What are things that trigger dysregulation in a nice human? I think sometimes people forget, or have been conditioned to disbelieve, that not all dysregulation is a sign of distress. Think of how your heart pounds in nervous anticipation of getting something you really care about (e.g. your first kiss, seeing a concert, how amazing it is to be with friends, etc.) or how about when a scene in a movie really touches you and you well up. These, and other, situations are just normal occurences and your nervous system manages them in a socially “appropriate” way. How would you feel if your family removed you from these types of circumstances?
These same types of circumstances, where joy is present, can trigger impulsive actions from our apraxic bodies. It is like we only have one gear for heightened emotions, at least in my experience. Joy looks exactly like distress! Can you imagine having an action that you mustered as a small child to express your need to be removed from an overwhelming situation now being stuck so that every time you lunge at your mom and pinch her cheeks? Or where you managed to avoid an impulse that may hurt another instead resorting to exerting an impulsive action on yourself to get attention, and now having that be stuck?
Joy becomes slightly tainted if it triggers those around us to experience stress. Joy is a strong emotion and may surface as someone like me acquires the skills to communicate. My amazing friend Andrew shares about this so eloquently below.
Can’t give you a complete list of good hints of what else may cause dysregulation, but here is a list of some categories you can use to narrow down your guessing game until your non-speaker has the ability to tell you that you are right or oh so wrong! Please know that Mom was only right about the symptom of my aching legs with weather, otherwise her guesses were pretty cold.
- visual overstimulation
- GI discomfort
- strong emotions inside
- emotions felt from others
- illness (e.g. toothache, headache, sore throat, etc.)
- unfulfilled expectations our bodies have
Love just caring to help in this way. There is nothing wrong with trusting your momma gut, I always loved Mom not matter what. She was doing the best she could for me with the information she had at the time. With access to communication we have access to working as a team to support regulation. I love that I can create goals and plans of action in doing things I would otherwise be dysregulated around – professional basketball game, going caringly to theatre, joining groups of friends, etc. Loving parents have so empowered me to manage my body, and the joy of mastering a situation or being empowered to pull the plug because I know my limit before meltdown best is such a gift. Self-determination is where it is at!
Ok, I know this started in one place and ended somewhere else, but I love letting my writing lead me. If there was something you thought I could expand on, or a question I left hanging out in the wind, please comment and I promise to answer.
Image credit: ID 21556837 © Oleg Doroshenko | Dreamstime.com