Keeping our hands busy from picking, pulling, biting or any other BFRB is probably one of the most difficult things to accomplish. Finding something that accomplishes that same behavioural need, or is at least powerful enough to distract us from it is something that many of us struggle with every day. The message boards are full of requests for suggestions and responses of what has worked for each of us individually.
And I think that’s the key: realizing that we have to find out what is going to work for us as individuals.
With so many products out there, it can be hard to decide what is going to be a good fidget fit for us and which is not. We might look at something, think it looks great and buy it, only to discover that it isn’t so helpful to us after all. So do we just keep emptying our pockets until we find something that works? For the vast majority of us, that just isn’t financially possible. So what do we do?
Something I’ve realized lately is that I fidget with a lot of everyday objects—my phone, pens, string or laces, and so on. I’m sure lots of us do this sort of thing, fidgeting with objects that don’t have the label fidget toy. Paying attention to how we fidget with these items might give us a clue as to what kinds of actual fidget toys we may want to buy.
Paying attention to the actions of our hands with these items could tell us what we should be looking for. For instance, I spin my phone on tables or a pen in my hand, and wrap string or laces around my fingers then unwrap and rewrap and so on. I’ve tried a couple of fidgets that looked cool to me—both snake bracelets, but different kinds. They just didn’t do the trick because they didn’t have the same sort of malleability as string or laces.
There are two fidgets that have worked for me, personally. A spinner ring to fill my need to spin things (I even used to spin my non-spinner rings) and a Tangle, which I can wrap my fingers around much in the same way I can with string and the parts are easy enough to move. These are just actions I do anyway, enjoy to do, and they help keep my hands busy. So even though I’m not using a fidget to fulfill my BFRB need, it is enough to keep my hands away.
Realizing that I should just translate my already fidgety nature to a fidget toy is a revelation of sorts, which brought another with it: our fidgets don’t have to mimic our behaviours.
That got me thinking, too. Why should we mimic the behaviours we’re trying to break or distract ourselves from? Sure, we could be trying to satisfy that BFRB need in our brains, but maybe instead we should be trying to override that need. Why just transfer the action from our heads, hands, skin or otherwise to an object? Take the distraction further by having it let us forget the BFRB all together, even if only for a little while. A little while is better than nothing, and who knows? Maybe after a while, the behaviour won’t be as strong within us.