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Fidgeting during session

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LucyLou

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Had session this morning. Last week was a bit rubbish but I've been doing better this week. She asked if I thought it'd be easier to go into the hard stuff whilst I was feeling ok....I said i didnt want to go back to how i was feeling last week. We spoke about my twin brother though and how, apart from my aunts funeral, I haven't seen him in 4 years and I have a niece I've never met and I'm not even sure why. Why he has cut himself off from the rest of the family the way he has....I said how I sometimes maybe wondered if he knew more than I thought about the ab*se and that's why he's doing his own thing....but at the funeral, he was speaking to everyone as normal....like there was no issue, so I don't know. I don't get it.
Do you ever fidget with stuff mid session, without even realising? I have a clicker thing on my water bottle and as soon as my brothers came up, I started messing with my clicker and I didn't realise at the time....therapist pointed it out she doesn't know it was my brothers....but maybe the clicker thing tells her it was? Oops
 
Yep. I fidget loads. And I'm pleased in a way that my therapy remains online so my T can't see how much I fidget. I wasn't aware of it generally either. It started as me wringing my hands. But now I have a little felt mat ready to fidget with all the way through or as and when needed. Something tactile to sooth I think.

I think it's very common to start fidgeting when speaking about difficult things.

It helps now as I'm aware that when I do it, it means what we are talking about is difficult. Like a couple of weeks ago, it was only when I felt my nails digging into the palms of my hands did I realise my fists were clenched like that and then that I needed to stop the conversation we were having as it was too hard.

So using the amount of fidgeting and what you're doing with yourself as a guide to how the conversation is impacting you.
 
Early on in therapy I used to literally sit on my hands, but was fighting a loosing battle and now just embrace fidgeting as part and parcel of the session. I struggle just being in the room, so my hands are moving/ in a fist the whole time I'm there. I've collected an assortment of 'stuff' to fidgit with, tint plushies/ cord bracelets/ rings etc. My T will give me stuff to hold too, like a teddy or a blanket to fiddle with. If it helps talk about stuff, I think it's a safe and useful tool, when it starts to be too much, then it's ok to press the breaks a bit.
 
Fidget spinners. Awesome invention!

I often fold origami paper planes.

Making a grounding kit can actually be a fun exercise in self compassion. Tailoring it to things that actively work for you personally.

I used to do a trauma day program, and the whole group would file into a room at the start of the day with an assortment of fidget-fun options already laid out along the tables. The variety was pretty amazing - different people connect with different stuff. But it was incredibly effective.

Without that stuff, many of the folks wouldn’t have made it more than 10 minutes in that room. And many would have started chewing their nails, or pulling their hair, or… So if you need to fidget? Have some fun discovering small things you can take with you to help you regulate yourself in stressful situations:)
 
I have ADHD, so I have fidgeting down to an artform. 20 years of annoying the ever loving f*ck outta people by needing to be in constant motion will teach even the slowest of us how to get the AHHHHHH I CAN THINK/BREATHE/FEEL AGAIN that’s denied by remaining still, without other people noticing. 😎 (hint: fine motor, instead of gross motor & generally accepted activities that imply a person “should” be moving, make your movements invisible to others.)

Enter trauma/trauma therapy? f*ck. It’s like being a kid again, with my body moving without my being aware of it, and wild emotional/physical pairings. (None of my trauma was in my childhood, it’s just that I don’t have innate control over things, like movement, most people do. I have to have conscious control, instead.) PTSD Dysreg + ADHD Impulse control issues? Thwibbbt. Annoying, obnoxious, vexing. But also useful.

One thing to keep in mind? Movement is self soothing. It’s why people whose sensory input channels are wide open (ADHD, Autism, SPD, etc.) use movement, stimming, etc. just as part of our/their daily lives. It’s why people in distress rock back and forth, or press/roll prayer beads on those highly enervated fingertips. It’s why biting nails, twirling or raking fingers through your hair, drumming fingers, tapping or stamping your feet, are signs of stress, anxiety, or youth.

Trauma therapy? Is eyeballs deep in stress. It’s actually a good sign that bodies are attempting to self-regulate / self-soothe.
 
Yes, I fidget a lot in sessions - especially when we are diving into more uncomfortable stuff, or when I’m feeling anxious, or when I am struggling to concentrate.

I think fidgeting can discharge anxiety and be a way to self-sooth so it can be useful.

I do therapy online and I have a selection of fidget toys on my desk. I quite like clicky fidget toys as I find the sound quite satisfying. But they are not very discreet and I know my therapist is easily distracted by sound. So, I try to reach for the quieter ones for therapy sessions! I really like pop/bubble fidget toys.
 
I have a snake thing that’s a fidget toy. it has links that click 3 directions but I like it because a couple of its links are super soft, barely making a sound. When all is good it helps dissipate the energy that builds during a session. When things are harder sometimes I use the clicking parts. I also have ADHD but generally I don’t need things like that. when I first started bringing it to sessions I was super self conscious about it. I did ask my T if it bothered him at all and he said no. I’ve checked in other times but he’s always said it was not an issue for him.

I’ve asked him since it’s become my, I can’t function without it item if he secretly likes that I bring it. He said he does. I’m super hard to read and even when I’m sending out a signal he’s said my words don’t match my body cues. However when we’re not doing EMDR so I have my fidget the way I fidget is different when I’m distressed and I stop fidgeting when I’ve reached my limit, so its my early signal that if we keep going dissociating will be the result. I have a lag time with noticing I’m about to shut down and by then it’s too late. So the fidget has been great for me.
 
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