It’s much easier for me to be inspired to write about what I’m currently working on than to write about what I have finished.
“I never look back, it distracts from the NOW”– Edna Mode.
But there is so much I have made while not writing that I’d like to figure out a way to harness the excitement of the now to that which has passed.
So, let’s try this. We’ll got on the journey of my day or my current endeavors and then endcap it all with at least one finished project. Perhaps the two things will relate…perhaps they won’t.
It’s summer vacation but I had some school-related work today.
This week I go to Jr High schools in the mornings to assist students with English speech contest practice. Today turned out to be a light work-load. We worked with one student in the morning until 9:20 and then had to wait for a second student at 11AM. Between these time slots the English teacher I worked with and I made sample recordings of me reading various speeches for students to use for practicing.
Recording didn’t take long. The English teacher I was working with and I sat and talked until 11AM.
We ended up talking a bit about ADHD. I disclosed I had it and she, having read up on it a lot, had asked questions to try to understand why some of her students with ADHD DO the things they do…one example was a student who tries to cut their nails with craft scissors while class is in session. Which made PERFECT sense to my mind.
Like people on the autism spectrum, folks with ADHD often stim. Stimming is any repetitive actions that help a person self-stimulate their senses: auditory, visual, tactile, and even olfactory. Stimming behaviors relieve boredom/anxiety or distract from pain / discomfort while also burning off excess energy.
The urge to stim is NOT going to go away with a teacher or parent telling a child to stop the behavior. The underlying anxiety, boredom pain or discomfort that is triggering the need to stim hasn’t gone away. Stopping the coping mechanism may actually elevate the anxiety. Even if it doesn’t, the absence of the stimming will make the underlying discomfort hit even harder.
I’ve always fidgeted with my hands. It wasn’t strange for me, from elementary school through high school, to have art projects WITH me at my desk. Finger knitting. Origami. Drawing. Filing hard wax rings for lost wax casting. Building wax figures. Using needle nose pliers to manipulate wire into 3-d objects.
Because of the specific public schools I went to this the reaction to this varied. I was occasionally seen as a problem in elementary school (depending on the teacher), it helped mark me as a bad student all through middle school, and was tolerated in high school because I could quickly demonstrate my understanding of the class topic when challenged…and my high school cared about art. It wasn’t an issue in college because I went to an art school where I was either making things or taking liberal arts classes I had a genuine interest in.
My schools were NOT Japanese schools
I know how strict Japanese schools are about students not having objects unrelated to class out on desks or in hands. I’ve seen how quickly stimming that bothers others (humming, tapping the desk, clicking pens) gets shut down (although that’s the same in America). Often students only have the option of stimming with hands, bodies (quietly) or staring at a particular object or thing in motion.
So what’s with the cutting nails in class?
Take my hands. I didn’t need to be told to frequently massage my surgery scar to help break up the scar tissue and aid in mobility. That scar is on my hand and I can feel it
To stim I tend mindlessly rub the pad of my thumbs over the fingertips and nails of the same hand. If my hands and fingernails are smooth, no hangnails or scabs or jagged nails or chipping nail polish, it’s possible to focus on something else while my fingers and hands do what they need to do. When that smooth surface is compromised OH BOY.
The interruption of my hand movements by an unfamiliar or unpleasant sensation can quickly change my stimming to an intense fixation. That jagged nail is now the center of my world.
ADHD people are not deficient in attention. We’ve got SO MUCH energy to pour at things. We have a deficit in the ability to regulate where and how our attention is focused.
A jagged nail interrupts the motion that was alleviating my anxiety/boredom ( and allowing me to focus on the task I needed to tend to). As that stim is removed, and the underlying mental noise pours in, that jagged nail presents as the thing to intensely fixate on. If I didn’t have ADHD I could simply note that I’ll have to clip my nails later….but I have ADHD. I can’t quickly and quietly regulate my focus back onto the task at hand.
Now that I’m on Strattera (a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor that helps me with my dopamine levels) I can better recognize that I an fixating on something and work at how to redirect that focus.
Even on Straterra I sometimes will not be able to refocus without first removing/dealing with the new fixation issue. I might automatically surreptitiously try and rip that jagged edge with a fingernail. During a dull meeting I WILL have to fight the urge to dip my hand into my desk and grab some scissors even though I know how socially unacceptable it is and how ineffective a tool craft scissors are for the task.
I’m an adult on medication. The average neurotypical child is going to have a worse time fighting impulses. The average child with ADHD? Even one on medication (which is hard being dosages and medication have to be adjusted as they grow) that is helping with the larger issues will have a very VERY difficult time refocusing until the fixation is eliminated.
And that’s why the craft scissors are out, in class, going for that nail. That child knows that until the issue is dealt with they will be emotionally and physically unable to do anything else. They might also know they’ll be in trouble but that won’t stop them, it’ll simply make them try and hide it…and they’ll feel like a failure if they are caught and chastized. Knowing the consequences isn’t enough to stop all impulses.
That’s my dance everyday. The tango of temptations with an ever changing irregular rhythm of regulation thrumming under it all.
Little Pullip to Edna Mode.
If you can’t link Edna Mode to the speaking habits, intense focus, delight in a new challenge and ever gesticulating personality of someone with Impulsive/Hyperactive type of ADHD…that is on YOU.
- removed wig and makeup
- replaced stock Little Pullip body with a more posable 11cm Obitsu body.
- scultpted onto face with apoxie scupt.
- repainted face
- Doll wig from Parabox.
- Shrinky-dink glasses
- sewed outfit with black cloth, black ribbon, and pink ribbon.
- bought tiny tights and shoes from Azone.