Allowing Myself To Stim

For some socializing is energizing, for me it is exhausting. I seem to always forget this. Now, it depends on what type of socializing that I am doing and how much of it I am doing. I used to find myself some days completely exhausted coming home from work and thinking, I didn’t really do a lot except sit at my desk. I would then feel badly because I was unable to do after work socializing. I would have to go home and I would collapse. Many times I would be just too tired to eat, then lay in my bed in the dark with my music playing and my cats surrounding me.

Recently, Lisa Aka: “AlienHippy” said something that really hit home.

She said “Allow yourself to be Autistic…just as you know that an Autistic child needs to release, we do too.” When I read that I had an A’ha” moment. I have tried to cover up my autistic behaviors for so long that I didn’t even realize that I was doing it. One thing I use to stim, is music. Listening to music is one of the things I have done my entire life, it is a huge part on both sides of my family. It has saturated my thoughts and when I listen to it, it brings me peace and helps my loops. I see things when I listen to music. I see spiraling colors, flashes of lights, words dancing, visions and movies. They can be movies replaying from my past or just what I am feeling or seeing as I listen to the song.

I feel instruments through my body.

I think this helps with my sensory issues and anxiety. When I used to go to church, work, and other social outings, I would listen to my music at home and then while in the car, to prepare. I would have it as loud as possible and away I would go. My hands move to the music and I have learned to stop them. They move to streamers and swirls or the visions that I see. That is what happens when I dance, which used be another stim for me. My body will move to the music as I see it play out in my head. When I was in churches that allowed this it was very freeing. But mostly, I had to hide my hands moving or my body flowing with the music. I suppose work would not be the most appropriate place anyway. :-)

I used to leave my work places a lot for lunch when I felt overwhelmed.

I would go to a music store for my hour and just listen to music, sometimes forgetting to eat. When the children were born I had to stop. I could no longer listen to music loudly or dance. I also got frustrated with music. I had cut off any “secular” music and limited myself to only Christian, while I did find some great and very versatile music, it was not working. It all started to sound the same and even when I tried to listen to other music, it all sounded the same. They all seemed to have no depth, no richness in their lyrics or in their ability to play. I finally had to eliminate all of my music in the house anyway because Daniel started to have serious meltdowns. I am not sure why, I had to limit music to his children Bible songs.

I lost and hid some of my coping mechanisms.

Music was my main source of stimming my whole life. When Lisa shared that with me, I let myself go. I sat back listened to the song she had sent and did not control my body or my hands. Off they went. Spinning and twirling fingers, rocking body, bouncing feet. I sang again. I got really frustrated several years ago because I could no longer play my guitar. It hurts my hands too much and my fingers would cramp for days. I was not that great but it was an outlet, that I can no longer have.

When I realized that I had stopped myself from stimming, I understood my exhaustion.

I do have many stims but some I have stopped because of feeling foolish or from people looking at me oddly. Feeling music happens to be the one that is most infused in me. I allow my kids to do what they need to do and I need to allow myself as well. It is hard, it’s another vulnerable thing even though people may not be around. I dance, sing, do my finger twirls and spins when I am at stores. I do not realize it until someone else makes it known to me, by presence, words or looks, I then I try to stop myself, depending on how vulnerable I feel. Some days I do not care, others days I feel like crying because I feel so silly.

I see how I can get exhausted socially, I am spending so much energy trying to stop myself.

There are other factors as well but I think allowing myself to do what I need to do, will help a bit with my social environment. I use gum to help me in public, I have always chewed gum, even as a little child. It got me in a lot of trouble during school, so I learned to hide it well. The last few years they have changed the formulas for gum, they contain things that make me feel dizzy or see black dots and has set off my vertigo at times. I lost that one too, I still have one gum that I can chew but it is too sweet and I do not like the feel that it leaves on my teeth. I have to limit it. Those are the ones that I know have helped me but I think I will have to allow myself to find those stims that I lost or discover how to let myself be free enough to do what comes out naturally.

Well I guess I am off to more freedom.


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5 thoughts on “Allowing Myself To Stim

  1. Alienhippy

    Hello my friend,
    I’m so glad you are allowing yourself to be you.
    Who you are is amazing Angel, this world needs lovelies like you.
    I know what you mean about feeling silly, I do too.
    That’s why I have a time each day just for me to be me with God.
    I chew gum all the time, sorry they changed yours that’s a bummer.
    You know what though, God will help you find new ways.
    Just as He helps us find new songs. :)
    Thinking of you, praying for you.
    Love you LOADS and LOADS.
    Lisa. xxx :)

  2. Angel Post author


    I have had a good couple of days with this. Just letting me be me. Part of my problem, I discovered is being vulnerable with myself. Who would have thought. I am afraid of me. I remember one time, several years ago, I went to a retreat weekend called “Seeking God”. The whole experience was based on dealing with deep rooted issues, fears, just discovering more of God and trying to find what may hold you back from being free in areas.

    I remember the whole time I was terrified of myself. I had so many thoughts and questions. What if I unlocked things that I didn’t want to come out? What if there were all of things about me that were wrong and I was not who I thought I was? What if I was demon possessed??? Ok, well I didn’t really think that, but the thought did cross my mind. :-) I wasn’t afraid of sharing with God or sharing my issues with people, I just did not want to be alone in my thoughts. I could share, if it helped others but if it was to help me I would shut down.

    I am still doing this. The last several days I have allowed myself to share my thoughts alone and I still feel those fears. It is hard to be still with myself. If I am rambling away to someone else or to God I am fine but looking in the mirror of my spirit scares me sometimes. I think it’s because I have so disconnected from myself, to protect me from the things that I thought were wrong or the things that hurt, that I feel lost in who I am in a way. I am feeling a whole new experience of understanding me. As I shared with in the post about layers, I tend to rip off things because I want to discover the truth as quickly as possible, but I do not think of the consequences of the impact on others or myself. I am left with the space that is the scary part of me that I do not know. I have to deal with the removal of the layer and sometimes that requires me having to get to know myself. The thought of that, to me is a scary one. Does that makes sense?

    New song being made…..

    Thank you for praying and all of the love!!

    Now I was too serious and I am freaking myself out! Zap! Zowie! Zoinks. Platt! I’ve got to run around and case my cat!! 8-D

  3. Alienhippy

    Just keep being who you are Angel, my lovely friend.
    You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
    God loves us EXACTLY as we are, so we need to love what he creates.
    Stuff society, what has it ever given to us.
    People will think what people will think.
    At the end of the day we are All blessed to be ourselves.
    So…my friend,
    Let us keep…Listening through the Loops
    Hearing Aspie-happy, Seeking Multi coloured Rainbows, turning negativity upside down.
    AND…one day we will find our Inner-Shirley.
    Love you LOADS and LOADS.
    Lees. xxx :)

  4. Aspergirl Maybe

    I love to dance madly but often stop myself even when I am alone – I feel so self-conscious about it, like I am being childish. I have to sort of turn off that part of my brain and just allow myself to move however I want.

    I was at an autism conference once, and the keynote speaker was a man who has autism. He had everyone in the audience flap their hands just to see what it was like, and then he said, “Feels good, doesn’t it?” The boy next to me was a teenager on the spectrum, and he had been fidgeting and moving his hands around but keeping them low so as not to distract anybody, but his face lit up with a big smile and he raised his arms and flapped vigorously when the speaker gave us the little exercise. :)

  5. Angel Post author

    Hi AM,

    I think sometimes we all just need to turn off that part of the brain and dance madly! I am hoping to get better with that.

    What a great exercise to do with everyone. It does feel good to do some hand flapping! :-)

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