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June 15, 2012 2:40 AM Subscribe
I need to stop fidgeting. How? Help!
posted by guessthis to health & fitness (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
For as long as I can remember I have been a fidgeter. I don't have one particular 'brand' of fidget, rather I cycle through many throughout the course of the day: twirling my hair, picking my cuticles, cracking my jaw, etc. repeat ad infinitum. It feels like this fidgeting is constant, to the point where it's really starting to bother me.
I have also had OCD for as long as I can remember, and struggle with anxiety. OCD plus fidgeting makes it really difficult for me to stop. For example, I have hair which is mostly smooth but with some coarse hairs (I used to pull my hair out as a child). I spend huge portions of each day, while I am working, sort of combing my scalp looking for the coarse hairs. When I find one I feel a sort of temporary soothing peace, and something like a moment of bliss when I pull it out. I don't want to pull my hair out and I am much better at not doing so these days, but I don't get the satisfaction of pulling the hair out, and so I feel like I have to keep searching for more and more of them.
I have read suggestions in other threads about finding something else to do with your hands, e.g. coin tricks or knitting. But this is not really feasible for me because I fidget constantly. I do it with one hand while I'm using the mouse or stirring the soup or whatever with my other hand. If both hands are occupied my feet start moving.
I am also someone who gets distracted really easily, and somehow this feels related to the fidgeting. Often when I fidget I find I've lost concentration on the task at hand and I'm thinking about something else - usually worrying. I consciously try to take in my surroundings as I walk down the street, but I inevitably turn inwards soon enough, and sure enough, I realise I'm fidgeting. When I walk I often listen to music, and I find that it's difficult for me to listen to a whole song, or any song other than a handful of really catchy songs with big beats, even though I feel like I want to enjoy the many other tracks in my library - I skip through them really quickly and just pushing the buttons to skip feels like a form of fidget too. During conversations I can quite easily stop paying attention, even though I look like I am - my fingers start moving and my brain does too, even though I WANT to listen! It's tiring. I feel like I can't focus and I miss a whole lot because of this problem. It's hard to follow verbal instructions, and my spacial awareness is crap because I'm so often in my head and worrying my hands instead of looking and noticing.
I am in therapy, classic psychoanalytic style. I feel like therapy has helped me a lot, though it has been sloooow going. My therapist knows about my OCD - we have discussed my problems with constantly checking faucets and ovens and avoiding cracks and all that - but it hasn't really been the focus of our sessions, and hasn't been treated in any practical way. The OCD compulsions have definitely reduced since therapy started two years ago, but haven't gone away. The fidgeting is the same as ever.
I'm not on any medication other than birth control. My caffeine intake is pretty low, usually one cup of coffee a day.
Anything you can suggest that might help? Thanks heaps.