What types of stims do you folks use?

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stlf
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30 Jul 2004, 6:22 pm

I've been thinking alot recently about the stims that I engaged in as a child and those that I still do today and wondering what stims other aspies use. Mine are as follows:

Pacing- this is probably my primary stim. From as early as I can remember, I have loved to listen to music and pace back and forth or in a circle. The first instances of this that I can recall were when I was pre-school age and would listen to "The Ballad of the Green Berrets" over and over, while walking around the dining room table. As I got a little older, I graduated from the record player to a walkman and would listen to disney songs like "It's a Small World" and "Electric Light Parade" Having a tape player gave me the freedom to rewind a small part of a song quickly, so I would often listen to the same 30 seconds over and over. Although the type of music changed as I got older, the pattern of pacing for 3-4 hours per day continued through high school. It became such a part of my life that when I went to college the first year I was very anxious about what I would do if I could not pace. After all, not many room mates would understand why I wanted to spend my evenings with a set of head phones on walking back and forth in a dorm room!! The solution that I found was to walk outdoors. This way anyone who saw me would just assume that I was out for some excersize, and unless they were really paying attention would not realize that I was listening to the same thing over and over. For the most part these days this is still how I do the majority of my pacing. Instead or walking back and forth in a room, I walk back and forth over a distance of about a mile, but I do sometimes still pace in my apartment when I am home alone, and I still really enjoy it. I do not worry that my fiance will come home to find me pacing, as she is aware of my AS and my pacing habit.

Flapping- As a child in kindergarten, I often found myself being diciplined because if I were excited of frustrated in any way I would leap up out of my desk and jump up and down while flapping my hands wildly. Although I still do flap this way at times when I am alone (and therefore uninhibited), I quickly found ways to modify the behavior as not to get caught. Mostly this involved finger flapping (quickly sliding my thumb across my fingers from my little finger to my index finger). I still finger flap alot, and although I'm sure it looks strange to people if they see it, I usually hide a hand under my desk or a table.

Head Banging- By this I do not mean the self harm type, but rather simply sitting against a wall and letting my head fall back with the force of gravity and then bounce off of the wall, to me this felt very nice and prodiced a satisfying visual effect as well. I seemed to outgrow this stim sometime in the middle of high school

Hair pulling- This is one of my present favorites, I love the feel of having my hair pulled with gradually increasing force (of course not so hard that any harm is done, but probably much harder than most NTs would be able to tolerate) I do this almost nightly to help me relax and help me fall asleep. Sometimes my fiance will do if for me and combine it with some good deep pressure to my shoulders--very nice!

I'm sure there are others that I am probably not even aware of, but these are my primary ones. I'm really interested to hear what you others out there do.

-Scott (28 year old aspie and mental health therapist)



Scoots5012
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30 Jul 2004, 6:49 pm

When it comes to stimming, I seem to have a flavor of the month, right now it's verbal stimming. I give out three short bursts of tone, with the last one having to be really loud.

I also do other things too, hand flapping, sliding my legs across the sheets when I'm in bed, rocking in various positions, pacing, shaking my head when I have my headphones on, fidgeting with objects, ETC.

As with music, I do the same thing you do. I can repeat the same part of a song over and over again and not get bored. Today I managed to listen to the second chorus of ABC's "Be Near Me" for about three hours straight.


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flamingjune
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30 Jul 2004, 7:35 pm

I pace if there's no one home. I never understood why I had a terrible urge to repeatedly wander throughout the house for no reason whatsoever. It drives people nuts though, so I got used to not doing it if anyone was home.
I rock when I'm in this chair. If I'm reading something I only rock or rock and peel my lip; if I'm just sitting here spacing out I rock and hold my hand up to my ear and flick my thumbnail against the pads of my fingers to hear it.
I grab my hair and use it to shake my head back and forth. No it doesn't hurt. I press the palm of my hand to the back of my head and rub it furiously because I like the pressure and the way it sounds. I twirl my hair, pull at it, etc. I pull on my fingernails, twist my fingers in odd directions, rub my hands together - especially if I have rings on so I can hear them clink together, lace my fingers together and twist them that way. I take the pointer finger of my left hand and run it between the fingers of my right hand, all the way down then back up. I yank on my piercings, bite at my lip ring, rub my feet together… More than I can name. They rotate.
When I'm out I snap my fingers and switch from foot to foot. Not nearly as satisfying but I don't get looked at AS oddly.
When I was working at the restaurant I had a lot of really strange ones. To the point a co-worker used to joke that I had Tourette's. That should have given me a clue but it didn’t. I would tilt my head to the side and make this odd guinea pig like noise and clap my hands. I also would repeatedly kick my foot up and grab at my ankles. Gee, that job wasn't stressful or anything. It stopped being so extreme once I stopped working there.



LadyBug
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30 Jul 2004, 8:12 pm

stlf wrote:
Hair pulling- This is one of my present favorites, I love the feel of having my hair pulled with gradually increasing force (of course not so hard that any harm is done, but probably much harder than most NTs would be able to tolerate) I do this almost nightly to help me relax and help me fall asleep. Sometimes my fiance will do if for me and combine it with some good deep pressure to my shoulders--very nice!

Those all sound very nice. I'll bet this one makes your hair grow faster too! Have you tried the new Head Tingler device being sold in the Bath and Body shop? I have a friend who cries finding it painful to have the ends trimmed off her hair!


LadyBug



Ramoth
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30 Jul 2004, 11:19 pm

I am not sure what my very first stim was. I remember a number from age two or three, but the most significant must have started out with rocking that resulted in an accidental sexual experience that was extremely traumatic. It terrified me, and more than anything else, led me to the conclusion that there was something fundamentally wrong with me I engaged in that particular stim for years and years, felt driven to do it, though I was so ashamed. I won't say anything further about it here. If anyone had s similar experience, and wants to discuss it, they can private message me.

Otherwise, here are the other stims that I engaged in: Hand flapping, shaking my head from side to side, moving my tongue back and forth in my mouth to make a sound that sounded like my mom's wringer washing machine. running my index fingers back and forth over one or both of my thumbnails, moving my right foot back and forth over the bedsheet, plugging and unplugging my ears to induce shifts in sound and pressure in them, focusing on sound to hear underlying ringing, rubbing my right thumbnail over my lips, twirling and running my hair between my fingers (I felt very soothed by the smoothness), running my fingers back and forth over smooth fabrics (such as ribbon, satin and velour), fluttering my fingers in front of my eyes, repetitive sounds and phrases,rituals. there are others, but I think that I've said enough.

I don't think I'll go into those that I still do, too many, but I try to be very discreet, but when I think of it it seems overwhelming.



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31 Jul 2004, 3:51 am

I've never come across a definition of "stim" or "stimming" (I've only been diagnosed for 8 months) but I understand (mostly) what it means in context and by what others have described as their 'stims' (I assume it's short for stimulate). I've always had this habit of finger tapping, making sure I tap each fingertip the same number of times as the rest, and when I was in school I started to combine it with listening to music - grouping the notes or beats into groups of 5 (so each finger gets tapped the same number of times) even if it means tapping 2 at the same time so it'll come out even. As far back as I can remember, I've latched on to something soft (a stuffed animal, the edge of a blanket trimming, fabric) to touch and/or stroke. I've worn spots on my 'softies' threadbare, and then I need to find something new to replace it. I always had some sort of softie with me, carrying it arond with me if need be. I'm 35, and I still do the finger tapping and still have a piece of fabric or small stuffie at all times. (My therapist allows me to have something soft to touch even during sessions)



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31 Jul 2004, 5:53 am

I like hitting my own head with something resonant, usually a half-empty plastic bottle.

I like being in flowing fluids, and satisfy this preference by showering and cycling at high speeds.

Lying under a mattress and feeling the gentle pressure across my whole body calms me down.

I also like itches, and often let rashes persist for some time instead of treating them.



magic
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31 Jul 2004, 7:12 am

My stims fall into two categories:

1. Soft stims, that are calming, and I use them to deal with stress and to focus. These movements are not excedingly weird and I do them in presence of other people. Examples: shaking legs and feet, rubbing hands, flapping fingers, tapping fingers to a rhythm in my head, snapping fingers, rocking or swiveling on chairs that allow such movements, peeling my lip, fidgeting, fiddling with pens and other small objects, pulling hair, pacing (a lot), and many more.

2. Hardcore stims, that are exciting. They turn even minor happy thoughts into euphoria. Although I use them predominantly when in good mood, they come in handy in stress too. They serve me as natural anti-depressants and mood enhancers. The movements are bizarre enough that I suppress them in public and perform only when I am alone. Examples: hand flapping (usually very fast), rubbing hands (excessively), jumping up and down, stamping feet, walking (or rhytmic dancing) on toes, bizarre leg shaking when lying on bed. Stims of this category are often combined with pacing or each other, for example hand flapping with feet stamping or "toe dancing", the effect being even more weird.

Another benefit that I see in stimming is that these movements make a rather good workout and contribute to my staying fit and thin. On the other hand, I strained my ankles many times while stimming.

I have recently developed (unintentionally) another exciting stim, which consists of sticking out the tongue and moving it sideways. It is very strong, to the point of being practically involuntary (I can't stop it, even when I realize doing it). Sometimes it occurs on its own, and sometimes combines with other hardcore stims. It is rather bizarre, but I noticed that I do not block it in presence of people, which is embarassing. I try to get rid of it, but my efforts have been so far unsuccessful. (Boy, that sounds messed-up, trying to regain control over one's own tongue. :oops:)

Reading stlf's post I recalled that I indeed did some head banging in the past (hey!), similar as he described, but very light (more touching the wall than banging, really). That was definitely not a self-harming activity. I banged my head hard unintentionally many times and I do not like the feeling. Nowadays I often "bang" my head into the back of the seat (if it is high enough).



sparkplugloy
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31 Jul 2004, 7:58 am

Pacing. Walking back and forth while listening to the same music over and over is something I do. Sometimes, I do not listen to music but just "play" it inside my head.

Headbanging, shaking my head, hand flapping, or slowly rocking are also some of my habits. But I never do anything to the point that it is harmful.

Feeling a gentle pressure on the temples also calms me down. I like to feel a light pressure when I have to concentrate or fall asleep.

Loy


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stlf
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31 Jul 2004, 11:41 am

now that I'm really thinking about this, I have a ton...here are a few that nobody has mentioned yet...

very hard pressure on my fingernails...when I worked at a bank for a short time (the most boring job!) I spent a good part of my day putting those black paperclips that you squeese open on each of my fingers. One day my boss walked in and I had one on each finger of my left hand...he must have found that quite odd, but he just left without saying anything.

rolling my eyes as far back into my head as I can...when I was in college I did this a lot. When several friends asked my why I did it I told them that it was because I was a zombie priest. They never asked again.



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31 Jul 2004, 2:10 pm

Sometimes I tap my fingers. I play piano, which I find fun as a stimulatory thing as well as a creative thing. Anyway, sometimes I'll tap my fingers in various musical intervals and imagine the sound as if I were actually playing (I'm pretty good at playing by ear).

I tend to tap my feet a lot. Sometimes I clench my hands. And I stretch a lot.



CockneyRebel
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31 Jul 2004, 2:43 pm

I enjoy ringning my hands :lol:



shellfd
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31 Jul 2004, 2:55 pm

Ramoth,
one of my sons stims is shaking his head back and forth- he is 4. If I try to do it as fast as he ( which I can not, just shaking it back and forth) it gives me a headache-
when you do this, how does it make you feel????

Also, here are some of his other stims: slapping his cheeks while making weird noises, hitting his head with objects (videos, going under the table and standing up, etc...), banging his head on a wooden chair, pinching his fingers, moving his tounge back in forth his mouth,
going upside down on the couch ( I think this helps him organize)

he had others that he does not do anymore- that I am aware.
Michele



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31 Jul 2004, 3:27 pm

heel-bouncing/ leg twitch/shake- this usually starts subconciously but most of the time I can stop it (it really annoys people) I cant remember when this started.


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Unico
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31 Jul 2004, 7:13 pm

1. coloring, I've done this since I was three and I do it many times a day (I move my fingers/hands/arms in a way to color what I'm perceiving physically or internally; I try to imprint things on my memory this way); sometimes I end up shaking and very rigid

2. biting my fingernails (also a long-time habit)

3. rubbing my arms and/or hands

4. rocking

5. I also often bounce in place and do various twitchy things; I am rarely still unless I'm very self-conscious



magic
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31 Jul 2004, 7:19 pm

Unico wrote:
1. coloring, I've done this since I was three and I do it many times a day (I move my fingers/hands/arms in a way to color what I'm perceiving physically or internally; I try to imprint things on my memory this way); sometimes I end up shaking and very rigid

Unico, this seems like quite an unusual activity. Can you describe it in more details? I am curious how it works. Does it involve any sort of synaesthesia? Thanks!