Seeing Beyond the Meltdown

There’re 24 hours in a day, but it takes one meltdown to make time stand still. Each meltdown feels never ending, and once they do end, you wonder “How did I make it out alive.” Braeden was having a great day, but within seconds, from the backseat of the car, he unbuckled himself and thrusted back and forth screaming. I pulled over and tried to help him, I told him to use his words, to do the four B’s (put on the brakes, take a deep breath, shut off your brain, and hug your body) but Braeden was at a point in the meltdown where the only way out, was through.

For 45 minutes we were parked at a Chick-Fil-A parking lot, the same place he so badly wanted to have dinner. Unfortunately Braeden has now lost all sight of dinner or anything, for the fog of the meltdown had blinded all his wants and desires. I will spare you of the play by play details that followed, by saying in those 45 plus minutes, that was not my son.

Seconds felt like minutes, minutes felt like hours, as I watched this shell of my son no longer form words, hitting his head, lunging to bite me, and all I could do was watch and try to keep him safe until the fog lifts. I could see his rage turn to sadness, his cries became less angered and more a cry for help. Braeden leaned forward and said “Mommy my head hurts please let’s go home to bed.” I let out a huge sigh, buckled Braeden in and we drove back to our apartment.

The physical post meltdown exhaustion wore on Braeden like a 200lb weight, and shortly after 8pm he was fast asleep. I laid there next to him, and cried out every emotion I felt. Anger because I couldn’t help him. Sad because it’s not fair that he has to go through this. Fear because of his safety. The list goes on and on, but after my late night detox from it all, I found myself in him and in his strength, I found hope. Hope for a better tomorrow, hope that the next meltdown won’t be as bad as the last, HOPE.

From one Mom to the next, it’s easy to drown in the tears of a meltdown hangover, but no one said being a Mom was easy. Don’t live in the meltdown; process it, feel it, but move beyond it. If nothing else, believe in hope and give anything but up!

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