Last week I had two appointments – Dr W on Wednesday and Dr P on Thursday. I get very anxious at the appointments and wring my hands a lot. This week, however, I wrung my hands a bit too much and ended up with this:
I’ve had blisters on my hands from wringing them before, but this is the first time I wore my skin down to the point where I was bleeding. I think it was worse this time because I had both appointments one day right after the other, and my Dr W appointment went longer than usual. It may also be because it’s warmer out now so my hands are a little clammier and sticky than they were in the winter.
So, to prevent this from happening again, I need to do one of two things: stop wringing my hands, or find something else to channel my anxiety into when I’m at my appointments. Since it’s extremely unlikely that I’ll be able to just tell myself to stop wringing my hands, I’ll need to find something to fuss with instead of my own skin. Whatever it is, I’ll be taking it to appointments so it has to fit the following criteria:
It has to be small enough to fit in a pocket or my hand,
It can’t make noise, and
It can’t require a distracting amount of thought to use.
Fidget spinners are popular nowadays (I have two) but I think they’re probably a little bit too loud and distracting to use when I’m in a session. I also have several large toys that can be formed to make different shapes, but they’re too large and would distract me from what I’m supposed to be doing during the sessions. J made me two large skeleton keys with beads hanging from them that I use a lot at home when I’m having a rough day, but I think they’re a bit too big to do the trick.
I’ve been adding things to my Stress Box since I posted about it last year. I opened it up and found three things that I think will fit the bill:
On the left is a little beanbag that J’s cousin made for me. This is the second iteration of the beanbag – I wore through the original ones she made pretty quickly so she used extra thick fabric this time. I haven’t worn through any of the new ones yet. It makes the barest whisper of sound when I use it.
In the middle is the good old fashioned stress squeeze ball that my sister gave me. This is a little big to fit comfortably into a pants pocket but I can carry it around in my hand with no problem. I think there’s sand inside of it and it makes some noise when I squeeze it.
The third item is this weird little ring that I got from my sister:
It is made of a piece of spring that stretches when you put it on your finger but is quite tight. The spring is formed into ridges that press into your finger skin while you roll it up and down your finger. It feels very strange when it rolls around and is completely silent. The only downside to this is that it’s small (so it might be easy to lose) and it’s a very different kind of action with my hands than I usually do. I wonder if I’ll put the ring on and then go wringing my hands anyway.
I think I’m going to start with the beanbag. It will keep both of my hands occupied, is almost silent, and will easily fit into my pocket.
What kind of objects do you use to direct your nervous energies into?