Compulsion compulsion Compulsion
Throughout my school career, I have been reprimanded for fidgeting and restlessness in class. The teachers who reacted to my strange behaviour often made the mistake of placing me in the front desk, right beneath their watchful eyes and sometimes stigmatizing me as undisciplined. My fidgeting would then be even more obvious, ceaselessly irritating them and resulting in more scolding.
It seemed to them like I was challenging authority, when in fact I was overwhelmed with anxiety and losing control over pervading patterns of movements, called compulsions. This is something I have always been aware of: irrational urges that crave for fulfillment and the constant fight to keep them at bay. Sequences of actions scream to be completed before I can move on to a daily task. To be able to ignore them, I had to learn to let go. Chains need not be linked; balance need not be maintained and every itch need not be scratched; imperfections are okay.
During highly stressful times I would fall victim to even harmful compulsions. Then, when I look in the mirror, every visible bump must be squeezed. Sometimes when the tiny bumps do not exfoliate, I would continue until I see blood. It ultimately leads to embarrassment and faint scars, even though I have never had true acne. I also rub and press hard on certain areas of my body. The favourites are my left eyebrow, the lower ridge of my ribcage, lower left abdomen and thigh.
Still today, certain aspects of my fidgeting manifest very often. I change my posture regularly, chew on plastic or rubber objects and tap my feet. Under normal circumstances I repress all these things, but anxiety amplifies every twitch and wayward motion, breaching my threshold of control. Although I do not have an attention deficit, I am very sensitive to all environmental stimuli and my brain is actively absorbing every sound or smell or movement around me, while I focus on my task at hand.
A major mistake that parents or caretakers make with children who have compulsions is to give them a stimulant like ritalin and expecting them to calm down. This actually exacerbates the compulsions or ticks and would have the opposite of the desired effect. These children are often misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, when it is rather a case of mild to full-blown OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.