Peace and Fidget Toys

I am a happy new owner of a fidget spinner and a fidget cube. (I’d post pictures, but I think we all know what they look like at this point, they’re everywhere right now.)

The two sometimes allow me to sit and watch TV or Youtube without incorporating another activity. Coming from me, the Queen of multiple sources of stimulation, this is quite a marvel.

(It really is a problem. I’ll have the TV, music, my laptop, and my cell phone all engaged in different things simultaneously, muting the TV when it gets to commercials and playing music or a Youtube video to cover until the show returns.)

Sometimes they don’t fully distract me, but the quiet whirls of my little green toys are still quite calming. They also seem to have granted me the ability to have long conversations without nerves or boredom sending me off into babbling tangents.

Something that is especially detrimental about living with anxiety (and C-PTSD) is that being comfortable is very difficult.

Humans can go into a state of hyper awareness in the face of danger. Senses sharper, adrenaline pumping, heartbeat always in your ears. but I can be that way almost constantly.

This, to put it mildly, is exhausting. We are not meant to have our senses on high alert at all times. It puts a massive amount of stress on our bodies.

So I am usually hyper aware or restless, which makes even things that are meant to be relaxing difficult to enjoy.

It seems that many neurotypical people find them distracting, or don’t know what to do with them, or think that kids are going to start throwing them at each other, or not paying attention because of them.

First off, if a child is using it to distract themselves, I’d bet that said child was already not paying much attention, it’s just another way.

Second, if they are using it as a focus tool, fidget toys are easily used one handed, and you can keep it in your non-dominant hand and take notes with the other. I’ve done it, it’s not hard. And for listening to, say, a lecture? It’s like magic.

Third, a neurotypical person might have to pay more attention to a fidget toy-I don’t know. For me personally, it’s like bleeding off the constantly flurries of my brain ricocheting around, and giving that something to play with while the rest of me actually gets things done. So I’m hoping that schools don’t ban their use, because I would have benefited immensely from having one in elementary, middle, and high school, as well as college.


And if some neurotypical kids want to play too? Sure, why not?

Let’s normalize them, more fun and relief for everyone! My mother has one so that she doesn’t doodle during meetings, kids fiddle with them as they walk-hey, less cell phone use while crossing the street

They’re great desk toys too!

Let’s have them for use during interviews!

Pay no attention to the fidget cube in my hands, listen to the coherent and clever answers coming from my mouth!

Wanting to Be Normal

There is no neurotypical ‘me’, as I believe I’ve said before.  Would your clone be you, raised in a different time and situation? They might be remarkably similar, in the way that identical twins raised separately can be, but I wouldn’t agree that they are the same person?

Someone genetically identical to me, but without my various ‘quirks’ wouldn’t be me. No abuse, different family, no assault, no anxiety, no being on the spectrum-that wouldn’t be me.

Now, the question is-would I want to be that other person? Do I want to live their existence?

Yes and no. There are things about being me that are irritating, frustrating, and infuriating. I don’t think I would miss them. But I feel like parts of myself are wonderful-and I’m not sure being able to fit in more with other people would be worth giving up those things.


It’s also because I’m not entirely sure how different I am. I know that plenty of people love the beach-it’s a pretty common thing to like.

But do other people feel the beach the way I do?

Does it cleanse their mind and silence their worries and ease their weary souls? Do they hear the same almost-music in their minds in the sound of the waves and the light of the sun and the taste of salt in their mouths?

Can they feel the universe’s energy in the flowers budding on a tree branch?

Is that part of the human experience, or is it just me? Do they feel it differently?

Part of me thinks they must- for me the world is completely overwhelming at times, and it seems that they don’t hear anything at all.

I don’t think I want to see the world that way-even if my way sometimes makes me suffer and rubs me raw.

Because when it isn’t harsh and loud and dragging on my skin, the world is beautiful. I would worry about not seeing it that way anymore.

The Caffeine Dilemma

Coffee! The smell. The first dates, good and bad. The pot in the office.

So many are so dependent on it. I enjoy it, but there’s a constant risk of a mild overdose. I also may already be dependent. I’m not sure. It’ll at least be a ‘normal’ dependency.


Story time: When I worked at Starbucks, eons ago, there was a young woman who came in four or five times a day. Not every day, but I learned that there were other locations that she visited, depending on her schedule.

But each time she arrived, she’d always get some variation on the following: Venti (for those of you playing along at home, that’s 20 ounces hot, 24 ounces iced), five or six shots of espresso, non fat milk.

So, on an average day, this woman had about twenty five shots of espresso.

caffeine-junkie

This, only blonde and in all black.

One co-worker was tempted to make her drinks decaf, until it was pointed out that this woman’s caffeine addiction was so severe that doing so was akin to forcing a heroin addict to go cold turkey with no warning. I was sure, had my coworker given her decaf, the woman would have passed out in the parking lot in a pool of her own withdrawal sweat and/or vomit.

I’m joking, but-

[GOOGLE AND CALCULATIONS BREAK]

The average America adult drinks 300 mg of caffeine a day. That woman was drinking about 320 mg in one drink. So about 5.34 times the national average a day-1600 mg a day! Ouch.

Compared to a serious drug habit, Starbucks is cheaper, but that’s five or six dollars, four or five times a day. So say 25 dollars, seven times a week…it’s about seven hundred dollars a month.

For coffee! That is a little insane.


Now. I like coffee. I used to be a Frappuccino junkie, but I’ve cut way back, because it’s just a sugar bomb, and when I do indulge I only drink Light Frappuccinos.

When I’m feeling like cold molasses, a stimulant is practically necessary to keep moving. And I love me some iced coffee. In cold weather it’s either hot tea or a latte; straight hot coffee hurts me.

But moderation is extremely important.

I have an anxiety disorder. Too much of a stimulant leads to the feeling of being strapped to the front bumper of a car in a drag race about ten minutes after snorting two lines of cocaine, and there’s no getting off.

Many people with anxiety avoid caffeine altogether because it gets risky.

My caffeine overdoses leave me queasy with any tiny movement making me twitch. A leaf falling out of a tree elicits OMG WTF BBQ FUCK FUCK FUCK DANGER.

It’s been less of an issue lately, I think because of medication adjustments, but coffee is so much part of office culture and casual socializing not drinking it either requires an explanation or decaf.

Unless you’re in Starbucks of course. Then there’s a pretty good shot at escaping having to drink anything is a kick.

But I sort of enjoy enjoying coffee-it allows me to pretend better. When one person sighs, ‘It’s too early to do this without coffee’, I can nod in agreement with truth behind it, and such moments where I feel less like an alien are nice.

So I’ll have coffee. Despite the pounding.