I thought I was prepared, but I was wrong.

Oh, so very wrong.

I was already extremely apprehensive as it was, but I chose to suppress all my feelings deep down into my body.

The signals were presenting themselves, but I just kept smiling and forcing anything that resembled a feeling deeper down attempting to lock it away.

I entered the venue.

The bright lights assaulted my eyes, I kept smiling.

The loud noises coming from the other patrons hit me like a boxer punching their opponent in the face in slow motion, it was like it was from a boxing scene from a movie.

I took my seat.

I pulled out my new noise cancelling headphones.

I had come prepared.

But I was wrong, nothing could prepare me for the sensory onslaught I was about to face.

The lights went down.

The music began playing my senses began to shrill and scream.

“Why is this happening to us Nick, why?”

I didn’t know.

I was sat in my seat for as long as I could possibly humanly manage.

The noises, the loud brash cheers emulating from the crowd, the volume of the music (it must’ve been at least at 100).

I was internally screaming I need to get out of here, I can’t take much more.

The shrieking and wailing coming from the audience sounded like a group of abandoned banshees singing, the bright lights were unapologetic to the eyes, and the torment that this was all taking on my senses were as if they were under attack only this time it was personal.

I stood up.

I whispered to my mum who was seated next to me that I was heading outside.

I didnt’t want to draw atention to myself.

I got outside into the hallway.

I let out a gasp of air.

I couldn’t breathe.

I thought that I was going to have a panic attack.

I took out my noise cancelling headphones.

They had shown themselves to be a poor match for the speakers that were pumping out the 100+ music through them.

Why they had it so loud eludes me.

It’s not like we couldn’t have heard it if the music had been played at 40.  

Outside I sat down on a chair.

I took some deep breaths.

I then openly cried.

The tears wouldn’t stop.

The enormity of the situation hit me like a big wave crashing in the sea.

I managed to ask one of the women who had been checking us all in if she would go and get my mum for me.

My mum came out and I said through fat wet tears.

“I need a hug.”

I’m not sure how long this all lasted for.

I was in such a state.

I know that a decision was made.

But by whom is another thing.

I don’t think that it was me.

I just know that we came away and I was glad to be removed from the onslaught of what can only be described as if someone had lured me to a shipping container and then locked the door and then proceeded to pump in loud dance music with an added light show for good measure.

I made a vow that night.

I wouldn’t be going back to this event next year.

I have well and truly learnt my lesson.

I am proud of myself from at least this time not being embarrassed for allowing myself to be my Autistic self in that moment.

On the way home in the car all I could hear was all of the noises from that evening playing inside my head.

It was like having flickering images of the night attempting to piece themselves together in an out of order way trying to work out what had gone down.

It was like someone was banging it all out on a drum.

Over and over again.


The loud cheers from the crowd – BANG ON THE DRUM.

The lights physically assaulting my eyes – BANG ON THE DRUM.

And it was repeated, and I relived the whole evening – BANG ON THE DRUM.

In the shower it happened, and when I closed my eyes that night to fall asleep praying that the meltdown would ease and I could sleep, it said “No, sorry this won’t happen.” And…


It played out until exhaustion kicked in and I feel asleep thankful that the meltdown had subsided and left me in peace.


How do you cope with meltdowns?

What techniques work for you?

Let me know in the comments section below.

As always, I can also be found on Twitter:@AutisticNickAU and on the Autistic Nick Facebook Page

Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.

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