Firstly this post has been written for a few weeks now, just waiting for photos which I took the other day. Unfortunately my brain fog, summer holidays and severe writers block has left me with no posts to update you with!! I’m hoping that I might be able to remedy this over the next few weeks and I’m hoping that regular service may be resumed!!
So firstly I would like to introduce you to my mascot, I have made her up based on my logo and a knitting pattern. I had a poll and the name that has been chosen is Zena, she’s a warrior Zebra and is standing for my fight with my illness and everyday (I had a number of polls in different places and Zena won over Zara 31 to 24)! I hope you like her, she’s going to come around with me to places and is going to appear in my photo’s too!! I thought that when I run out of things to say the “adventures (or not so adventurous) of Zena” can hopefully begin! So without further ado, please meet Zena…………
NOW, onto the post!!!
As I sit down I can feel my fingers tingling, the need to fiddle becomes overwhelming often within minutes. I’m sat waiting for an appointment, the anxiety levels in my body rise and I start to try to find something to play with. Now these things would be fine if I was 6 or any age of child, however I’m an adult. The looks that you get from chewing, or playing with your coat, or tapping your fingers, or my personal favourite of running something over my lips can be unpleasant or even mean. However I cannot help it. The need to fiddle, the need to chew or have my arms tickled or scratched are overwhelming to me and have always been there. Even before I knew what it was, my mum used to despair when I came home from school (a place I used to find overwhelming due to bullying and just being too busy and too many people) with another chewed jumper, or elastic bands by the handful, bluetac or whatever I could get my hands (or mouth) on. I just always found something to keep my hands busy and in turn my mind off whatever thoughts I didn’t want to intrude into what ever I was doing at the time.
The Verb “To Fiddle” means – touch or fidget with something in a restless or nervous way and “Fidget” means – make small movements, especially of the hands and feet, through nervousness or impatience. However to me it isn’t always about being nervous or impatient, yes sometimes it is and sometimes it’s about stopping extreme stress and or overload but not always. Sometimes for me it is just being sat in the evening or during the day, I will be doing something else at the same time like being on the computer but I still get the urge – that strong need to fiddle with something. I’ve recently been building my fiddle toy stash and have far too many for a woman of my age (my dad’s sentiments) but each one helps in a different way or fulfils a different need. Each very satisfying and each used at different times. They don’t even have to be sophisticated, as long as it keeps my hands, or mouth or one or more of my senses busy. Here’s a few of my favourite ones for you to see……………
I have different fiddles for different needs. These are my fiddles for keeping my hands busy………….
Then these are my ones for sensory inputs e.g. feeling or chewing………….
This need is where my crafting was born from too. The need to be doing something in the evening when watching the tv, became my different crafts. These were all started before I’d heard about sensory processing disorder and before I had acknowledged (or even known about) my sensory needs. Knitting, crochet, cross stitch, embroidery, colouring and many many more crafts were just keeping my fingers busy. If I sit down without anything to do it only takes a few minutes before my fiddling starts. That or I pick up one of my many craft projects I’ve got on the go at any time!! I simply cannot sit without wanting to or needing to do something with my hands or using my senses, even sat at the cinema I play with my scarf on my face or fiddle with my fingers or ring splints. I just can’t sit still without fiddling.
I have been looking into whether I “stim” or “fidget” and to say I’ve not got the answer wouldn’t even cover it, it’s very confusing and there are lots of different thoughts on this. There’s some people out there who say that to “stim” is a need that you have to do that specific movement then and there, some say that fidgeting is a nervous habit and stimming is a release or a calming thing. I don’t know if I “stim” or “fidget” or if they are both different parts of the same thing. I call it fidgeting but there’s evidence out there that it is a stimming behaviour, I guess it’s just what you want to call it. For me though I use my fidgeting for many different reasons, to calm, to keep my fingers busy, to stop me doing something that is more distracting to others or even harmful (as I think that if I didn’t do these things I would be scratching my skin until it bled or picking my skin or another more harmful activity).
So if you see me, or someone else, fidgeting or stimming please please don’t ask us to stop. Please don’t judge or poke fun or look disapproving (yes I’ve seen people do all these to others and also have had them done to me too), please just understand that it is a need and I (or others) can’t help it.
Do you need to fiddle or stim? What do you think are they the same thing? What do you use to fiddle with? Do you get disapproving looks? What does your need to fiddle or stim manifest itself as, do you just have to move? Do you get a signal that you need to move? Let me know below and share your fiddle toys or things that you use to help, I’d love to see them.