isabella said:

    This is called a Feelings Wheel. It's from therapy today. We talked about Emotional Flooding and the difficulty it poses for people with Alexithymia who can't name or understand their feelings in the first place. I think I'm stuck in certain colour zones and I'm still working on naming anything beyond the centre core.

    What in the name of Satan's portion is this gobbledygook

  • Teach51Teach51 Citizen
    edited October 2020

    @Isabella said:
    I experience meltdowns, shutdowns, and something called Flooding which not many people have heard about.

    I thought I'd start this thread by sharing some info on Flooding. Flooding is similar to a meltdown but in my experience, they are more interpersonal instead of being triggered by sensory stimuli, burnout, or exhaustion and frustration. They usually begin with some type of conflict involving another person, but spiral into emotional dysregulation.

    In my opinion meltdowns, shutdowns, and floods all have the common denominator of starting with triggers. It's a bit of an oversimplification to say that a person is "triggered" without acknowledging that people can have different reactions to triggers, involving emotional upset and anger (flooding), anxiety (panic attacks), overload (shutdowns), and cumulative sensory hyperarousal (meltdowns).

    Maybe other people have different experiences but these are mine. Feel free to contribute or share your thoughts and opinions.

    My floods last longer than my meltdowns. Some of them last for about a week until I purge the emotion from my system. I often make the mistake of drawing the other person in, instead of learning self-soothing techniques. I'm still learning how to self-advocate and be verbal or expressive during a flood without making the situation worse.

    I guess CPTSD makes it worse because I tend to end up being angry with myself via guilt and shame, and it's hard to break that cycle.

    Anyway, here's the most recent article I read about Flooding. Enjoy.

    https://giusisilvestri.com/blog/emotional-flooding-and-what-to-do-about-it

    Thank you for sharing this, I also experience "flooding" though I am not autistic. I believe this is a reactive symptom to C.P.T.S.D when in certain triggering situations. S.S.P integrated listening developed by Dr. Stephen Porges has helped me immensely to re-calibrate my responses and my distress levels when I am exposed to certain tones of voice or seemingly threatening situations.

    A little about S.S.P

  • TemTem Citizen

    @Save_Ferris said:

    @Isabella said:

    This is called a Feelings Wheel. It's from therapy today. We talked about Emotional Flooding and the difficulty it poses for people with Alexithymia who can't name or understand their feelings in the first place. I think I'm stuck in certain colour zones and I'm still working on naming anything beyond the centre core.

    What in the name of Satan's portion is this gobbledygook

    This is a bit complex and subjective to whomever created it. A more simple one might be easier for people to get used to seeing and using.

    If too complex it can make people feel like they should be feeling and knowing all of these feeling and of course we don't. This could leave people feeling worse.

    Try a simple one with less but more solid and recognisable feelings - sometimes less is more.

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member

    @Tem said:
    This is a bit complex and subjective to whomever created it. A more simple one might be easier for people to get used to seeing and using.

    If too complex it can make people feel like they should be feeling and knowing all of these feeling and of course we don't. This could leave people feeling worse.

    Try a simple one with less but more solid and recognisable feelings - sometimes less is more.

    Thanks Tem , when I am ready to discover my feelings I will look for a more simple one.

  • TemTem Citizen

    @Save_Ferris said:

    @Tem said:
    This is a bit complex and subjective to whomever created it. A more simple one might be easier for people to get used to seeing and using.

    If too complex it can make people feel like they should be feeling and knowing all of these feeling and of course we don't. This could leave people feeling worse.

    Try a simple one with less but more solid and recognisable feelings - sometimes less is more.

    Thanks Tem , when I am ready to discover my feelings I will look for a more simple one.

    My last was aimed at Issy really as these things can be all different and subjective.

    I wasn't implying you should go use one Mr Ferris, although it looked like it because I didn't use my @ properly. My attempt to add to this post was clumsy.

    So please don't think I was poking my nose in here and telling you what you should do. I think you are fine as you are.

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member

    @Tem said:

    @Save_Ferris said:

    @Tem said:
    This is a bit complex and subjective to whomever created it. A more simple one might be easier for people to get used to seeing and using.

    If too complex it can make people feel like they should be feeling and knowing all of these feeling and of course we don't. This could leave people feeling worse.

    Try a simple one with less but more solid and recognisable feelings - sometimes less is more.

    Thanks Tem , when I am ready to discover my feelings I will look for a more simple one.

    My last was aimed at Issy really as these things can be all different and subjective.

    I wasn't implying you should go use one Mr Ferris, although it looked like it because I didn't use my @ properly. My attempt to add to this post was clumsy.

    So please don't think I was poking my nose in here and telling you what you should do. I think you are fine as you are.

    Oh OK, um....what a lovely looking...um...bikini

  • May I borrow your wheel Ferr?

    I'm still mastering those emotions.

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member

    @Isabella said:
    May I borrow your wheel Ferr?

    I'm still mastering those emotions.

    Feel free @Isabella, the sheep emotion is the easiest to recognise

  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor

    @Isabella said:

    This is called a Feelings Wheel. It's from therapy today. We talked about Emotional Flooding and the difficulty it poses for people with Alexithymia who can't name or understand their feelings in the first place. I think I'm stuck in certain colour zones and I'm still working on naming anything beyond the centre core.

    Having a feelings wheel actually seems really useful for Alexithmyia! I wasn't aware those existed.

    The scope of what I can identify seems to extend to some terms in the middle Angry, Bad, and Happy wheels, but that's kind of it. I guess I have a bit of work to do on emotion recognition. lol

    I wonder how many of these specific emotions people without Alexithmyia are supposed to be able to recognize? There's so many listed.

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member

    @Hylian said:
    I wonder how many of these specific emotions people without Alexithmyia are supposed to be able to recognize? There's so many listed.

    My GF who is not alexithymic recognises all of these emotions as she has felt them all. She did say on reflection it is a lot easier to recognise them than when you are actually feeling them as some of them are quite close and can be masked by the base emotion i.e. She said she has felt angry and doesn't know why but later she can see why she didn't want to acknowledge the actual emotion.

  • I have an idea what they all feel like, what the subtle differences are between them, and possibly which one to use when. I agree that it's hardest to know which one you are on when they're happening. It's even harder to figure out why. For example I usually say I feel "good" or "bad". It takes a lot of reflection to figure out why I feel bad based on a situation. Then it's even more work to figure out what the "bad" represents. Is it jealousy, sadness, worry, fear, incompetence? That's always the hardest thing to pinpoint.

    My defaults are shame, guilt, anger, sadness, neutral, and frustration. With a side order of Sheep.

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