Meltdown vs. Tantrum

PLEASE learn the difference between a meltdown and a tantrum. They may appear the same, but are VERY different…

Tantrums are willful obstinate behavior. Like when a kid throws themselves on the ground because Daddy won’t buy them the $200 Lego set. Or when cookies are denied in the mall food court and the kid starts an extended screamfest until appeased. Tantrums generally accompany genuine entitlement issues.

Meltdowns occur when someone can no longer process sensory input/output. It’s like a computer hitting the notorious Blue Screen of Death when Windows locks up and can’t further process data. The individual also needs to reboot, by being removed from the situation and allowed to decompress.

Either stop and offer help or continue on with your day. Don’t gawk, don’t judge, don’t be a jerk.

Something I’ve written to help friends with my personal meltdown situations:

While rare in public for me, if you DO ever see me having a meltdown (trust me, you’ll know)… please offer me water and ask if you can walk me to a quiet(er), more isolated location (if possible). I will likely be unable to talk, but I can generally nod or shake my head (or use minimal sign language, depending on how far into the meltdown I am). Please don’t overwhelm me with questions. I may hand you my phone and ask you to call my mom for me, if really bad. I may use my phone to participate in an activity which can help center my thought processing. I’m not ignoring you… just rebooting myself.

An an aside, if you ever see me on my phone or computer, PLEASE DO NOT COME UP BEHIND ME OR TOUCH ME WITHOUT WARNING. This is enough to send me into panic mode and deplete my spoons for the entire day. I do not do well with being surprised, to say the least. This also goes for trying to tap my phone screen/keyboard or f–cking around in that manner. It may seem harmless and/or funny to you, but for me… that sends me into a terror spiral. It will never be okay. Please… just don’t. So yeah, I would appreciate if you would say my name before approaching me, to get my attention, and then approach from the front or side. Thanks.