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a woman with four arms drawing, checking her phone, and fidgeting with the hair ties on her wrist

The Queen of Fidgeting

Have you ever had someone think you were being rude because you couldn't sit still or because you were constantly fidgeting? I know that feeling all too well!

For years I saw my fidgeting as a personal flaw. I hated it about myself and tried so hard to change it. I didn't understand how people could watch movies without also being on their phones or doing something with their hands. Or how people could sit around for hours talking with no other distractions.

I thought something was wrong with me, and I know many people probably thought I was being rude. However, I have recently discovered that this insatiable need to fidget or multi-task is a coping skill that my brain came up with to help me stay awake.

Movies = nap time

I can 100% guarantee you that if I am watching a movie and not doing anything else at the same time, I will fall asleep. Doesn't matter where I am, who I am with, or how much I want to watch what is on the screen. Narcolepsy will always win. UNLESS I am doing something else at the same time.

I have found my favorite thing to keep my brain busy while watching a movie is to draw. It keeps my hands busy, but it isn't too in-depth, so I can still focus on the movie's storyline.

Narcolepsy and social gatherings

Being an introvert with narcolepsy means that social gatherings are extremely exhausting. I have a very limited amount of time in me that I can use to be an active participant in social situations before my brain goes to sleep. If I push past this point, I become a shell of a person. My body is there, but my brain has checked out and is dreaming of sleep!

However, if I have something for my hands to do while I am listening and talking, I can last a little bit longer in these situations for some reason. My go-to in these situations is my phone. So trust me. I am not being rude when I start scrolling on my phone. I am not even reading what is on the screen; it literally just keeps my hands busy. It is helping me to stay awake and be able to participate.

Discreet fidgeting

Okay, this is my savior when it comes to fidgeting in situations when it is really not appropriate to do so. You can't really pull your phone out or start drawing during a work meeting or important event. So I have a few methods to discreetly fidget to keep myself awake. Trust me, it is better than falling asleep in a meeting.

This probably seems ridiculous, and I sure many people have thought that the hair ties on my wrist are a fashion statement, but they are my stay awake lifeline. I find myself wrapping the hair tie around my fingers, and just having something to do with my hands can help me if I am really desperate.

Sometimes sleep still wins

All this being said, sometimes I can try everything and nothing will work. Sometimes sleep still wins, and no matter how much I fidget, I will still doze off. But there have been times where this insatiable need to fidget has gotten me through.

Does fidgeting help you stay awake in social or work settings? Do you have any go-to tricks to share with the community? Tell us in the comments below!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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