Overstimulation vs. Meltdown

Sometimes as we navigate our days, we may feel overstimulated. And sometimes that overstimulation can also lead to a meltdown. Either way, it can be hard for autistic individuals to tell the difference between overstimulation and a meltdown! For me, these are the key differences:
1) When I’m overstimulated, I just need to be alone, preferably with my special interests. When I’m melting down, I can’t even focus on my special interests. That’s how distraught I am.
2) I tend to cry uncontrollably during a meltdown, OR I feel so angry that I throw things and scream. While I may be upset and say regretful things when I’m overstimulated, I don’t feel out of control.
3) Overstimulation makes me feel like running away or hiding. Meltdowns make me feel like fighting. Think fight (meltdown) or flight (overstimulation) mode.

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