When environments get to be too much for me I resort to stimming. Though resort is an odd word choice. It implies stimming is my last choice which it is not, but it is the last choice others would choose for me.
How I stim depends on what is happening, or what drives me to over stimulation. If I can get to a solitary place my course of action will be different than if surrounded by company. Each brings its own bundle of anxiety that has to be dealt with differently. If I am alone, or can get to an alone spot my over stimulation will be different.
When alone and over stimulated my usual course of action is to put on a video with soothing voices for background noise. Then I will get my weighted blanket, place it on top of me, curl on my side and rub my face and head. My leg will shake as well, though it always shakes when I’m sitting or lying down. Which has made driving difficult, though usually I can shake my arms and hands as replacement.
If luck is on my side and I can get away to a somewhat secluded area I will still try to play a soothing voice or music that can help me try breathing techniques. If need be I will take a pen and squeeze it between my fingers. At this point it is important to note that I do not encourage replication of my actions. This post is not intended as advice, it is my sharing an experience I’ve been told is interesting.
If luck is not on my side, if the day is not going in any way that can be salvaged I will enter panic attack mode. This has not happened often, usually I can at least plan a belated escape. I can survive a situation for a few minutes if escape is imminet. But if there is no way to leave, or to get to a secluded space there is not much I can do but expect a panic attack. Few things help when in the grips of one.
Stimming for me is not always about preventing and coping with anxiety in social situations. It feels nice to stim, like rubbing your chin or twirling a piece of hair between your fingers. When my hair was longer it curled up along my shoulders after a shower. Wet hair becomes so smooth when curled around a finger. Stimming is how I interact with my environment. It’s an idle animation my body does without my conscious input.
Though after years of bullying in grade school I learned to be conscious about it. That’s something I’m trying to reverse but it will take time. You may ask why I would want to, as said before stimming feels good. It’s part of who I am and how I deal with the world and it benefits me. Why should I have to stop doing something that benefits me and does not disadvantage others?
Thank you for reading this. If you liked it, or just have a question for me, drop a comment! I’d love to read what you thought.