Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on Sept 20, 2022. The video’s public release will be Nov 16, 2022.
Hi, everyone Lyric here. Do you stim with music? Do you stim by humming, singing, dancing, or participating in flow arts, while you’re listening to music? Do you listen to the same song on repeat?
You might be rhythmically stimming. If you would like to know more about this, please do stay tuned.
Everybody stims, but Autistic People stim more, because many of us struggle with dysregulation -having too little or too much energy, or sensation, in our body.
When there’s an overwhelming sensation in our body, we can build up energy, and stimming can help release and regulate that energy.
There’s a lot of stimming that we do that is subconscious, which means we may not even realize we’re doing it.
Think rocking, pacing, chewing on our fingernails, twiddling our hair. Those things we’re not necessarily aware we’re doing it. We do them quite naturally, just when we feel anxious, or we’ve got too much energy in our body, or we’re uncomfortable. Maybe because of the sensory environment… because that’s a current onslaught for a lot of us.
These stims are subconscious, but there are also more conscious things that we do for stimming, which is tied into sensory seeking.
One of my main stims, since I’ve been a very, very, young Autistic Person, has been revolving around music: singing, humming, dancing, rhythmically making up lyrics to things- rhythmic stimming.
This goes far beyond listening to the same song on repeat, while that is something that yes, I do as well. This is me memorizing songs, and song lyrics, and constantly singing them, verbally stimming with songs, listening to the same song on repeat, yes, but also dancing to music.
All of the flow arts, hula hoop dance and roller skating, is doing repetitive movements- unplanned movements, to music.
A lot, throughout my entire life, has been stimming with music, which is literally one of the main reasons I picked the name Lyric, because music is such an integral, and important, piece of my life.
If I am feeling overwhelmed, stressed, too, amped up, or have too much energy in my body, I can put on a slow, calm, relaxing, or happy song, and because I have a very sensitive sensory system, that can help slow, and cheer me up, because I am very easily influenced by things I am listening to… the sensations that are coming into my body. I can use that to my advantage.
Likewise, if it’s in the morning, or I have something I need to do that I need more energy for, and I’m struggling to get my energy up. I’ve always been able to use music. I’ll put on some happy, energetic, uplifting music, if I’m feeling slow, and that can bring my energy level up.
Music, for me, is just this really important regulation tool, that has been a constant friend with me for most of my life.
I was the teenager that was always walking around and always had headphones on and had my music with me everywhere I went, and now as an adult, not really much has changed. I’ve got my iTunes and my iPhone, and I have my music with me everywhere I go. It, it’s just a really great tool for me.
Find it really interesting, now, looking back on the years before I knew I was Autistic, when I was really into roller skating, a lot of repetitive spinning in circles to music, doing the same moves over and over again.
I can’t plan my moves out very well. I struggle with planning a routine, but I can memorize moves and then spontaneously do them.
Same with flow arts. I gravitated towards this circus flow arts crowd, which is a very NeuroDivergent friendly kind of a crowd, I will say so myself.
I was basically just stimming with tools, spinning hula hoops over and over again in circles, spinning, different like kinds of balls on strings and spinning different kinds of hoops and, just spinning, and doing flow arts, doing aerial silks, all those things. It was very repetitive stimming motions, done to music. My love of music just ties it all together.
Music is what got me hooked on words, and it’s what caused me to speak early, because I had a little music book and a cassette tape, when I was about one and a half years old, full of Christmas carols. I started reading, partially, by learning to read the words in the Christmas little hymn book, because I just really was obsessed with singing those songs.
Since I was that young, preschool age, singing to myself has been one of my main stims. I was in choir all the way up from elementary school, up until high school.
I think it was sophomore or junior year, I got something funny with my throat. I assume vocal scarring.
Medical phobia, don’t go to doctor for things. Basically my voice got really sore. It was really scratchy, and I couldn’t really speak with a normal speaking voice without my voice cracking for like a year. Then for like two years after that, when I tried to sing, it would just go… nothing would come out. It was really painful, and it really sucked.
Before that, I thinking that I would go into music theory, and I would have some kind of career in music. I liked writing lyrics and writing music, and singing, and all these things. I just thought, even if I was behind the scenes, writing lyrics, or writing songs, music would be my life.
Maybe I would teach music. I didn’t know what I would do, but then when that happened to my voice my dream was really crushed, and I, I moved on to new dreams.
I was really angry at the world for a while when I lost that.
Around the time of being diagnosed Autistic, I was really starting to find that love for music again, because I was doing all of the flow arts.
The person who diagnosed me actually suggested, because I also had social anxiety diagnosis, in addition to the autism diagnosis, suggested that I continue to engage more with music, and do more singing, and do more music, and make more music… because being involved with music, in any capacity, whether it was dancing, singing, playing piano, creating music, was good for the brain, and good for anxiety, and good for mental health and healing, and recovery- which I think is really fantastic.
The more I learned about this tip that I was given, when I was diagnosed Autistic, six years ago, at this point, the more I see that there’s a lot of science to even back this up. Which is really, really spectacular, because music has always been my home.
So I’ve been doing a lot more singing. Not singing in front of anybody anymore. I don’t get on the stage and sing these days. I sing by myself, when I’m alone, or when poor David is having to listen to my singing.
It’s not on key. It’s not good. It’s just fun, and it’s something I do for myself, because it makes me feel good.
Similar to when I dance, I don’t dance because it looks good. In fact, I often assume when I dance, it probably looks like Peewee Herman to most people, but I’m not dancing for anyone else. I’m dancing for myself, and for the joy of just feeling my body move in a way that feels good and is expressing the feelings inside of me.
Sometimes that looks weird to other people, and I don’t care anymore. I don’t know how much of that is me, be, being now in my thirties, and getting old enough to where my give a darn is starting to be busted or not, but some things aren’t about other people, and my genuine joy, and expression through music, is something I do for me.
Alright, Autistic and NeuroDivergent People… Do you stim rhythmically? Do you stim with, or to music, by listening to the same songs on repeat, humming, singing, dancing? Do you do flow arts to music? Do you roller skate?
How do you stim with music? I’d love to hear your experience.
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