Monday, 22 July 2013

The Weird And Wonderful Things I Do When (I Think) Nobody Is Looking

There is nobody around. No one can see. I am safe. If anybody actually saw what I am about to do they would seriously think I am crazy. They would probably hastily edge towards the nearest exit, eyes darting back towards me suspiciously,  as if I was some sort of strange, thoroughly alien species they had never seen before.  I would immediately be placed into the same category as those misfits sometimes spotted on public transport or doctors waiting rooms. Whenever you see them, you avert your eyes, embarrassed. After all, they may be a little - shall we say - 'special', so we shouldn't embarrass them, right?

I cannot suppress this urge. To me it is as unstoppable and as natural as breathing. If I don't do it I will feel restless, twitchy, agitated, anxious and unsettled. I have always done this, ever since I can remember. I've never known anyone else who does. From an early age I realised this. I am the only one who does this. Other people don't. I must not do it in public! To compensate for this I did other things, but they were thought of as slightly strange too.

If I had ever let anyone see me, especially the other kids at school, I knew there would be consequences. I would be tormented and bullied. Just like I was when I had a 'fang', a spare, rogue tooth growing above my front top teeth. Mercifully, I had it removed and the kids forgot and left me alone. So I knew I could never let them see this thing I did and still do. Never! It is a secret. That is the only way.

However much I try to hide it and do this alone, somebody will inevitably catch me. My family. I cannot get away from them. Not completely. They walk into a room and catch me, unawares. I stop, mortified.

"Why do you do that, Mum?" Mr 9 will ask, bewildered, maybe even a little scared.

"I don't know." I answer, embarrassed and unable to explain.

But I do know. Now. I didn't a few years ago. My family are used to it, though. Sort of. They still think it's bizarre.

To see somebody, a grown woman, standing there, her entire body gyrating backwards and forwards, blissfully rocking. My arms will also unwind, unbidden and I will jerk them back and forth as well.

Why?

Because Aspie's ROCK!! In my case, quite literally.  This is what is referred to in Aspie speak as 'stimming,' short for self-stimulatory behaviours as described here.

While it's believed that most people on the spectrum engage in these behaviours as a means of dealing with anxiety, I have to say for me personally when I am 'stimming' or rocking, which is my most common one, I am usually in my happy place. Listening to Carpenters music, merrily rocking away. Because let's face it why wouldn't you head bang to the Carpenters?

There seems to some controversy or question raised over whether ASD people should be made to stop or reduce their stimming behaviours. I can only say from my own experience I am SO GLAD and grateful that my parents never made a big deal out of it and just let me be and do it. I really don't think I could stop myself even if I tried. Of course I'm lucky that I've been able to control my most extreme stim of rocking while in public. As I child I did other things. I would jump up and down on the spot or skip. Such a shame I still don't engage in those ones as I could sure as hell do with the exercise!

Occasionally when around other people I might fidget and twitch in an unusual manner causing people to look at me quizzically and enquire "Are you cold?"  Mostly it isn't a problem for me, except for the odd moments recently at home when I've started rocking only to stop abruptly, remembering that the boys friend/s were here and might spot me. Awkward.

The way I look it is, if that is the worst thing I do alone then so be it. Picking your nose and eating it is far worse. No, I don't do that. I really don't. I do pick at my ears sometimes. Shut up.

The only other things I may have done when nobody is looking is to engage in Covert Cakie Operations, otherwise known as sneakily eating cake when nobody is looking so I don't have to share. Ditto Covert Chocolate Operations. But nobody saw me, so it can never be proven. So ner.

Linking up with Kirsty from My Home Truths for I Must Confess.


                                 
                                           What do you do when you think nobody is looking?
 
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24 comments:

  1. Ohh, I do this too! Not rocking, but I like to drum on every available surface, and it annoys the crap out of my family. Pizza boxes are my favourite, they're awesome to drum on. I never knew it had a name, just goes to show you learn something every day! :)

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    1. That's a great one. Maybe you're a frustrated drummer and you just need to get a kit. xo

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  2. I tap my food when I am going to sleep. Drives Paul barmy when he stays over. It's one of the side effects of one of the meds I was on...which never left even though I have been off the meds for a few months.
    I have a fang...my parents never got it removed and I like to 'accidentally' let it slip over my bottom lip because I know it scares the fuck out of Paul. *grins*

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  3. My son flaps his hands and swings his "swingy things" around to calm himself down. He also does it when he plays his "game" (when he talks to himself and invents an imaginary world). I'm used to it now and I know that he needs that time to calm down and cope with his life. It's quite fascinating to watch - I have no interest in stopping it, unless it stops him from doing something we need him to do. I can understand you feeling self-conscious about your own stimming but I hope you still get the chance to do it - I think it's one of those releases that you have to have. Thanks so much for sharing this Ness xx

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    1. Yes, it's important to let your son do it at least sometimes, so I'm glad you realise that. I was a bit worried about sharing this, but I thought you would understand. xo

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  4. I thought at first you were going to say it was a left over from the days of rocking your baby or pram/shopping trolley - because I still catch myself doing this sometimes, and my babies are 19 & 16!

    I fidget - tap my fingers, wiggle my right foot (esp if I am feeling sick), and I don't even realise I'm doing it - until the hubster tells me because it's driving him crazy!

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    1. Oh yes, I HAVE done that with trolley! Fidgety people supposedly burn more calories - not that you need to - but still a benefit! xo

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  5. As you say, there are worse things you could do. Like Kirsty said, it's a release. No need to feel self conscious, we all have our quirks.

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    1. Yep, I'm definitely going with that. xo

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  6. Nothing wrong with that, there are much worse things. If you are feeling sub-conscious perhaps pop on headphones/ipod and everyone will just think you are swaying to the music, which I do in public all the time, until my girls tell me I'm embarrassing them. lol

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    1. That's a good tip. I'll keep that in mind. Thanks. xo

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  7. Don't we all do something strange or just do something out of habit? Maybe it's just nervous energy.

    I bite my finger nails when I'm deep in thought sometimes. I've tried to stop, but I keep doing it. If I clip my nails short, then it's less of a problem, so that's what I do.

    We're all just people trying to make it through life with our odd and not so odd behaviors. Don't believe the hype; we're all just imperfect human beings, far from the same and better for it.

    Time to go clip my finger nails, and thanks for the reminder through your not so secret story.

    Ben

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    1. Yes, I'm sure everybody has different habits. I certainly know a few nail biters. I've even seen my boys biting their TOE nails! Now that IS strange. xo

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  8. I do way worse than this. If it comforts you, why the hell not. I won't bore you with a list of the weird shit I get up to:) The only behaviour I actively trained my Aspie son out of was his palilalia, because it was creepy enough for those of us who know and love him, and I am sure would have done him no favours. Fortunately he is high functioning, and can generally get a grip on any behaviours if he has to, and that particular one never recurred :)

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    1. I'm sure nothing you do would be boring, Ace.

      Had to Google palilalia. I don't do that. I'm mute or quiet most of the time and can't make eye contact. That's bad enough. Glad your boy manages to cope with it all. xo

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    2. Isn't it nice to know that we're all just real people? We're not fake people trying to reach some unreachable standard. Nothing wrong with being the best you can be, but we can have some habits if they're not too destructive.

      Ben

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    3. Yes, I totally agree. Thanks, Ben.

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  9. In response to your recent question on Twitter about what people might be doing on a Friday night, I'm writin bored posts cos I'm suspended from Twitter again - I can still see people's Tweets, but cannot respond to them. So I think I'll go to bed and watch some old eps of Dexter. Feel free to visit my blog for the latest thrilling update.

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  10. I also pick my ears - YAY for us! And go you for rocking the rock!! xx

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  11. I pick my nose and my ears. I know, eeuaugh. And now the whole world knows it. My brother in law, who has autism, will pick at his skin if he is upset, I've noticed. When he was younger, he used to flap his hands a lot.

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  12. Totally understand the stimming. That said, I reckon we all do weird things when no one's watching. I did the nose picking as a kid before I got caught and told off. Didn't do that again! I make weird sounds to de-stress and talk a lot to myself. Out loud. Thanks for linking!

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  13. Haha, oh we're all prone to some or the other kind of weirdness when we think no one's watching. I usually talk to myself out loud a lot, sing and dance about, and also act out with my imaginary friends. It's quite fun really. :D

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  14. I haven't met anyone with Asperger's in person, but I've watched a few movies, so I know what you mean.
    Thanks for sharing, Vanessa.

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