Last year during International Day of Persons with Disabilities we had a talk from Genius Within and they talked about the theory of Social Energy.
Basically, it is like the Spoon Theory for Lupus. We all have social energy tanks. Those who are Neuro-Typical have larger tanks than Neuro Diverse people. This is the key thing to know. Now like the spoon theory every action that we do takes away from your social energy tank. The problem is is that when someone who is neurodiverse who has a smaller tank thing gets drained a lot quicker than a neurotypical person.
Unlike the Spoon theory, however, we can refill our tanks. The idea is that if someone who is neuro diverse’s tank dips below 30% then we are likely to be in a meltdown mode. So with your social energy, it is very important to know where you are at and how you refill your tank.
For me, to refill my tank when I am at work, I go to the coffee shop and speak with the staff there. I find the break from work and what is draining my energy is a way to refill. When I goto my coffee shop I can be a little crazy and let out stresses. When I then return to work I find that I have avoided a meltdown. For me when I am in meltdown mode I know that I go very quiet and you can’t talk to me and I won’t talk to anyone. So to avoid this I keep an eye on my energy levels.
The other aspect of this is the fact that you need to find your safe space to do it. I know one person who stands in a closet. Others go and sit on a bench doing nothing but people watch. It is your safe space to find it.
Since learning this theory my team at work and I use it a lot. They ask me what my number is at when I need a break. This helps me focus on my own needs. I think that you all need to work on this to see if it can help you try and avoid your meltdown phases.