Hello to my ADHD peeps and ADHD loved ones living with ADHD today we are going to talk a little bit about working with fidgeting and determining if a fidget is something that is beneficial or if a fidget is something that is causing more distraction then it should be. In our last post we talked a little bit about what a fidget is, if you ended up missing that I will link it right here.
Most people have heard of things like fidget spinners and seen them in action, but why do they work and are they beneficial or just a hassle inside the classroom. For kids that don’t have ADHD they may be an item that is part of a fad and the new thing that everyone has to have, but for people with ADHD and autism these can be items that can relieve stress, anxiety or even PTSD symptoms.
If you are living with ADHD I don’t have to tell you that your mind can end up wandering and if you are like me our fidgets that we used to do in class used to get us in trouble. My big one that I have done all my life is the patented leg tap. I will do a leg tap whenever I am bored, or in a more stressful situation. This means that during tests I would start tapping my foot and this in turn would make a noise that teachers did not appreciate. I talked about this in the last post, and I have to say it is extremely embarrassing to be called out, especially when being called out causes you more anxiety which leads to more use of the fidget. A quiet fidget can help alleviate these issues because it allows you to alleviate that anxiety while not making a loud distraction that calls attention to yourself.
If you don’t currently live with ADHD I have an example that may resonate a little bit better for you. Have you ever sat in a class or at work and ended up getting bored and started doodling on paper? This is a similar concept, but now magnify that and experience that boredom every single minute and every single day. A lot of people joke that people with ADHD have more thoughts before breakfast than most people have in an entire day. That has a basis of truth, a lot of those thoughts are not coherent, but the number of thoughts that I have in the morning just hit me like rapid fire. This is why if I have a really great idea in the morning, I will immediately go write it down or type it on my computer because just as quick as it came the idea will leave me. If that isn’t enough for you, have you ever sat back and clicked a ball point pen on a desk over and didn’t really understand why you were doing it. You were fidgeting. (Boom mind blown)
All of that is a little bit off subject, but the point is fidgeting can be a great help and that is because these thoughts hit us like rapid fire and it is extremely easy to get off subject when we are sitting around and listening to a teacher or a boss that just won’t stop talking. This fidget increases your alertness because it ends up occupying parts of your brain that typically get distracted by random thoughts.
Just as something can be good there are deleterious effects of a fidget at the same time. One of the things with a fidget is how much does it allow you to focus. It is easy to get too caught up with the fidget and start paying attention to it more than you pay attention to what is going on in front of you. A good fidget is simple and not complex and that is why something like a fidget spinner became so popular because it doesn’t require a lot of your attention. I personally use a small ring. It comes with three rings and you can spin them around one another, but I personally like using just one ring and spinning that around my one finger. The reason I like that is because it doesn’t make a lot of noise and it doesn’t require me to look down because I can feel it moving while I am doing my studying. Once it stops and I notice it I will end up spinning it again. This doesn’t occupy a lot of my brain because I just do it whenever I realize again that it is not moving.
The biggest thing with fidgeting is to find what works for you. Look at multiple tools that are available to find what works. One nice thing about online shopping is you can order several cheap products and then once you find something you like you can invest in a better-quality item. As I mentioned I use fidget rings, some other tools include fidget spinners, push-pop bubble fidget toys, stress balls, interlaced rings, or peas you can pop out of a pod. These are only a few examples of the many things available out there.
I will give a little bit more insight on fidgeting that is more relatable. Interviewing for anything is nerve racking, but medical school interviews are an entirely different beast. You are fully dressed up and every single word you say is going to be fully analyzed. They will ask you about your research, schooling, and volunteering as well as typical interview questions like why you want to be a doctor. An adequate answer is not just ‘because I want to help people’, even though that’s why we do most anything before getting into medical school. You really have to come up with some strong answers and open up. The key of the interview is being vulnerable and separating yourself from the others. As a person with ADHD this is something that is outrageously difficult for me. I don’t just open up to people, the only people that I typically open up to are the ones that are very close to me. This means that before you go in your anxiety is at an all-time high because you have to hope what you say paints you in a good light and doesn’t paint you as a weirdo that doesn’t belong. In a typical case I would have my leg bouncing during all of this, but my mom taught me a trick that helps her. This trick is to twirl a paperclip in your hands. This trick is not noticeable, but it allows you to get a nervous tick out without exposing it. This is an extremely effective use of fidgeting because it relieves stress and does it without drawing attention to yourself. I used this trick for every one of my interviews and was very successful.
I hope that this gives a little bit of information about fidgeting and describes some of the benefits and some possible downfalls that are caused by fidgeting. If you have a kid that has ADHD and they are used to fidgeting with something like a spinner make sure to have extras. It is really easy to misplace a fidget spinner and completely ruin your whole day, but if you have an extra it will ease that stress and cause a dopamine burst that will be highly appreciated.
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