An Autistic Perspective – Stim Suppression


Hi guys! Neurodivergent Rebel here, and I am an autistic adult, I was diagnosed late before I turned 30. So I went a long portion of my life
not knowing that I was autistic. And one thing that a lot of late-diagnosed
autistic people have in common is something that I guess I’m gonna
call right now “stim suppression”. Where… And I don’t think I’m making this term up.
I’m sure this probably exists somewhere. I just- That’s what’s in my head. And so this would be where a lot
of autistic people, we… naturally- Well, autistic people naturally move… to regulate ourselves. It’s just how we regulate our energy.
Our energy goes up… There’s a burst of intense energy in the body,
be it joy or anxiety or… anything. And we regulate that out through movement. So like, if I’m really happy, all of a sudden
my hands just kind of just start going! It’s something that… I can control if I think really hard about it,
but that takes up mental energy. So it’s just easier to let my body do what it does. But, like I said, I can “control” it if I use mental energy. So when I’m relaxed, my body is just
very moving, and I’m always in motion. But there’s certain situations… Sometimes… often, generally it’s
the professional environment, where… being in a constant state of motion… isn’t considered appropriate. And… as an adult… people tend to… say, “You should be still, you’re an adult,”
and they assume you need to be still all the time. So sometimes you just have to be still. And… I still have to move, even when I have to be still. So, like in school… I learned you have to do little things that
were discreet, with my hands, that were quiet. Or I do things with my toes inside my shoes,
or I bounce my toe almost silently on the floor. But when I can’t move at all… I start to get this really heavy tension in my body. I get tension in my shoulders. I get tension in my jaw. I get tension in my neck and my legs. I hold my body… hard and tight and stiff
just to keep myself from moving. And it feels horrible! And then at the end, I almost feel like I have to just
get up and jump up and just… [groans] Shake it all out! Because I’ve been containing myself for too long. So that’s what it’s like! Holding in… stims. All right, you guys, let me know if you do this sometime, or if you’ve done this. I don’t think it’s healthy. It’s not good for me! All righty, guys. I’ll talk to you next week. Bye!

8 thoughts on “An Autistic Perspective – Stim Suppression

  1. I learnt to not stim as a child, so I pretty much suppressed my stims my whole life. And even after I was diagnosed 2 years ago, I still don’t stim, mostly because I taught myself not to but also because I got so used to being still that it became something that was nice and relaxing and that stimmy movement feels kinda unnatural. Any advice on not suppressing stims and allowing myself to to do it and not be so concerned with it?

  2. Used to stutter as a kid because I suppressed. As I got older, that turned into jaw clenching and teeth grinding to the point of headaches. No, not healthy at all.

  3. Suppressing stims makes me pick at scabs or suck/lick my lips which ends in them being sore. If I have had a day out in very public places I get this weird sensation when home that makes me shudder and make involuntary noises once I get home.

  4. I self-diagnosed at 33 but I always kinda knew. I used to suppressed stims out of fear of embarrassment. I remember making incredible shots on the basketball court and wanting to hand flap so bad.

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