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How it feels to be overwhelmed as an autistic person.

I am fortunate to work with a few superb autistic young people mentoring them through their university studies. All of them are awesome in their own way and I feel that working with them furthers my working knowledge of autism and adhd.

One of my mentees is quite overwhelmed and is doing brilliantly at keeping in regular contact with how they are feeling. I asked them how they were the other day and the answer was “like a frozen lasagne!” I don’t think they were expecting me to say that I knew exactly what they meant.

When overwhelm happens it is more often than not layered concept rather than a single event or part of our lives. Normally there is enough clarity to be able to peal back each layer and address it but once overwhelm hits then the layers become fused together, hence the frozen lasagne analogy.

In order to be able to recover from that overwhelming sensation sometimes we need to take time, remain frozen and rest. When it is time to practically sort out our feelings, it isn’t a matter of auto-defrost and all will be well. A gradual defrosting will help to peal back the layers and deal with them one by one.

When helping an overwhelmed autistic person it is important to give them time to heal and be there for when they are ready to peal back their layers but don’t look for an metaphorical microwave as a quick fix!

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