Self-Care, Uncategorized

When My Autistic Child’s Meltdown Triggered My Stress Response

My son had a meltdown that triggered my stress response. I took that one isolated incident and went into future-casting.

If you’re not familiar with future-casting, it went something like this: what’s going to happen to my son when I die… what if we both die… who would care for him? Would he be okay? The girls would surely help take care of him…right? 

I had a dream that I had cancer, and there was a funeral… and I woke up the next morning tired, exhausted, and emotionally drained. 

And I felt this excruciating pain down both sides of my legs. They were inflamed!

Thus… how my body responded to this stress. And because I teach “this stuff” I knew my body was responding to the triggered event. 

I took some essential oils, and rubbed it over my legs. It helped a little bit with the inflammation. I use a blend called Deep Blue by doTerra, but I’m sure there are other brands with similar blends. 

I did a yoga session to help release the tension and stress from my body. 

Yoga helped my body return to a state calm which is referred to as a the parasympathetic nervous system. 

And finally, I did two things to help me address the actual stressor. This is the part a lot of people tend to skip, because it requires you to do some inner digging. 

I did a stream of consciousness writing— I like to do this with my eyes closed. Open up the notes app or a word doc on your computer or pull up a journal, and start typing or writing. You’re allowing all your thoughts to fall onto paper. Why do you want to do it with your eyes closed? 

Because we naturally tend to judge ourselves. We judge ourselves for thinking the thoughts that we think. We judge ourselves for what we’re writing, and we want to “correct” these thoughts. Instead, by closing our eyes, we’re freeing ourselves from self-judgement, and simply writing or typing out all of our thoughts. 

It’s a way of practicing self-compassion. 

Another practice that I do, especially when I’m under stress is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).

I did two tapping sessions by myself, and led the women inside the AML Sisterhood through an EFT session. In tapping, you “heal it” by feeling it.

So, instead of suppressing all your thoughts, raw emotions, and negative beliefs surrounding the events that unfolded— you get brutally honest about your perspective of what happened, how it made you feel, and if done correctly, you’re able to release it and shift to the truths of the events that unfolded. 

If you’re not familiar with EFT, it’s similar to acupuncture, but without the needles. We did acupressure with Jacob when he was younger, and that really helps. A bit of a side note: I now use it as a way to help both my Autistic kiddos work through their emotions. My daughter, Alyssa has a lot of pent up anger—and she doesn’t like to talk about her anger. She experiences so much release and relief after an EFT session, and it helps her to sleep better at night. I usually do a session with Jacob when I notice that something’s off. 

I woke up the next day feeling a little better, but notice that my tension has traveled from my legs to my neck and upper back. My range of motion was limited, and it hurt to move my neck in any direction. So, I did a yoga for neck and upper back release and that seemed to help release some of the tension that was there. 

I hope this was helpful for you. 

If you find yourself under stress (which we all do from time to time), I’d love to invite you to join us a live zoom call with certified sophrologist Marianne de Kleer on Wednesday, July 28th at 5pm PST. She’ll be leading us through some stress release exercises to help release stress and prevent burnout.

I hope to see you there!

-Michelle 

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