View Full Version : What are your fidgets?


cms2275
12-10-13, 10:20 PM
Hello all!

I've recently been diagnosed with ADD inattentive and one of the things I've found that this diagnosis has explained is my "fidgeting". I compulsively roll things up. Most of the time it is receipts that I find or get from purchases. I'll roll them and re roll them from the corners into tight little straws until the paper starts to disintegrate and I must start with a new piece. When I used to have a car others would find them littered about and people always commented on my fidget. Now that I'm in college I quickly ruin my textbooks and notebooks while reading and writing by rolling in the corners until the paper breaks down. But it helps me to focus on my reading or to work through my thoughts or pay attention to someone speaking.

In my first year of college last year I decided to see just how much I did this so I bought two big mason jars and put anything and everything I rolled up into them. 6 months in, I needed more jars.
In order to save the condition of my textbooks and basically everything else within reach that is capable of being rolled, I now carry around a sandwich bag full of old receipts on my person at all times.

What are some of y'all's quirky fidgets? What have you found that works for you?

anonymouslyadd
12-10-13, 11:22 PM
Anything I can get my hands on. I also tap my feet.

eats_mice
12-11-13, 12:01 AM
Pens, Picks, or straws or strings to chew on. Or else, drumming my fingers or some sort of strange finger game.

Corina86
12-11-13, 06:44 AM
Anything I can get my hands on. I also tap my feet.

Same. Also anything I can chew or bite.

stef
12-11-13, 07:35 AM
twisting hair, paperclips etc...
but I don't fidget much

purpleToes
12-11-13, 09:57 AM
Hello all!

I've recently been diagnosed with ADD inattentive and one of the things I've found that this diagnosis has explained is my "fidgeting". I compulsively roll things up. Most of the time it is receipts that I find or get from purchases. I'll roll them and re roll them from the corners into tight little straws until the paper starts to disintegrate and I must start with a new piece. When I used to have a car others would find them littered about and people always commented on my fidget. Now that I'm in college I quickly ruin my textbooks and notebooks while reading and writing by rolling in the corners until the paper breaks down. But it helps me to focus on my reading or to work through my thoughts or pay attention to someone speaking.

In my first year of college last year I decided to see just how much I did this so I bought two big mason jars and put anything and everything I rolled up into them. 6 months in, I needed more jars.
In order to save the condition of my textbooks and basically everything else within reach that is capable of being rolled, I now carry around a sandwich bag full of old receipts on my person at all times.

What are some of y'all's quirky fidgets? What have you found that works for you?

That is really interesting. How did you decide it was a fidget and not a compulsion? Would you stress out if you had no paper to roll, or would you just find another way to fidget?

cms2275
12-12-13, 05:40 PM
That is really interesting. How did you decide it was a fidget and not a compulsion? Would you stress out if you had no paper to roll, or would you just find another way to fidget?


If I don't have any paper to roll (which is rare) I find that I twist the ends of my hair or ball up loose threads on my clothing or blankets. It very well could be an overarching compulsion but it certainly is effective in my studying specifically.

Tulip7171
12-12-13, 06:00 PM
I chew & pick at my fingernails, rub my thumbs on my other fingers, rub my scalp; I've done these since I was a kid. Now I don't go anywhere without knitting or crochet.

A friend took me to a Chicago Symphony concert & told me it would be rude to knit through it. I enjoyed the concert, but I missed my knitting & was very restless, to the point she told me to stop squirming. I would have enjoyed it more if I could have knit.

cms2275
12-12-13, 06:33 PM
I chew & pick at my fingernails, rub my thumbs on my other fingers, rub my scalp; I've done these since I was a kid. Now I don't go anywhere without knitting or crochet.

A friend took me to a Chicago Symphony concert & told me it would be rude to knit through it. I enjoyed the concert, but I missed my knitting & was very restless, to the point she told me to stop squirming. I would have enjoyed it more if I could have knit.

I once went to an opera and was rolling the corners of the program booklet to pay attention because it was very long and very Italian. Half way through the woman next to me grabbed my hand and told me to stop. You can imagine the look that I gave her.

dvdnvwls
12-12-13, 06:54 PM
I think one often-overlooked fidget, and one which I did a lot before medication, is talking. I used to be a nail-biter when I was a kid - I stopped when I was about 14.

MX2012
12-12-13, 07:10 PM
cms2275

hmmm, I do fidget.

I like to keep moving. Sitting, I keep my legs moving by crossing and uncrossing my legs and swinging my leg or wiggling my foot. I do like to have a pen in my hand, I switch hands etc. I shift in my chair. I will pace or shift from one leg to another. Stuff like that. I try minimize it so as not to attract attention. Not sure I have a single predominant fidget.

daveddd
12-13-13, 07:55 AM
i thought i was the only chewer , i chew on everything

and rub my thumbs and fingers like tulip said

Stevuke79
12-13-13, 05:22 PM
As a kid I bit my nails, I had to touch everything I waked by (still do that one)..loose cuticles drove me NUTS. more recently twisting my hair. In college at one point I had this conspicuous bald spot in the center back of my head. Back then I otherwise had a full head of hair, and ironically now it's one of the few spots I still have hair :) I chew my lips, tongue, cheeks.

I've given up attempting to not fidget, .. I just make sure I take control of what I fidget with. When I notice I'm about to hair-pick I convert it to a quick rub/scratch of my head and put a pen in that hand. Telling a fidgeter to stop is the wrong approach - I think your only prayer is to redirect.

Tulip7171
12-13-13, 06:26 PM
I once went to an opera and was rolling the corners of the program booklet to pay attention because it was very long and very Italian. Half way through the woman next to me grabbed my hand and told me to stop. You can imagine the look that I gave her.

Seriously?!

I thought it was rude when my friend told me to stop. I would have made a scene if a stranger had touched me. I probably would have screamed or smacked her.
I'm always telling my nieces no one has the right to put their hands on you without your permission.

I' a chewer too. I put stuff in my mouth I shouldn't way too often. (yes, yes, I know how that's sounds!:p)

Wunderz
12-16-13, 06:39 PM
Hi I have not been by in a while, I came in to complain about the monthly routine for getting my meds that sometimes fails.... I'll find that area in a moment.

I do the classic knee bounce/jiggle.
The really bad one is that I click my mouse (left) click click. It bothers other people, but not me.

I also click my pen. I play with paper folding it and mutilating it, and I can't even explain that one..

I talk to myself and mutter and that gets me into trouble. All of these have gotten better as I get older but those are the biggies.

MX2012
12-17-13, 01:25 AM
Hi I have not been by in a while, I came in to complain about the monthly routine for getting my meds that sometimes fails.... I'll find that area in a moment.

I do the classic knee bounce/jiggle.
The really bad one is that I click my mouse (left) click click. It bothers other people, but not me.

I also click my pen. I play with paper folding it and mutilating it, and I can't even explain that one..

I talk to myself and mutter and that gets me into trouble. All of these have gotten better as I get older but those are the biggies.

I forgot when I type, I constantly hit the shift key as I think. I can do it on a mac, no problem, but on a windows pc, I constantly get that sticky key reminder. I also doodle and mutter a bit but with the earplugs for phones, people think I am talking on the phone.

GullibleSkeptic
12-17-13, 10:32 AM
I have most of the usual fidgets: tapping feet, bouncing my leg, pick at my nails, shifting positions in my chair....these usually only subside if I'm on my medication or really tired.

My non-conventional fidget is not really a fidget, but it essentially acts like one. During lectures, I have to write about other things or makes lists, etc. If I attempt to just pay attention to the lecture, I zone out or become incredibly restless. Just listening for too long is impossible: it needs to be broken up with doing something.
The exception to the rule is when I find a lecture too mentally stimulating. Then I'm practically bouncing out of chair to share all the ideas that are bubbling chaotically inside my head.

psychopathetic
12-17-13, 10:52 AM
That's really interesting Gullible! So when you're writing stuff down and making lists, are you able to do that AND get everything the professor is saying? Or do you only get bits and pieces?
I can only focus on 1 thing at a time, so I just find it really fascinating that you multi-task like this.

I had a professor this semester who everyone really hated. His lectures were dry and slow and he just would drone on and on.
And for whatever reason, I just really clicked with the professor. While everyone else was on facebook on their phones and computers, and others were trying not to nod off and fall asleep...I was 120% completely and absolutely enthralled with this proffessor's lectures! My eyes would be on his eyes and I'd be absorbing every single word he'd say...and I was ALWAYS ready to ask him a bunch of questions. Sometimes he'd randomly ask someone in the class a question, and I loved when he'd pick me! haha. I think he fed off of my energy too...I swear he sensed how much I enjoyed his teaching and it gave him a lot of energy. It was a really neat experience I'll never forget!

Anyhow my fidgets:
I rock back and forth. Like I'm in a rocking chair, only I'll rock anywhere...even in my car driving lol.
I've always chewed pens. My parents use to get really mad at me over it and my dad would always make fun of me.
And sometimes I have to shake my hand really rapidly. Have since I was a kid and never knew why.

FreewayFlyer04
12-18-13, 09:31 PM
tap heel or jiggle leg up and down. click pen. rub thumb and first finger together, sometimes both hands at same time. chew on cigar, lit or not. chew wad of sunflower seeds.

bymysoul2squeez
01-19-14, 06:16 PM
what an excellent idea for a post lol

I pick on my cuticles , if i get a manicure and i dont want to ruin my nails i bite the inside of my mouth, i also tap my foot, bite pens, unbend the paper clips etc. but mostly my cuticles

FlightyBroad
01-20-14, 02:56 AM
Foot tapping, pen clicking, crossing & I crossing legs, and grossest of all- zit picking (only at home!)

Dopes1
01-31-14, 02:01 AM
I crack my neck, tap my fingers, tap my right foot (don't know why the left foot gets no love), crack my fingers, stretch, do anything to avoid being perfectly... still.

janiew
01-31-14, 03:20 AM
Hm - I'm a busy busy person and have developed some tics to deal with my ADHD, social anxiety, and resulting OCD.

My tics involve neck rolling, wrist rolling, ab flexing, and some nasal stuff in my face.

Luckily I'm a pretty woman...

janiew
01-31-14, 03:23 AM
I appear to be incapable of pinning my compulsive **** down so I would not make much of a role model or whatever...

Anastasia
01-31-14, 04:06 AM
I use my pointer, or ring finger to rub my thumb nail, or push the cuticle down. The nail is indented now.

Fuzzy12
01-31-14, 05:05 AM
Tap fingers or feet, bouncy legs, tap thumb against index finger, simulate typing in the air, fold or tear paper or tissue, etc.

I'm not a huge fidgeter and when I'm depressed I fidget less. I usually fidget when I get c restless or impatient.

Mostly I make tight fists but that's more stress and depression related I'd think.

Artiste
02-22-14, 11:32 AM
A colleague pointed out that I constantly 'drum' on things (my brother is an actual drummer, so I blame him for teaching me this) and someone else at work laughed that in meetings I always have a pen in my hands, twirling it about, balancing them on the desk, etc. I don't notice I'm doing it most of the time. I also have 'very expressive hands' when I talk, but I'm not sure if that's just my personality. It's something I've done since I was very little and my family used to laugh about it and joke that I was an orchestra conductor in a past life. Oh, and doodling. I draw things when I'm thinking about something. It helps me to concentrate and remember.

Herose
06-03-14, 12:02 PM
I have a few very specific ones, but I think they might be more compulsive than actual fidgets.
With any kind of device with batteries, I keep opening and closing the valve. My sister get totally irritated by the clicking noise, I don't even hear it anymore.
The same with chapsticks, I keep making that clicking sound where its locked / unlocked.
With beer bottles or any kind of glass bottles, I rip off the label until its clean and then go to the next one.
Plucking my eyebrows for when I can't epilate them.
And also the more conventional ones, twiddling anything I can get my hands on.

Fuzzy12
06-03-14, 12:59 PM
I said in my previous post that I don't fidget much but actually I do, I constantly do something to my skin, either rub it, scratch it, pick it, pinch it, flip it, tap it, etc. My hands are constantly on my face. :doh::doh::doh:

Stevuke79
06-03-14, 01:28 PM
I like this thread. My most natural fidget is to pick at my hair. I try my best not to.

I tap my fingers, my feet and even my teeth, my tongue or my breathing, .. all sorts of things and mostly to some kind of music in my head. And here's a really odd one, I draw repetitive geometric patterns. lines, boxes, dots, .. I have zero artistic talent with anything visual but I try to make them symmetrical.

aftnrid12
07-05-14, 01:29 AM
I don't know if these would be considered "fidgets," but I definitely have things I do all the time. I rip the labels off of bottles. When I'm sitting or laying down, I move my hips or upper body and make shapes like 8s, cicles, triangles, zig-zags, etc. I also put my hair in my mouth or bite the inside of my bottom lip.

OhLookABunny
07-05-14, 01:19 PM
I have twisted my hair from the time I was a tiny girl - it drove my mom nuts! I would try to stop but it was so automatic.

Used to get irritated by my college friend's foot jiggling - and then I picked up the habit myself from her! How crazy is that?

Once when I was well into adulthood and with my mom in the grocery store, I realized I was touching displays and things like a little kid. I felt so embarrassed at what I was doing that I tried really hard to break the habit. :o But after the ADD diagnosis it made sense why I was doing this. I allow myself some leeway - sometimes it also includes the need to feel the texture of something or even pick it up and smell it.

I am careful not to damage merchandise with my habit - like when I go to the craft store and look at the Sculpey clay, I don't squish up a package or leave finger indentations in it! Or in the produce department of the grocery, if I sniff a nectarine - which I also do for the normal reason of determining if it's ripe - and decide I don't want it, I'll put it back gently.

Playing with pens, doodling, all that stuff, check.

My worst fidgetiness comes out in the context of "pure socializing" i.e. when people aren't doing anything else but sitting/standing around conversing. Like after the meal is over, I'm ready to split. I used to attend a support group where some of the members would go for ice cream afterward - but first they'd stand and stand and stand around in the parking lot of the meeting place and I'd be wanting to scream "You can flap your gums just as well while eating ice cream, let's GO!" :mad:

Then there is the matter of the Uncomfortable Seating for What Is Supposed To Be A Fun Time. Such as watching a movie with friends. At home, my roommate has these chairs that are just too squared off for my body, and have hard wooden armrests. I finally went and got my office chair - and another chair to put my feet up on, because sitting upright makes me either squirmy or tired. I also finally had to start having a project for my hands during these times or even doodling.

My mom once told me that my maternal grandmother (died before I came along), on the side of the family where much of the ADD and Autism spectrum folk are clustered, always had to have handwork, embroidery or something, with her. My paternal grandmother was also a crafty and creative person, probably not ADD but I guess I just like to keep my hands busy and be productive - straight unadulterated socialization seems like a waste of time to me. :rolleyes:

willow129
07-05-14, 01:23 PM
Foot jiggling, lip biting

kittyb21
07-05-14, 02:24 PM
When I was a kid I co-slept with my parents for 9 years, I would kick one of my calves with the other leg, it used to drive them crazy.
Skin picking is my worst one, completely recks my face, yuk!
I had my tongue pierced for years and would chew on that continually. Nail biting, when I gave that up I took to chewing the skin around my nails.
Feet tapping and fidgeting when forced to sit still in public.

Smokey405
07-05-14, 09:57 PM
Shaking or bouncing my legs while sitting is by far the worst of my fidgeting.

I also will play with things, especially pens or pencils. If the pen has a clip on it, then there is a 90% chance that in course of fidgeting with it, I will break the clip off. I feel horrible when it's not my pen and I do that (although they learn from then on to keep their pens out of my reach).

sabotender
07-16-14, 12:05 AM
I have twisted my hair from the time I was a tiny girl - it drove my mom nuts! I would try to stop but it was so automatic.

Used to get irritated by my college friend's foot jiggling - and then I picked up the habit myself from her! How crazy is that?

Once when I was well into adulthood and with my mom in the grocery store, I realized I was touching displays and things like a little kid. I felt so embarrassed at what I was doing that I tried really hard to break the habit. :o But after the ADD diagnosis it made sense why I was doing this. I allow myself some leeway - sometimes it also includes the need to feel the texture of something or even pick it up and smell it.

I am careful not to damage merchandise with my habit - like when I go to the craft store and look at the Sculpey clay, I don't squish up a package or leave finger indentations in it! Or in the produce department of the grocery, if I sniff a nectarine - which I also do for the normal reason of determining if it's ripe - and decide I don't want it, I'll put it back gently.

Playing with pens, doodling, all that stuff, check.

My worst fidgetiness comes out in the context of "pure socializing" i.e. when people aren't doing anything else but sitting/standing around conversing. Like after the meal is over, I'm ready to split. I used to attend a support group where some of the members would go for ice cream afterward - but first they'd stand and stand and stand around in the parking lot of the meeting place and I'd be wanting to scream "You can flap your gums just as well while eating ice cream, let's GO!" :mad:

Then there is the matter of the Uncomfortable Seating for What Is Supposed To Be A Fun Time. Such as watching a movie with friends. At home, my roommate has these chairs that are just too squared off for my body, and have hard wooden armrests. I finally went and got my office chair - and another chair to put my feet up on, because sitting upright makes me either squirmy or tired. I also finally had to start having a project for my hands during these times or even doodling.

My mom once told me that my maternal grandmother (died before I came along), on the side of the family where much of the ADD and Autism spectrum folk are clustered, always had to have handwork, embroidery or something, with her. My paternal grandmother was also a crafty and creative person, probably not ADD but I guess I just like to keep my hands busy and be productive - straight unadulterated socialization seems like a waste of time to me. :rolleyes:

I'm quite like that too, the hair part. I loved the texture and feel of my hair that I keep doing that subconsciously (most people noticed and find it unsightly or plain weird) but I cant break the habit. >_<. And sometimes I twirled both sides of the hair with both hands, to which I ended up looking like a fool. My mom keep telling me to stop (but finally give up. My hands got a mind of their own)

Drewbacca
07-21-14, 10:54 AM
I pull out my facial hair (aka as trichotillomania aka "tweezer-fingers").

I wonder how long it would take me to fill a mason jar?

I also shift around in my seat a lot (for a long time, I thought of what I now consider fidgeting as "getting comfortable"). I also tend to pace a lot.

foxxyky
07-24-14, 08:33 PM
Hi, I am new here. My lips are raw right now from biting off the skin. I also pull out my stray facial hair (female), and pull out my gray hairs because of the difference in texture. I dig in my eyes ( I know gross). My legs are always fidgety and I can never sit still. Whenever I go to a movie, even if it is one I have been dying to see, once I sit down I immediately dread it and think about how I am now stuck in the theater for the next 2 hours. I am not scared or claustrophobic, but I start to wonder what if the movie is boring or bad and now I am stuck here watching it.

AprilSky
07-26-14, 03:48 AM
skin scratcher, hair twirler, lip eater (biter), scalp rubber, hand wringer, finger stretcher, toe wiggler, inside of cheek chewer. Not all at once, only when I can't get my hands on something to play with. It's a rare moment if I am still. I am still when I am completely engrossed in a movie in a movie theatre but not when I watch a movie at home. Also when I am about to sleep or in a daydream.

imnotkuku
09-10-14, 03:20 PM
Wow! What a great thread! I'm bad about shaking my leg or foot. At work, my chair twirs and I'm constantly rotating in it. I rub my hands together when I'm uncomfortable, I'm a nail biter (although it's gotten better, I now only bite when there's a rough spot or broke nail). I quit smoking 9 months ago and now vape and am constantly playing with my vape pen and chewing on the tip. If I"m at home sitting still, I'm totally engrossed in my computer. Constantly stretching, moving and I also doodle a lot. I crochet, but have had to stop due to the pain in my hands..but that helped with a lot of the fidgets.

OhLookABunny
09-20-14, 12:51 AM
Don't know if it's technically a fidget, but . . . snacking. :giggle:

pooka
09-20-14, 01:54 AM
I make paper cranes all the time to keep my hands busy. The rest of my fidgets are more standard: nail-biting, capping and uncapping pens or chapstick, foot-tapping, writing out lyrics to the songs stuck in my head, playing with my rings or earrings or nose piercing (I really shouldn't do that since it's still healing), chewing gum, biting my lips, tying knots in hair elastics, twisting/braiding my hair...weirdly I feel like I've gotten more fidgety over time, which i didn't even realize until I started this list :p

Whenever I'm at a party or a restaurant I NEED to have a cup in my hand and constantly be sipping from it or running my finger along the rim or wiping at the condensation with my finger.

I'm also constantly playing around with my phone - usually I'm not even doing anything, just repeatedly locking and unlocking and putting in my passcode over and over again

moth2flame
09-20-14, 05:11 AM
My fidgeting was much worse when I was a kid... I'd compulsively bite straws and paper cups, roll up receipts and labels and pieces of paper, shred kleenex, and if there were bushes around I'd tear off leaves or grass and crush them in my fingers. My parents always called me a "tactile" kid; I would pick out clothes by feel more than look, and I had to touch things to understand them (still do).

Over the years I kinda trained myself out of some of these things, in particular the crushing of leaves/plants because it actually also upset me to be damaging some poor hapless plant without thinking. :( But I still catch myself rolling up beer bottle labels... making origami shapes out of paper straw covers... and that good old fashioned lrg/foot shaking, when I'm trying to concentrate on something bpth important and boring.

My one indulgence I do not let myself feel guilty about is I like the feel of a certain particular type of fabric (kind of a fake satin, it's hard to explain except it's very slick!)... so I have a few pieces of it I carry around with me and if I need to calm myself, I can rub them together. Or really, just whenever no one is looking, I seem to get some calming neurochemicals from this somehow or something. :p I'm not an expert but doing this makes me feel noticibly better when I am stressed out!

OhLookABunny
09-23-14, 07:29 PM
Just remembered this one: When I was a preschooler or early grade schooler, and my mom had a new spool of sewing thread, I had to pick the label off. Another way I drove her nuts! :D I'm also a hypocrite, because when I was older, woe to any other kid who pulled my stickers off things! :eek:

I was at the fabric store today (Joann's) buying thread for my own sewing, is what reminded me of this one. And after I'd paid for my thread and was on my way out of the store, they had demo tray of this "Sands Alive" play sand: http://www.mastermindtoys.com/Sands-Alive-Indoor-Sand.aspx Oh my goodness, it was a sensory experience - I may have to buy some!

It doesn't really feel like sand to me, though - it feels like crumbly cake but soft, soft - yet squishy - yet . . . indescribable. Smells kind of like cake too. If you're a sensory experience junkie, you owe it to yourself to find a toy or craft store and check this stuff out. And no, I'm not shilling for the company. It's amazing.

OhLookABunny
09-25-14, 11:14 PM
Playing with my shoelaces and the eyelets on my shoes while seated talking to someone like a therapist or doctor.

Jenn1202
10-03-14, 02:04 AM
I move my legs all the time, play with things, press buttons on my phone, doodle, bite my nails and pick at my skin (I know, this one is pretty horrible, but I don't know how to stop :( ).

sushigirl
10-04-14, 08:45 AM
I don' really roll my hair, i roll but it is to smooth them with my fingers very hard to explain (a lot more often in the last few months). Pick at my skin, next to my nails. Knock on my desk with my pen, at the office (must be so annoying to others...:D)