I noticed there's not a thread on here about stimming. (Self-stimulation).
First of all, "stimming" is defined as "Repetitive, stereotyped behaviors whose sole purpose appears to be to stimulate ones own senses." It is common for behaviors like pen tapping, foot tapping, hair chewing, nail biting, teeth grinding, rocking, feeling objects, placing objects in mouth, etc. to become an obsessive preoccupation for individuals with Autism.
I bring this up because to my knowledge, I have no form of Autism, yet I have recently found myself exhibiting behaviors that I have been present throughout my entire life and have identified them as stimming.
Now, we all exhibit this type of behavior from time to time when we get bored or stressed, but there are things that are ever-present in my behavior that I would like to talk about that classify as stimming and serve the same purpose.
There are several ways to classify stimulating behaviors:
Excitatory (stimulating) or
Inhibitory (calming). Both have the result of self-regulating sensory input and manage sensory integration dysfunction.
They appeal to various senses:
Visual – staring at lights, blinking, gazing at fingers, lining up objects
Auditory – tapping fingers, snapping fingers, grunting, humming
Smell – smelling objects, sniffing people
Taste – licking objects, placing objects in mouth
Tactile – scratching, clapping, feeling objects nail biting, hair twisting, toe-walking
Vestibular – rocking, spinning, jumping, pacing
Proprioception – teeth grinding, pacing, jumping
There's much more on this that can be covered, but I wanted to just give an introductory explanation of what stimming is so this thread can be better understood.
I have been exhibiting visual, smell, taste, and tactile stimming as part of not only my regression, but as part of my adult life as well (in which I regress frequently in many ways).
In this picture I am demonstrating the behavior that I am about to explain. I am holding in my hand something I refer to as a "silkie." It is a piece of satin blanket binding that, in conjunction with thumb-sucking, i rub between my fingers and against my upper-lip (and smell constantly) to achieve a calming effect. I keep it washed with Dreft baby detergent regularly so it maintains the olfactory stimulus I seek for catharsis.
I'll break it down:
Visual: Watching my fingers twirling my silkie, obsessively.
Smell: Smelling the Dreft fragrance on my silkie while it's against my upper-lip.
Taste: Sucking my thumb.
Tactile: Feeling the smooth, cool satin in my fingers or against my upper-lip/nose.
It doesn't matter what I'm doing, whether it be watching TV, cuddling with Mommy, hanging out with my brothers, driving my car, or shopping. I am usually sucking my thumb and playing with my silkie.
Because it's something I find myself doing absent-mindedly and obsessively, it gets in the way of things I enjoy doing, such as playing video games or practicing the guitar. While fully aware of this impediment of sorts, I don't choose to take action toward changing this behavior because I enjoy it far more than playing video games and playing the guitar. It keeps me calm and collected. It keeps me from craving things I shouldn't have.
It may sound unusual reading a break-down of this type of behavior, but I don't think it's weird in any way. Seldom-seen, yes, but not weird or extremely unusual. For me, it's constant positive stimulus no matter what I'm doing. I feel that rather than taking away from my experiences, it enhances them.
What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you exhibit any of these or any other behaviors that may fit this description?