Tag Archives: Stimming

Oh the Ways We Love to Stim

People often ask about stimming. It is something that “normal people” have trouble understanding.

Most people stim. Have you ever clicked a pen while thinking, swished your tongue around in the roof of your mouth, strummed your fingers tapped your toes. Some stims are less noticeable and are considered “socially acceptable” and “normal”.

I stim more than “normal people” but less than some Autistics. Growing up undiagnosed forced me to learn to hide what was not socially acceptable. Thinks like rocking and making funny sounds, though soothing and helpful, will get you funny looks. These things I love are not typically welcome in the workplace.

Alone I am left to stim freely, I like to jump, rock, and bounce about, sometimes doing things that would make people question my sanity – but it feels good, oh so good. Releasing so much tension, taking a break, shake it off, reset.

In public I do thinks like rub my hands, fingertips and wrists. I play with my phone or a necklace or bracelet. I tap my toes under the table and stretch in my seat. Sitting still is hard work and eventually I have to release the pressure.

Fidget toys, scented oils, snacks, playing with my laptop mouse, or swirling the spoon in my tea so I can listen to the sounds of the cup. Even if people don’t notice I am stimming constantly, regulating, focusing, trying to keep from being overwhelmed.

Sometimes I stim when I am uncomfortable. Stimming helps me relax. Sometimes I stim when I need a break. Stimming helps me focus. Sometimes I stim if I am anxious. Stimming can help me think.

Stimming can take me to another place or help me deal with what is happening in front of me. When things get bad I can always stim.

 

Autistic Confessions I Had a Meltdown at Work

The woman on the phone was not listening. I had called her for help and quickly realized that she would not be able to help me.

“I told her never-mind. I’ve made a mistake. I’m going to let you go.” She kept asking questions. Every question she asked I said – “I don’t know. I don’t have any more information. I am going to let you go.”

She kept asking. I told her again – “I need to let you go. You cannot help me.” Her overly helpful insistence that I not hang up the phone was about to make me blow up.

Finally, in a harsh tone I told her – “Look – I was trying to be nice but I am hanging up now because there is NOTHING you can do for me.”

I slammed down the phone and ran quickly out of our office in a panic. My heart was beating fast and my mind was racing. Everything was a blur. I wanted to scream, cry, and hit someone. More than anything I wanted to get away and be alone.

Run. Run. Escape. Escape.

Bursting into the hallway I frantically looked both ways – I wanted to go someplace without people. The bathroom? Elevator? Emergency stairwell! 

Hyperventilating I burst into the stairwell. It was dark and quiet as most people take the elevator. I rand up and down the stairs until finally I collapsed exhausted on the bottom floor.

I sat for a moment, curled in a ball rocking. Grateful for the moment alone – I sat breathing in and listening to my breaths.

Coming back to reality, feeling much better after my tiny explosion (this was a very small meltdown), I realized that I had left my key-card in the desk as I ran out in a panic, so I exited the stairwell and took the elevator back to my floor.

Back at my desk I sat down like nothing ever happened – as if I hadn’t just had a meltdown at work.

When an Autistic person is having a meltdown they are unable to think clearly. The flight or fight response is triggered so forcing them to engage with you can actually cause more stress.

We are all unique individuals but I like to be alone during a meltdown. If I get up and run away don’t chase me – this is flight and if you corner me my brain can switch to fight. I’m on autopilot and running has become the way I protect myself (and those around me).

If I’m having a meltdown please do not touch me. My senses are whirling out of proportion and I am not thinking clearly. I may become unable to communicate other than one word answers and trying to communicate makes me feel worse – so don’t ask me explain what’s happening.

If you are in the room with an Autistic person having a meltdown – turn off the lights, get them a blanket or pillow and some space. A favorite stim toy might also be a good thing to offer.

You can stay in the room if the person you are with does not mind, but give some space and sit quietly.  Accept that they can’t control what is happening to them. Sometimes we feel the meltdown coming but other times it hits without warning.

Once started the meltdown has to run its course. Just wait, let me meltdown and don’t try to stop it. We may feel tired after a meltdown but sometimes we may feel a relief as the pressure may have been building for quite sometime.

Remember – as hard as watching a meltdown may be for you having a meltdown is horrible for an Autistic person. The pain is mental and physical. Autistic people having meltdowns are in crisis mode and our brains are lashing out at us. We don’t mean to freak out and are often embarrassed after having a meltdown.

#ActuallyAutistic

Autistic Stimming & Hand Flapping

“If you’re happy and you know it flap your hands.” Anybody else flap their hands like a little chicken when they are really happy or get startled / surprised?

Until I learned what stimmig was I had no clue I was even stimming – and I stim all the time, a LOT. Most of the time I don’t even realize I am stimming.

Stimming is something that Autistic people do to help them regulate the constant onslaught by the environment on their senses. My brain is constantly flooded by the unfiltered information poring into it.

When I stim, I am able to tun out some of the extra noise, calm down, distress, relax, and focus.

Society tends to want people to sit still quietly, something I struggled with as a child. I remember fighting with my teachers, who wanted me to sit still. When I could not move paying attention in the classroom was impossible.

Autistic people need to stim, in a way it is a lot like breathing for me.

I have a friend who has Turrets. She told me that she can hold in her ticks but they build up and doing so feels horrible for her. This is definitely how I feel about stimming. It is like an itch that won’t go away – I have to scratch it and eventually I will no matter what.

I used to stop myself from stimming and would try to hide my stims. Now that I know why I stim and how it helps me to regulate myself.

If a stim is not appropriate (too loud or harmful) I try to switch it for something positive.  

Below are just a few of my own stimming behaviors. 

Finger Rubs / Silent Snaps

Finger Snaps

Tongue Flicking

Finger Snaps

Stim Toys / Jewelry

Look Out a Window

Sniff Something Nice

Listen to the Same Song for an hour over and over.

Dance

Hum

Hand Flapping

Rocking

Bouncing

Verbal Stimming / Mouth Clicks & Noises

Hand Rubbing

Hand Tapping

Foot / Leg Tapping

Skin Picking / Pinching

Body Tightening and Relaxing

Stimming is self care – don’t stifle the stim!

He’s Back! The Aspie World, one of my favorite Vlogers on YouTube is back this week talking about  Autism, stimming, and hand flapping. I can take NO credit for the video below PLEASE check out and subscribe to The Aspie World on YouTube for more amazing content.

Link to video HERE.

Baby Robot Talks About Harmful Stims on Her AMAZING YouTube Channel

I never realized that I have harmful stimming behaviors – mine are EXTREMELY minor – but I do scrape and pick my skin till it bleeds sometimes when I am over stressed.

Actually, if we are being fully honest, I am CONSTANTLY fighting the urge in my head to scrape at myself. Stim toys help but if I stop paying attention my hands have a mind of their own. Its frustrating to have so little control over my own body.

Normally I tear my cuticles off.

It is also very had for me not to pick at or mess with any cut I have in my body.

I have to constantly remind myself to stop and try to do something else.

I keep stim toys in my hands and that helps me to stim in non harmful and positive ways.

Some harmful stims can be very dangerous and I do not have a lot of experience with those.

Please do not think that I am minimizing those in not mentioning them – I just don’t feel as if I have authority on this subject.

I know that I am more likely to harm myself more intensely IF I am having a total meltdown but most of the time I hide myself in a soft bed to prevent me from hitting my head or punching things.

“Stim freely – without shame.” – Baby Robot

I REALLY love Baby Robot‘s YouTube channel. I can take NO credit for her video please like her videos and subscribe to her on YouTube.

Asperger’s Girl- Stress, How to Manage it & Sensory Toys

Autistic people are marked by their adherence to routine and resistance to change. We find comfort in familiarity.

I like to have a plan and know what is going on also I always try to have stim toys handy.

One of my favorite YouTubers – Anja Melissa has a new video talking about how she manages stress and will deal with transitioning to a new part of her life.

The natural rhythm of stimming: Erin Clemens at TEDxWestChester – Everybody Stims

Wow! I am just floored but this AMAZING performance! WAY TO GO!

I wish I had the text to go along with this poem to paste below but I have a hard time transcribing things word for word and do not want to mangle her beautiful poem!

Everybody stims – not just you and me. 😉

An amazing poem about Autism and Stimming  The natural rhythm of stimming: Erin Clemens at TEDxWestChester via TEDx Talks

Link to video HERE.

Autistic Advice: What is Stimming?

James Owen shares his experience with stimming on his YouTube channel in his video Autistic Advice: What is Stimming? (below).

I was beginning to wonder if anyone else had more discrete stimms or never realized they were stimming until they heard about stimming.

I like to stim with music on – maybe because I just look like I am doing some really bad offbeat dance to the music. It feels so good.

I also like to wrap myself in silken and fuzzy fabrics and sniff essential oils. These are some of my more “acceptable” adult stims.

I can take NO credit for his content below. Please subscribe to his YouTube channel.

Link to video HERE.

Stimming. What would we do without it?

Stimming is possibly one of the most misunderstood and stigmatizing Autistic activities. Stimming is something that Autistic people need to do in order to regulate the overflow if information. I stim a lot but most of my stims have become discrete or something I do in private because people teased me about it growing up undiagnosed.

Autistic Confessions – Stimming at Work

I stim my entire hour and a half long commute. Then I take breaks and stim on my own during the work day.

I stim in private or whenever I find myself alone. I wish it wasn’t shameful to stim in public as an adult.

I feel like a breastfeeding mother shamed into feeding her baby in a bathroom stall.

Stimming helps me to get through my day but our corporate clients are not ready to face the truth that is Autism.

Reframing Autistic Behavior Problems as Self Preservation: A Freudian View — Henny Kupferstein

Good things from my news feed.

Autistic disruptive and injurious behaviors are often seen as problematic. Sensory overload significantly distresses the autistic brain and triggers a halt in all cognitive abilities. Oftentimes, such ‘shutdowns’ might even be undetected sub-clinical seizures. Physiologically, the abrupt onset of sensory overload shutdowns are characterized by eye twitching, headaches, rage, and episodes of staring blankly into […]

via Reframing Autistic Behavior Problems as Self Preservation: A Freudian View — Henny Kupferstein