Hey guys this is Erik Johnson. So I want to talk about why adults with Asperger’s rock back and forth because there’s not a lot of literature on adults who rock back and forth. It’s mainly about children who rock back and forth.
The reason why adults rock back and forth is basically a carryover from their childhood. When I was two years old I started rocking in a rocking horse, my parents had a rocking horse, and I used to ride that thing hours at a time.
Now I don’t know if I did that to soothe myself because basically rocking back and forth, is also called stimming, which means self stimulation, or soothing, so I don’t know if the trauma came first or the rocking came first, but my dad had a lot of rage, and he had a scary temper.
Why Adults with Asperger’s Rock Back and Forth
So I don’t know if I started rocking, because I knew I was different or because of some traumatic event but I started rocking on that rocking horse and I used to look out the window while I did it. My parents were building a sailboat in the backyard and I used to watch them come in and out of the sailboat with materials.
When I was three. I graduated to a rocking chair that my dad actually used when he was a little boy and he used to rock in that rocking chair. I asked my mom recently if he was a rocker and she said no that he just rocked in that chair, but he still has a rocking chair today. He doesn’t have to rock hours at a time. He just sits in it after his workday, and stares out the window, but I definitely know that my dad has Asperger’s as well.
So, when I was five or six, I started rocking on the floor, while watching TV with my parents. Then when I got older, I used to rock after high school. I used to rock from 6pm until bedtime every night listening to my music in headphones, because music was part of the backdrop of rocking.
With rocking and music, I felt like I was invincible. I felt like I was going places, I felt calmer. I could think clearly. I could fantasize about getting the bullies back in school. It just opened up a whole new world for me.
But I believe that you don’t just stop rocking when you turn 18, and there’s not a lot of literature on it because they basically are talking about children who rock but you don’t just stop rocking when you turn 18, you stop rocking when you force yourself to, or when circumstances come up and you just don’t have time to do it anymore.
Then hopefully you can move on with your life, but there’s people like me who are still rocking. In fact, when I quit, like 48 days ago, rocking back and forth, I was rocking 14 hours a day, because I worked from home so I could get up in the morning, I started rocking and I rock until bedtime, and it was just getting in the way of my life.
It always has gotten in the way of my life, but I’ve had many great years of rocking back and forth. In fact, most of my girlfriends never talked about it; my parents never talked about it, my friends never brought it up. So, I didn’t have any reason to stop.
The only reason why I’m stopping now is because I want to see my untapped potential. I’m almost 50 years old, and I want to do something different with my life. I’m tired of coping mechanisms ruling my life. I’m tired of stimming. I’m tired of fidgeting or listening to music or doing something to divert my attention away from me – because it’s all been an escape.
Ever since I was two years old I devised a plan to escape this reality, and now I want to partake in reality, I want to partake in this life, and I want to help you guys understand rocking because I am so excited to get comments from you guys who are rocking back and forth because there’s really no videos on it.
There’s not a lot of people that rock in their 40s, or 30s, or even 20s. If they do, they feel embarrassed, they feel shame. They don’t know why they do it. I’m here to tell you that you know it’s soothing, it’s calming and if you have Asperger’s it allows you to really think, because Asperger people do the best in solitude, they do their best thinking alone.
When they get around people they feel overwhelmed. They feel awkward. They don’t know what to say, they feel like an alien – and I felt that way my whole life, my kids, my friends were always different from me. You know, they got the girlfriends before me, they got potty trained before me, they got A’s in school and I couldn’t stand school. I hated school. I just wanted to be a rock and roll drummer.
So that’s the other habit that I picked up that a lot of Aspie people can actually enjoy is drumming. So I mean I was just tapping on my parents furniture, all day long with wooden spoons from the kitchen, because I loved the music.
I remember when I was 12 years old listening to my sister’s music. One song in particular was, We Got the Beat by the Go Go’s and I used to drum to that with wooden spoons on the couch arm. It got to the point where I wanted a drum set, and on my 12th birthday my mom and I went to Seattle to the music store and I bought a seven piece Rogers drum set, and I played that thing from school until my dad got home in the basement.
Then I used to listen with headphones, I used to drum along to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osborne. Music was my ultimate lover, until I was 17, then I discovered alcohol, and then that replaced music as my lover but I loved all three things: rocking, music, and alcohol.
I thought I was invincible. I didn’t need friends, I could rock in a dark room with nothing else but alcohol and music, but eventually alcohol nearly killed me. I had a heart attack when I was 32. I stopped eating when I was drinking. I got drunk twice a day because I only worked two days a week as a caregiver.
So, my life got out of control. So one of the last things I wanted to get rid of was rocking back and forth. It’s day 47, I believe, of no rocking back and forth. Do I feel better? I don’t really feel like I miss it, but I am doing tricky things to self-soothe still.
As you know, this world is crazy right now. There’s a lot of stress, and we just had a huge snow here in Texas, which historically doesn’t have snow like this in Texas. So I’m turning to sugar and sweets. And when I go to bed, I’m twitching my feet in the bed. I’m finding myself tapping on my legs again and humming songs because I don’t want to do the work some days.
I don’t want to sit still, I mean, these were 40 year addictions, music was 40 years, rocking was 40 years. I’ve had several addictions that lasted decades, I’ve been drinking coffee since I was 16. I smoked cigarettes for 20 years. I watched porn for 10 years, you name it. I’ve done it to try to escape my feelings and to not feel so much anger and anxiety.
I’m just high strung. I have a lot of energy. I’m just now starting to feel like an adult. You know, that’s one thing no rocking did, it kind of made me feel more like a man. When I was rocking it kept me in my teenage years, you know, psychologically.
I don’t feel like I’m part of the 48 year old class of males, you know, if I hang out with another 48 year old, I’m like wow that guy is like an adult, you know, I mean he’s got gray hair, he’s got a big potbelly, he’s got kids, he’s probably been divorced twice already, he’s owned a business or two. He’s been bankrupt, he has been divorced.
All these big adult issues, and the only thing I’ve complained about is my rocking, I mean yeah I did bankruptcy one time but I just don’t feel like an adult, I don’t feel like I have the issues that a lot of adults have.
Is that a good thing? Yes and no. I mean, I’ve also avoided a lot of reality. So it all depends on what you want guys. If rocking is getting in the way of your life, you know it might be something looking into you. You can always subscribe to my channel, and you can look into natural supplements and you can meditate, you can look into breathing techniques to calm yourself down, because people with Asperger’s can overreact to situations.
We’re in fight or flight, it’s us against the world sometimes it feels that way, I mean I had teachers picking on me, my parents picked on me, my childhood friends picked on me. I was gullible. I believed everything they said. I took everything literally, which is an Asperger trait and I got taken advantage of.
Then, I started destroying my own self with addictions, namely alcohol and drugs and cigarettes – and rocking 14 hours a day doesn’t really help the situation.
So hang in there guys, it is gonna be a wild ride but I am just really excited that people are finding this channel that rock back and forth so I thought I’d do another video about rocking back and forth today.
I hope this gives you some clarification of why we do it. We just want to feel good. We want to feel good in our own skin. We don’t want to feel like climbing out of our skin, so we look to self sooth. A lot of people self medicate with Asperger’s, they turn to drugs and alcohol, but there’s healthier ways to self soothe. So, I will talk to you soon. Hope this helps. Love you guys.
Here’s more Resources for Asperger’s and Addiction.