Aspie = Anxiety, Right?
What would you say if I told you I’d been off of my anti-anxiety meds for more than a week now?
Would you contact the local police and tell them to be on alert? Would you contact the Highway Patrol and tell them to pull me over?
Would you dive for cover?
What if I told you that I hadn’t been on my anti-anxiety meds for over a week now and I felt good?
What if I told you that my resting heartbeat’s been in the 70s for the past few weeks?
What if I told you that last week was exam week; easily the most stressful week of my entire semester?
And you’re thinking something along the lines of, “and you chose to stop taking your anti-anxiety meds during exam week?!?”
What if I told you “yes”?
I’ve got two words for you: weighted vests.
That’s it. That’s the magic.
I got a weighted vest about a month ago. I’ve been wearing it at night, for an hour or so before going to bed, and then I go to sleep with it on top of me at nighttime. I fall asleep within 5 minutes; not because I’m exhausted, but because I’m relaxed. In fact, usually the more exhausted I am, the longer it takes to fall asleep because I can’t get my brain to turn off.
I didn’t buy a fancy vest made specifically for SPDs (Sensory Processing Disorder). No, I went the cheap route. I got my mother to buy me a vest for my birthday. I researched them all, trust me. I tried to avoid the ones with bad customer ratings. I tried to avoid the ones that were over $50. I tried to avoid the ones that were garishly ugly.
I specifically looked for ones that were “adjustable in weight.”
And I found one. Aspie’s aren’t trying to build muscle. We don’t need 20 pounds of weight. Me, the most I’ve found to need has been about 4 pounds. Tops. Up until exam week, this number was at 3 pounds. You spread the weight out: half on the back, half on the chest. And wait. Suddenly you discover that the word, “relaxation,” is not just a fad word. It’s not just something induced by drugs or a medium or whatever. It’s tangible. It’s in your grasp.
It’s on you. It’s in you.
You very suddenly realize that your body likes it. You suddenly realize that you are able to sit still more easily and concentrate on things–even when they don’t immediately interest you. Even just putting the weight in your lap does nearly the same thing. It’s calming.
I feel, when I get particularly anxious, that gravity is about to turn off and I’m about to fly into the air and lose what little control I have left.
In technical terms, the weights provide proprioceptive stimulation.
They give you what your body needs to calm down. To be aware of itself. To be aware of its limits.
And even more suddenly, I find myself able to do what I could do before my anxiety became too much to bear; only this time, it’s without the meds. This time, I can, in the words of my younger 3 year old self, do it “all byself myself.”
I’m not saying that this is the only solution or that I’m perfectly capable of everything. I’m just saying that right now, this is what is largely helping me out.
BTW, there’s a section on weighted vests in my sidebar. Just thought you might like to know. 🙂