Today was the school's first test on one of my meltdowns. It was not even a Stage one* and got myself out of it, but it was the first image that I am not always 100% functional all the darn time.
What happened was that some child pulled down the fire switch and it was during the Second Lunch and I was drawing since I finished heating all the lunches and I had some time to kill before clean up. The noise of the alarm sent me into overload instantly. I never heard that sound before and I had no idea what was going on I just knew that "LOUD NOISE IS BAD" and I reacted by covering my ears and rocking. But I had to get the kids out with the other teachers. I hate that godfucking siren. If felt like someone was poking me with a needle the noise was painful and jarring and very uncomfortable.
When I got out I was almost in tears. I was swaying and I still had a grip on my verbal skills, but I could only bite my hands (yes Tikaani does this too when he is unhappy) and rock. Then something amazing (at least to me) happened. The teachers where concerned. Not at what I was doing but at me. They saw my distress and comforted me appropriately. They didn't ask me "What's wrong, are you ok?" because it was obvious by the way I was stimming and swaying that I wasn't. Instead M one of the teachers ask if I wanted a "squeeze" I remember nodding and she wrapped her arm around me and squeezed me close. I took several deep breaths and the pressure defitinty alleviated the panic and helped me process and calm down a lot faster. I wasn't all the way together but I manage to work without too much problem.
I walked to E my boss about the incident, after discussing about she alerting me to any planned drills when I am in the building. I wasn't totally verbal I was gesturing and stuttering but I made some what sense. The bottomline is that E understands why I meltdown and might have moments when I can't calm down. She says I will never loose my job because I have a meltdown and she will accommodate me with whatever I need.
For the first time. I didn't feel I have to suffer to get work down. I can take off the mask and I won't be punished for it. I didn't felt patronized and the teachers wanted to support me. I felt relieved that I won't be punished for things out of my hands. I makes me want to work harder on controlling sensory overload and sensitivity to information and better processing skills. But I know that there is place where I can fall apart and pick myself up.