How to Stop Stimming (Rocking) for Adults Day #1
So today is day one of no rocking or stimming, which is basically self stimulation. I’ve been rocking for 40 years. One time I tried stopping a whole month, but I relapsed and went back to rocking.
Over the years, I’ve been really trying to run for myself. I think that’s the problem with a lot of people with Asperger’s or Autism is that they’re trying to self soothe. They’re trying to calm their nerves. They get overstimulated, they get overwhelmed, and I think that’s why I started rocking back and forth when I was eight years old.
My dad was overbearing, and strict, and maybe I was scared of him and I was overwhelmed. I just needed to unwind. So for me, it was just natural to start rocking back and forth. I used to rock back and forth while watching TV with my parents. Then I started rocking while listening to headphones, listening to music, and I wanted to be a rock and roll drummer. I flunked out of high school, because I just loved music so much. I didn’t do my homework.
But to get to the point of today, and not stimming anymore, the first thing that I did, and I’ll be real, when I woke up this morning, I was scared. I was like, what the heck am I going to do? Because I was rocking 14 hours a day, I work from home, I only have to work about half an hour to an hour, sometimes I don’t work at all. Because I create content that stays up online for years. I don’t have to work every day to do internet marketing.
So I literally rock from the time I get up till the time I go to bed, my back’s sore, my butt’s sore, and my knees are sore – and I’m isolating. So today I was like, alright, so what I’m going to do is I’m going to sit still right when I get up, this is January 1, so it’s a new year, great time to stop a 40 year habit, something that’s been controlling my life since I was eight and now I’m 48.
So I was like, What the heck am I gonna do? I have to fill 14 hours a day. So I just got up and I sat still, I kind of changed my posture a little. So I sat differently than I would if I was rocking. So that’s the first step is that you have to change your posture, so to speak, you also have to change places that would trigger you to rock or stem or whatever.
For me, I rock on the bed a lot. So if I do sit on the bed, it’s for a short time, and it’s just to talk to my fiance. I give her my eye contact now, whereas when I rocked I didn’t really look at her, we would talk and she’d be doing her thing. I’d be over here rocking and I’d be staring ahead not looking at her.
So today, I’m trying to be mindful and being grounded and present. So I turned around and I faced her while we were eating dinner, I gave her eye contact, which you know, she’d loved because everyone wants attention and eye contact. It’s hard for people with Asperger’s to give eye contact, but I’m forcing myself to really give eye contact.
So basically, throughout the day, I’m doing things that I don’t normally do, but not to the point where I’m overwhelmed. So there were a lot of chores that needed to be done around the house. We still have Christmas decorations up and what not. So I started cleaning, I stacked the wood for the wood stove and I stayed busy. We went into town and we went shopping. So I didn’t really have time to rock at the beginning of the day and it felt good.
Then we did the yoga. Here’s the thing is Yoga is awesome, because it’s kind of like a moving dance, and it’s very athletic. You can literally work up a sweat if you do the right type of yoga. So, I think that can calm your nerves. Because people with autism, they have a lot of energy, usually nervous energy, they got to tap, they got to whistle, pick scabs off their arm, you know, twirl their hair, you know, they got to do stuff to try to get their mind off of their problems or their stress or they’re trying to reduce reduce stress.
So I didn’t do anything overwhelming, went into town, got groceries, came back, cleaned a little bit more, vacuumed the carpet, then sat down on the bed just for a short time and ate dinner.
Then we did some breathing exercises, which is really exciting and gets you all invigorated. So right now it’s about 4:30pm. I’ve made it all day. So far, the scariest time is probably in the evening, because that’s when my fiance and I would just sit on the bed, and she would watch movies, which is her addiction, and I would rock and listen to music.
So I’m not gonna listen to music tonight, I’m going to go upstairs to the shrine room, which is a place where I just worship God, by myself in private, and I got some candles and I’m going to sit still and do that.
But here’s the thing, if you want to stop stimming, you have to replace your stimming with activities that you enjoy.
I mean, worshiping God might not be your thing. You might love taking hot baths, you know, take a hot bath, you want to try to relax and stay in a non stressful environment. Stay away from stress as much as possible. Do things that you enjoy. If you like writing, start journaling again, start a YouTube channel. Start creating things, a lot of autistic people or Asperger’s people, they like creating.
The other thing is mapping out a daily journal. So I have a daily journal here. I don’t know if that’s backwards for you. But I basically, a lot of people with autism, they have to have a routine. If you get them off of a routine, they freak out. Okay, and I’m the same way I need some kind of guidance.
So before I even stopped rocking, yesterday, I wrote this out, and you don’t have to follow it exactly. You can evolve it as you evolve, and change things around a little.
Like today, we ate dinner before doing other things, and that was fine. We were hungry. So it’s like let’s see, I did this video after dinner when the plan was to do content before dinner, but it doesn’t matter. It’s not set in stone. But you have to have a routine to fall to basically lock into a routine, and it should be stuff that you’re excited about. It could be coloring, it could be going for a walk.
I love walking and you can lose weight that way. It’s relaxing. If you’re, you know, by an aquatic center, you can go swimming, play racquetball, I love racquetball, the Aspergers in me, I love chasing that blue ball. I like seeing it hit off the different walls. It’s kind of like a geometric game. It’s like Tetris, you know, where you’re hitting angles, and or breakaways, some kind of Atari pinball game. I can follow that ball for hours on end. That’s just me.
So find what you like, get back into it. Because, our addictions are very insidious. They sneak up on us, and as soon as you know, a couple years or decades passed by, and you’re like, what am I doing? I’m now 48 and haven’t really done much with my life, because I’ve been rocking 14 hours a day, or whatever you do. You know, I was an alcoholic. I was a cigarette smoker. I watched porn, I did anything I could to escape “me,” and to escape stress. I think there’s something deep inside of us that we’re running from.
So the other thing that we’re doing is meditating. That’s where you really have to sit still and just sink into that silence. So many people are scared of sitting still with themselves. It’s insane. Especially with social media, and your phone. You can just get distracted all day long with video games with apps with getting thumbs up on social media, and it’s all dopamine.
We’re dopamine junkies. So meditation wipes the slate clean, you can start over and you can really start getting inside of yourself and analyzing. It’s probably your inner child that’s still hurt from the very first memory, you know, I still have an eight year old boy that’s scared inside of me. He needs to come out and talk about it, and he needs to feel safe.
So the other thing you can do is child work. That’s basically where you track your memories. You go back to the worst memory that you can think of the very first one, I learned this from Teal Swan, you go back to the very first memory that you had trauma, whatever, and you go back as your adult self. You walk up to your child, for me, I had many.
The first memory was my dad spanking me really hard because I picked up some fiberglass, so I went back as an adult, and I found myself as a child crying in the backseat of the car and I sat next to him, and I put my arm around him. I said, you’re gonna be okay, you’re safe, you’re safe. Now. I’m here, I won’t ever leave you, you’re safe. Okay, then I’d go to the next memory. I really visualize it, close your eyes and really visualize you walking up, feel that memory first, like get into that child and really feel it, and then walk up as an adult, and comfort your inner child.
So once you do that with one memory, that memory is clean, and that will start to change your adult life. It’s kind of like the butterfly effect where you go back in the past, change some events, and then all of a sudden, your adult life is different because you changed those events. It’s kind of like that. It’s really cool. It’s kind of like going back in time, or time travel. It’s really cool.
The second memory was, which is really ironic, was a marching band was playing at our school, I was only like four, so it must have been like preschool, and a band came by. I was sitting next to a girl who I thought was cute. I was trying to be all cool watching the band. But, when the drum section came by, it was really loud and snare drums were bam, bam, bam, bam. It was so intense and scary. My ears were so sensitive, because I was only four. I hadn’t killed my eardrums yet with my own drumming, which is the irony of it. I started bawling in front of her.
I was like, Oh my God, and she turned to me. She’s like, what’s wrong, What’s wrong? And I felt so embarrassed. I didn’t like to see her concerned, and I left to go to the nurse’s office. Ironically, eight years later, I got a drum set, which is crazy. So maybe that’s my subconscious trying to attack the fear by doing it. So I became a rock and roll drummer, liked loud music, would just blair headphones until my ears were ringing for hours on end, listening to Slayer and Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, and definitely wasn’t scared of loud noises after that.
But the point is to replace your addictions with healthier routines. So everything on this list that I have on my new routine is healthy. I have jogging at 7am, 830 we do breathing exercises, at 10am it’s yoga, at noon, it’s meditation. Then from 1:30 to four it’s content creation, meaning blog or videos like this. Then it’s dinner, and then at 630 it’s meditation again. 8pm It’s called it’s shrine where I go upstairs to my secret place with Jesus. Then 9pm it’s read.
See, I didn’t read when I rocked. I don’t read when I drink. You know, I didn’t do anything when I drank and I don’t do anything when I rock. So that is my last biggest addiction is rocking. I was going to not listen to music today. Even though it’s just quiet background music. I wasn’t going to listen to music today because that is part of the rocking addiction I believe, because Music has always been there with my rocking.
But I turned on some music while we ate because the worst sound I hate, the worst sound imaginable to me is hearing people chew. So it was like, I can turn on some music, but I’m not gonna listen to music 14 hours a day like I did with the rocking. So that has to be minimized as well.
So don’t be hard on yourself. If you can’t create a schedule and stick with it, it’s gonna change as you find what works for you and find what’s comfortable for you, and it’s gonna be a wild ride. I mean, like I said, I’ve only done one month (no rocking) out of the last 40 years, I stopped rocking for one month, and that was like three years ago. I became solid and I had more confidence. I just felt grounded. I just felt solid and I actually felt like a grown up.
Which is funny to say, but it’s true, I really do feel like a kid still because I sheltered myself with rocking, while other people were out getting careers and building families and dealing with big stress, I was home Rocking. And the alcohol too, was kind of like it pickled me and preserved me. People say that when you abused drugs really hard or alcohol, that it stunts your mental growth and I drank super hard for 16 years. So, 16 minus 48, you got 32. So I feel like I’m still in my 20s sometimes, except for my body, which I’m working on.
Now, the other thing you can do is exercise. I know I mentioned walking, but really start working out and get that excess energy out of you. Working out is phenomenal. Swimming, walking, or racquetball. Even the sauna, if you can find a gym that has a sauna, and just sweat it out. Don’t overdo it. You know, you should only do it like 10 minutes – consult a physician. I’m not a doctor. You didn’t hear it from me.
But the sauna is awesome, because when you come out of the sauna, and you’re just steaming and sweating, and you sit on the bench to cool down all of that nervous energy and anxiety and pent up energy is gone. It feels like camomile tea times 10, I was gonna say some drug but I don’t want to negatively influence you. So that’s basically it.
Now this video is for adults, you know, if you’re 12 years old, I’m sorry, this channel is not for you, it’s about some adult stuff, but you know, over the years, I’ve been addicted to everything, and none of it has turned out good. It just takes away from you. Satan’s biggest lie is that he’ll say that you’re gonna feel really good if you do this. But it’s a short term high. Whatever addiction it is, I don’t have to name them off. You know what they are. It’s a short term high, but long term guilt and shame and it breaks you down.
And sin does lead to death. If you’re an addict, like me, sin does lead to death, and I’m lucky that I quit alcohol, because alcohol led to many other addictions. Anyways, I’m dropping all those addictions. Over the years, I have unraveled many. I have a list of them here. I’m doing this just to keep track of my life. You can see right here I have addictions and how many years I did those things.
So I’ve basically knocked out: alcoholism for 16 years. drumming was 20 years. Now a lot of people are tappers and are drummers with autism, you know, stimming could be tapping, drumming, whistling, you know, and drumming was kind of, it was fun, but it kind of took away from my life. I’m tired of tapping. There’s a point where you just want to stop whistling or tapping. You’re like Stop, you know, you hear a song in your head, and it stays in your head all day and you’re like, get out of my frickin head. So drumming is kind of an addiction too.
Cigarettes – that was a 20 year addiction. I quit that. So with any addiction that you quit, you’re gonna have to find a replacement. All right, I keep saying that. When I quit cigarettes, I was like, what the heck am I gonna do? I didn’t even smoke that many. It was like 10 cigarettes a day. People smoke packs a day. I don’t even know how they quit.
So I usually smoked 10 a day. Usually after 5pm. I felt gross if I smoked in the morning. So I replaced the cigarettes with peanut m&ms and tea and I did that for like a year. Then I was like, Alright, I’m done with sugar and so I quit the M&Ms. So I’m not saying replace one addiction with the other. But I am saying once in a while, do what you got to do to get off of the big addiction.
But, if you want to relax, and let’s say a cigarette relaxes you, change it to Chamomile tea and a hot bath, or a sauna. Go for a jog and then take a hot bath and then drink some Chamomile, you are going to feel relaxed. Okay. So I hope this helps.
This is day one. I’m going to keep documenting my life for the next year, every day, even if it’s kind of boring, because I want to see how I improve without rocking. That’s my number one stimming habit that I’m getting rid of 40 years of rocking back and forth. Like this. I even showed you in another video. Those pads on my knuckles are literally from rocking on the floor from putting my knuckles down on the floor and rocking. That’s what these pads are. I mean, look how big they are.
So it’s serious guys, stimming is frickin serious, it could be life or death and I have spent a lot of my life, in fact, 45,000 hours I calculated that I’ve Rocked. I know it’s more than that. That’s just on a three hour average for 40 years is 43,800 hours. But like I said last six years, it’s been 14 hours a day. And probably six before that. Thanks for following this journey.
Erik C Johnson