An Autism Meltdown

An Autism meltdown.  There is nothing quite like it.  Comes with no warning, it is a firestorm of anger and frustration and then it dissipates leaving you baffled and weary.

When Sarah was 3 years old these meltdowns were frequent.  One moment she was swinging on the swings, the next moment she was charging at me.  She would lash out at me with her arms and legs in a wild frenzy, all the while screaming out in frustration.  I truly had no idea what caused this sudden change.  The only thing I could do to protect her and myself was to scoop her up and bear hug her.  I would rock her back and forth, sing in her ear and pray and cry out to God in desperation to calm her heart.

She fought me.  Boy, did she fight me!  She did not want to be held and it became a battle of the wills as I tried to hold on to my bucking bronco.  If she could manage to free one arm she would start hitting me again and I would tuck that arm in again as I rocked back and forth and “shhh” in her ear.  I tried the trick that my dad used on me when I was a child and refused to go to sleep; I would take slow, deep breaths.  It was a way to calm her down (and myself!).

It could take 5 minutes; it could take 15.

Slowly, I would feel her body begin to loosen.  I felt her giving in and letting me win.  Her hands that were clenched fists, slowly unfolded to little fingers stroking my back.  Her screams became less and less as she quieted down to listen to me sing or whisper my love for her and then she let out one giant sigh.  She would look in my eyes and then I knew my Sarah had come back to me from that dark place.  Sometimes she was so worn out from the episode she would fall asleep in my arms.

Why did she resist me so much?  Why did she give me such a fight?

Zephaniah 3:17: “…He will quiet you with His love.”

There are times my actions towards the Lord are much like a Sarah meltdown.  It is not pretty as I come to Him as a ball of anger and frustration.  Thankfully, He is never baffled and is never weary of me.   He holds me close, never letting go and whispers His love for me.  It can be a battle of the wills at times.  When I finally give in and loosen my fists to open hands to Him, a wave of peace floods my soul.  He calls me back from the dark places and reminds me I am His.  There is nothing quite like it.

8 thoughts on “An Autism Meltdown

  1. Laura

    Once again you made me cry. I’ve witnessed these episodes, and the deep, unconditional love you lavish on Sarah…and the parallel to God’s perfect love for us (even when we thrash about in confusion and anger) brings me to tears. He is so good – and His love flows through you, sister. Oh how I love you and all your family!

  2. Carol Butler

    Jill, you amaze me of the understanding you have with Sarah. God made you the perfect Mother for this child. Only God knows why He made Sarah like she is, but we know Jesus loves each of us. I love you and pray for your health and understanding. Love, Aunt Carol

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