I have ADHD, and a stereotypical symptom I experience is fidgeting.
The earliest ADHD symptom I can remember is fidgeting. Ever since kindergarten, I’ve bounced my legs under my desk. Sometimes it’s accompanied by finger-tapping. I remember having trouble doing mindfulness activities because I felt like I needed to move somehow.
In the past four years, I’ve started cracking my fingers. Every joint in my hand can pop because of the countless hours I’ve spent absentmindedly pulling and pushing on my knuckles. Sometimes, I do it so much that my hands are in horrible pain and I can barely move them.
I’ve been told various times that it’s annoying, that it’s disrespectful, or that I need to stop doing it. If I had a nickel for every time someone’s told me I’m going to have arthritis when I’m older, I would be rich.
However, I’ve never stopped. It’s not because I lack the ability to break bad habits, or because I hold a grudge against people who commented on it. It’s because most of the time, it doesn’t hurt me, but rather comforts me.
For people with ADHD, fidgeting is a way to expel the energy that our brain exponentially puts out. Fidgeting, while sometimes annoying to other people, is not something that should be repressed. It helps people with ADHD to cope with what happens in their brains.
Not fidgeting can make people with ADHD feel overwhelmed, and it makes us more prone to meltdowns. Fidgeting, when done in a non-harmful way, is a healthy behavior for people with ADHD.
I hope that this article helps people understand ADHD and its symptoms better. Remember to look out for your friends or family who have ADHD to make sure they’re taking care of themselves.