Friday, 19 August 2011

... and now, I'll talk about something I generally don't.

Well... i spent yesterday changing the buttons on a shirt whilst half-watching Diamanda Hagan's Raspberry Reich review.  

There's not a lot I can say about that. 

I spent today... well, it involved a very long walk, much frustration, exam results that could've been better, a stiff drink and a lot of blind panic about next year. 

I could go into detail about that. But I don't want to. Really. 

So, with that out, it looks like we're finally back to Neurodiversity (I warned you that you hadn't seen the last of it), and specifically, stimming. Stimming, for those who don't know, is basically a repetitive movement that people on the autistic spectrum perform to control or express one emotion or another. I'm going to use this post to de-mystify it a bit, because while it often gets described with a "What is this strange, unfathomable behaviour of which you speak" sort of tone, it's something that's very familiar to me. It's something I've done, normally without even thinking about, more or less since I could walk. 

It isn't really something I talk about in daily life, because even though I'm quite an open person who doesn't, as a rule, hide things for fear of what people think, stimming was always the big exception to that rule. For years, I didn't believe I could tell my neurotypical friends, no matter how nonchalantly, without them instantly deciding I was crazy and instantly backing off. Recently, though, thanks to increased maturity and a few positive experiences, my feelings about that have changed. I'm going to be open about this. Yep, you're witnessing an official coming out, people. About bloody time.  

So, my pacing. It's not really a classic example of stimming, you don't often see it mentioned in articles, but I have done this all my life. When I first started school, this is what I would spend my breaktimes doing- walking or running around alone, telling myself little stories. I knew other kids didn't do this and that several of the teachers had it marked down as a red flag, but I wasn't really bothered. It was instinct. It was fun. I was innocent enough to not really be dissuaded by the curiosity and questions of what seemed like every authority figure within a five mile radius. 

Of course, these days it's a bit different. I've long stopped stimming in public (or at least, stimming openly. Disguised stimming still happens), and I no longer talk whilst stimming. I still do it, though. Switching some music on and just walking around a the house at random, in circles, is as normal as watching television or getting a drink of water. I stim without realising. I trip over things whilst stimming. I get annoyed by having to stop stimming to answer the phone and fend off the telemarketer at the other end. I get up to stim whilst doing other something passive to clear my head, before sitting back down and carrying on. I took my headphones out of my computer to stim with my Ipod in just a moment ago, and almost forgot to bring them back. 

So, why do I do it? Well... it's different for everyone, but for me the best way to describe it is an energy surge. If I'm using my imagination or thinking about something that engages me intellectually or emotionally, I get an adrenaline rush, sometimes a huge overwhelming one, sometimes a slight one, and I just have to... move around. It's simple as that, really, and to me it feels like the most natural thing in the world to do, which makes it hard to explain in detail. Trying to explain exactly why I stim is like trying to explain exactly why I laugh- you can't say it's involuntary because it's controllable, but it's an automatic reaction, and trying to suppress the urge to do it can be annoying. Not being able to stim when I want to makes me feel a bit like I'm in a straightjacket, and it tends to make me somewhat disengaged from whatever I'm meant to be paying attention to. 

As for what stimming itself feels like... well, it varies. It can be very intense or very calm and casual, depending on what I'm thinking about and how strong the resulting rush is. The most intense stimming almost detaches me from the world for a while- I find myself having no interest in anything else, and tasks that demand I stay still and/or focus become a real chore. I think, random as it sounds, that webcam calls are perhaps the most frustrating thing I can do when I'm in this mood, because I have to stay in one place, sitting rather than standing, and give someone else my undivided attention, making easing myself back into a sociable frame of mind by thinking about more calming things difficult.

The least intense stimming, on the other hand doesn't involve any problems like that. It manifests as an absent-minded urge to walk and barely feels like anything. It all comes down to what I'm feeling. In fact, I suppose stimming is, in short, just a way of getting strong emotions out of your system. No matter how odd it looks (and while, despite thoughts of making a Statement! video, I've never bothered to film myself stimming, it kind of goes without saying that someone pacing in circles for half an hour straight would look very odd indeed) that's all it is.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Day 4: Name a Stereotype or cliche you can relate to: 

  • Hate- hot weather and bright sunshine. Love- thunderstorms, mist on fields, and short winter daylight hours. 
  • Bats are completely adorable, as are many snakes. I don't mind spiders much, either, big skittish impossible-to-catch ones notwishstanding. 
  • Cobwebs are pretty.
  • Yes, I do the little eyeliner swirls. I know a lot of people think it's really daft, but to them, I say simply 'Don't like it, don't look at it'. 
  • I suppose this is more of a subversion, as I did my utmost to hide it and and certainly didn't find it cool or desirable, but I've had depression. Needless to say, it had nothing to do with me being a Goth, and I didn't go running back to mainstream fashion the second I began to get over it. I was a person, who happened to be a babybat, who's brain just didn't play nicely for a while. It wasn't fun, and I can't describe how happy I am to be well on the way to getting rid of it. 
  • If broomsticks existed, I would own one. They're awesome. 
  • I was born on Wednesday the 13th of October, at around midnight, during a storm. 
  • I am interested in the darker sides of mythology and folklore. Not really vampires, though, so I might be disqualified. 
  • I love Bauhaus and the Cure. 
  • I don't actively seek 'disturbing' or 'freakish' things, but I am quite open minded and hard to shock. I know there are lots of things people do that I don't bat an eyelid at, but cause many others to freak out.
  • I'm naturally pale. To the point where the lightest foundation shade of many brands makes me look borderline ganguro. 

No comments:

Post a Comment