Bodily Sensations

Just a warning, this post might get kind of gross. I will talk about some bodily functions and physical sensations in detail. If you are one of those types who don’t like things like that, then maybe skip this one.

I have mentioned this before, but I have never really felt fully connected to my own body. Somehow I made it 24 years before realizing that most people didn’t feel that way. I see myself as a collection of thoughts rather than a physical being. I still get very upset by mirrors because the thing I see in a mirror has never matched what I feel that I look like on the inside. For a while, I kept my mirrors covered up because I couldn’t stand to look at them. I still get very disturbed by my own reflection in random things and will move away to avoid having to look at my reflection in a window or tv screen.

Because of this loose connection that I feel to my body, I have had lots of weird sensations that other people seem to just understand and get naturally.

My first headache was an interesting endeavor. I remember being so very confused by the headache, having never experienced it before, and having no vocabulary to use for it. It felt like there was a loud siren blaring in my head and everything around me, everything in the real world felt muted by that siren. But no one else could hear the siren, I asked them several times. Eventually the siren changed into more of a weight that was pulling my brain and my head down, making it hard to move, making it hard to think. That was when I lost it and began to throw a fit. The headache got worse as I was crying, and it felt like my brain was caught in a fan. You know, one of those fans where you can take off the cover and put your hand inside the spinning blade. Only my brain was in there and I couldn’t take it out. I think after a while of me screaming about that the school nurse finally figured it out and gave me some medicine for the headache, it felt like it took her years to help me.

When I was a little kid, I remember having diarrhea for the first and yelling and screaming for my mom because I was certain that I was dying. It felt like my intestines were falling out and I was going to die from loss of blood, I was too terrified to look and see that there were no intestines involved. I remember screaming so much and my mom just telling me to calm down it was going to be over soon, but I was solidly convinced that I would die or that I would feel this way forever. I still would describe diarrhea in the same way, but now at least I have proven that it can be survived.

 

When I was younger I used to throw up a lot. I guess maybe that’s something most kids do? I don’t really know. I wasn’t sick very often, but I threw up a lot. Not that I made myself throw up, because it still is one of the worst feelings. Being a young scientist, I noticed that every time I was sick, the Labyrinth was one tv. So I began to believe that the Labyrinth made me sick, maybe not too far off from the truth. The stunning visage of David Bowie can be upsetting to young stomachs. But it got to a point where one time the movie was on tv and I threw up once I saw it, just like Pavlov’s dog. Anyways, throwing up was a fun experience the first time. I remember feeling so sick, and feeling like diarrhea was going to happen. That awful feeling of lava burrowing it’s way inside your body and destroying your insides as it tries to work its way out of you. The feeling that you have a hurricane raging inside your stomach and it is trying to get out as fast as it can. Now I know that most people call that nausea.

Throwing up always starts with nausea, but gets much worse. Throwing up involves the rest of the body tensing as it gets ready to disembowel itself in reverse. There is usually a cold sweat that breaks out, vision will blur slightly around the edges, and then hands will start to shake. That was always my sign, I knew that once my hand started to shake, that I had about 20 seconds before touchdown. I used to feel nauseous a lot in school and would constantly check my hand so I knew when to bolt out of the classroom. Then the throwing up progresses into the burping stage, lulling you into a false sense of security by making you think that it’s only a big burp. Maybe that lowers your guard a little, makes you feel a little bit better and think about going back to whatever you were doing. But then, it happens. The first time that I threw up, I was again solidly convinced that I was dying. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t really move, and every part of my body hurt. I couldn’t even scream or cry because I was too busy throwing up. I remember my mom telling me that it was ok, and I just cussed her out and said she had no idea how bad this was and I was definitely dying. I was a pretty strange little child I suppose. But I didn’t die, I survived throwing up and many times since then. Still to this day, I keep a mental count of how long it has been since I threw up. As of today, it has been 1 year and 17 days.

Another thing that I face frequently is the bi-annual sinus infection. I get allergies really badly about twice a year and that always leads to a sinus infection. I have gotten really good at recognizing this process, and I have collected enough data to make a theory. Sinus infections, at least for me, tend to be over pretty fast. Day 1 is the throat day. It starts with a sore throat and maybe a light headache, not too bad yet. Day 2 will be congestion day, where I can’t breathe very well and ears are constantly popping every few minutes. I hate congestion, it is one of the worst feelings out there. Congestion feels like there is a balloon inside your head that is being constantly inflated, smashing your brain and insides around as it pushes them out of its way. Day 3 is body aches. This day is by far the worst; this is the day that I will call in sick for every time it happens. Body aches feel like there is a massive force of gravity that is somehow bearing down on you no matter where you go or what you do. Every nerve in the body in sensitive to this gravity as it tries to flatten you into a little pancake. Day 4 is coughing day, and then the sinus infection is gone. Only one time has that pattern been broken.

As a side note: Why is kissing so popular? I have never kissed someone and felt good about it. Lips are weird and slimy and kisses are awkward and wet for some reason. I had my first kiss at 14, we were at a Brave Combo concert (so proud of that fact, you should look up this band if you don’t know them…they are legendary) and had climbed up a tree to see the band, and of course wound up kissing. Because what else do teenagers do in a tree at a polka concert? It was an awful kiss, and we both agreed to never do that again. I held my end of the bargain, but they got mad at me for that later. Anyways, I have kissed many other people since then (well not that many but you know…enough people). All of them were weird and uncomfortable. I don’t get why most people seem to enjoy kissing. What is so romantic about rubbing your weird lips on someone else’s? Lips are just a weird part of the body, like a knee. Have you ever really looked at a knee? It’s a very odd looking piece of meat and bone, far weirder than a joint should be.

Ok, I think that’s enough for now. I definitely have many more gross descriptions, so you can look forward to those at a later time.

Stimming

Stimming is pretty awesome. I think everyone should do it. I have apparently been doing it almost constantly for my entire life, but only recently learned that it is called stimming. Stimming is basically self-stimulating. It can be anything really, anything that you do yourself that can keep or hold your interest.

For me, stimming usually manifests as spinning things around that are near me. I will spin my phone, my watch, pencils, binders, and laptops, anything that is small enough to be spun. Anyone that knows me will probably notice that I constantly spin around my ring that I wear. That is precisely why I wear the thing. It is an endless source of mild background entertainment. Ironically, I started wearing the ring as a reminder to ‘act more civilized (normal)’ while I am out in public. I never wear the at home, it comes off as soon as I enter the door. Anyway, the ring isn’t a bad thing entirely. I wear a spinner ring, and that’s what they are made for. Most people just assume that I am really nervous or jazzed up on too much coffee, both of which are usually true at all times.

I also really enjoy making knots out of my fingers – this one is a bit weird and hard to explain. I find it very satisfying to make patterns with fingers, especially if I can make symmetric patterns, and even better if I can make a pattern that exposes the nice soft skin of the second knuckle. Yeah, like I said, this one is a bit weird. I make a concerted effort not to do this one in public ever unless I am about to have a breakdown and have to distract myself from something.

I tap my fingers a lot. I try to make rhythms and patterns, but mostly I am trying to see how fast I can tap in a row. I will make symmetric patterns such as 1234 Bass 4321. The thumb counts as bass here, try it. If you tap your fingers and then your thumb, it sounds like a really cool bass drum. You can also get a totally different sound effect if you tap your fingernails instead of the fleshy pads at the fingertips. There is a whole art and science to finger tapping; I bet you have never even thought about it before. There is endless entertainment waiting at your fingertips (pun intended).

Sometimes, I will start a new stim without even realizing it. One day a few years ago, I started blowing bubbles out of nowhere. Now it’s pretty much automatic that if I am trying to think, I start to blow bubbles. That one annoys the crap out of me, because it’s really embarrassing and not something adults do.

While I was in college, I used to constantly move my eyebrows up and down while squinting. I liked the way it felt on my eye, it kind of scratches the underside of the corner of the eye in a way that nothing else can. It is very satisfying, but also very weird. I get a lot of strange looks when I do that one around other people.

I also spend a lot of time rubbing soft or smooth things. Smooth things just feel amazing, that’s just a fact of the universe. And if something is smooth, then it seems rude to not appreciate it for being smooth, so I have to rub it, and sometimes run my lips over it. Apparently, that one is called mouthing. I got made fun of daily all throughout school for doing that. It took me until senior year to figure out that I could put duck-tape over my pencils so that I wouldn’t put them in my mouth.

Well, now that I have bared some of my most embarrassing traits, please don’t lose respect for me. Let me explain why I do these things.

Stimming for me is something that is very calming. Life is stressful, in case you hadn’t noticed. Now try to imagine going through that same stressful life, while having no understanding of most of the things around you. Try going through life with very little or no support network around you, and knowing that there is nothing to save you if you fail. Try going through life knowing that you are fundamentally different than everyone else, but not knowing any words or ways to describe it other than the nasty things that everyone yells at you and the hateful terms that they throw at you. Try going through life believing that you are stupid, pathetic, ugly, and useless and that you will never have friends or be happy. Try going through life without understanding who you are on any level.

Suddenly, fidgeting with a ring, or chewing on a pencil, or making patterns with your fingers seems a lot less weird. All of those things, all of those stimming activities, provide a way to offer some small miniscule form of security and protection. Stimming is a tiny activity that I have complete control over, no matter the outside world throws at me. Stimming is like a security blanket that is always there, no matter where I am.

There are very few things in life that are ever stable or consistent; change is the only constant thing. That is true for everyone, but it is especially true for trapeziums. For trapeziums, we have to deal with the regular changes that everyone faces, but also the changes in ourselves, the changes in other people’s emotions, the changes in our own emotions, and the changes faced with aging and growing up. All of those changes happen so much more frequently than the usual changes, and what’s worse is that no one ever talks about or teaches you how to handle them. All the regular shapes seem to just learn it one day and never question it.

Stimming is one of the few things that is actually truly permanent. I can always find something to stim on or with anywhere I go. I don’t need to rely on anyone else or anything else in order to do it. I can stim anywhere and anytime and instantly start to feel better. I can’t really imagine a life without it.