Anatomy of a Meltdown

We had a meltdown last week, complete with the usual “You took my driver’s license” and threats to drive anyway etc. It quickly dissolved after a while in mutters of “Well, I don’t know what to do, I love you [anyway!]”


Since, I have been wondering if it makes sense to try to analyse the “cause and effect,” or if these meltdowns are just going to brew out of nowhere and catch one unaware anyway no matter how careful one is with the environment.

In this case, I think the factors were:

1) I actually took a day off to go to a very interesting meeting with a friend, and came home refreshed and happy about the possibility of returning to some of my old activities. My spouse had enjoyed the day with his caregiver, but was muttering about the “zoo” at the pool where they had gone to pick up her child. (He just cannot handle any kind of noisy complicated scene at all.)

2) The next morning we had gone for a drive and done several errands, even though he was so “tired” he just waited in the car, and he had come home exhausted.

3) I had walked in the house, and instead of tending to his needs, had immediately gone into some excited catching up with a work colleague, ignoring him as his repetitious questions got more and more urgent. 

Result? Meltdown. Preventable? Maybe, It could be that his sensitivity to upset and commotion is getting higher and higher as the disease worsens.


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2 responses to “Anatomy of a Meltdown

  1. BA

    My Dear De,
    This all sounds so familiar, exhausting and frustrating even though the details vary from time to time. In the past, I tried very hard to analyze and to explain kindly with appropriate information. Now, I have come to the conclusion that my approach makes things more confusing. At present, I quietly accept the criticism or accusation. Usually, I try to respond with something like Ohhhh or Hmmmm or I am not concerned about this or that or what do you think or I leave the scene. Usually M will go off for a sleep, all will be forgotten until the next time. If I haven’t come up with any better response, I just repeat any of the above. Right now Ohhhh is my favourite!
    I wonder if some of the off-the-wall ideas or worries might be related to a dream, a misunderstanding about something he thought he heard or an old memory re-appearing in an ambiguous way? My goal is to alleviate the anxiety and hope to find a calm space soonest!
    Please, please, Delores, keep looking for pleasant opportunities, even if they are tiny ones to re-discover the dear Delores that is tucked inside: the Delores we all know and love! These little joys like chatting with a friend or colleague will make you more resilient, give you some independent thoughts and little treats to look forward to. And these joys will do no harm to Do or De. You will have these nice thoughts that make you smile while the same old ranting about the drivers licence carries on. Some of my little pleasant activities seem to have become part of our daily routines. Even though I am tempted to share what I am enjoying or thinking (as we used to do), I don’t! For certain, it will be misunderstood and become a catalyst for a flare-up. My iron clad response is….I am going for a little walk, will pick up a few groceries, do a few errands, I will be home by 1pm and we will have a nice lunch together.(..or any of the above)! Have a nice nap, pet the cat and I will see you right here at 1pm.
    Always remember……you are not alone……we are with you and need you to take good care of De!
    Love, BA XXOX


  2. jeaniem

    I left a long wordy comment and then lost it!! We are thinking about you De and keep up the contacts with friends. Your life is still there. love j