Thumb Sucking (Or self-calming, dependent behaviors) - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Thumb Sucking (Or self-calming, dependent behaviors)

I sucked my thumb up until a hit puberty (about 14). I stopped doing it in front of anyone when I was about 10, and stopped doing it outside the house when I was about 6.

Thumb sucking was obviously a self-calming activity, and when I stopped sucking my thumb at 14, I replaced it with hair-twirling. And as an adult, I've taken up smoking marijuana daily, and if I don't have any pot, I feel.... almost naked and insecure. If I go somewhere longer then 20 minutes away, I need to bring my weed with me.

Does anyone else have a history of thumb-sucking, or of any other behaviours that one uses to calm oneself--and then becomes dependent on it? Wondering if it's connected to SA at all.

"Ever wish you could freeze frame a single moment in your day, look at it and say "This is not my life"?" --Robin Williams, Mrs. Doubtfire
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 02:08 PM
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I do something similar when I'm anxious or nervous or just thinking too much. I tend to put my hand close to my mouth and pull at my facial hair. I haven't noticed other men doing this. It's a habit I'd like to stop. And I think you're probably right - it's probably a self-comforting technique, like thumb-sucking or hair-twirling, meant to distract us. I'm not sure if it's SA or OCD or a combination of both. As for the pot - I'd do the same thing when I had it around. Made people and the world seem a lot less threatening.

Anyway I like your photo. The treeline looks like it might swirl into the sky (or out of the little box it's in). I visited Vermont once and it was beautiful. Blueberries in the summer.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 02:35 PM
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As a kid I used to do hair-twirling all the time. Not really anymore. Nowadays, for some reason I feel better if I have a bottle of soda or something to drink. For example when I was working in an office I had to have a Pepsi or something at my desk and to carry around with me. Kind of like a security blanket.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 02:57 PM
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I do something similar. I don't suck my thumb or bite the nail. I basically just put the nail of my thumb in my mouth and move the tip of my tongue across it, and bite down slightly with my upper front teeth. It calms me for some odd reason. I usually only do it while I'm reading or otherwise concentrating intensely. I stop as soon as I'm aware that I'm doing it. I suppose it's a compulsive thing.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-12-2006, 01:16 AM
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^ I do that with all of my fingers...I occasionally get someone who feels the need to tell me to take them out of my mouth.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-12-2006, 01:59 AM
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ok.. this is weird, but I like to lightlypass my fingers over folded fabric, like my shirt or something. And also pinching folded fabric underneath my right thumbnail. I know, its weird.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-12-2006, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Anyway I like your photo. The treeline looks like it might swirl into the sky (or out of the little box it's in). I visited Vermont once and it was beautiful. Blueberries in the summer.
Hey thanks friend_z! Vermont IS beautiful in the summer but the winters can be rough. Right now it's in the 40's and all the snow is melting and it's kinda muddy and dirty!

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ok.. this is weird, but I like to lightlypass my fingers over folded fabric, like my shirt or something. And also pinching folded fabric underneath my right thumbnail. I know, its weird.
Oh that reminds me! I had totally forgotten, but I also used to play with this piece of "silky" fabric--I don't know what it's actually made of--while I sucked my thumb. I liked the texture.

Is thumb-sucking related to OCD?

"Ever wish you could freeze frame a single moment in your day, look at it and say "This is not my life"?" --Robin Williams, Mrs. Doubtfire
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-12-2006, 12:52 PM
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I used to suck my thumb til I was like 12-13ish. I would roll a lil fuzzy ball thingy on my top lip at the same time. I still always have a lil fuzz ball in my pocket I keep with me always. Dunno why but rolling a lil piece of fuzz between my fingers is totally calming.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-14-2006, 06:01 PM
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i do all of those things and more. i like to chew on my pinkys. during class i have to have a pen in my hand, and half the time i am scribbling. when outside i like to adjust my hat and check the time on my phone. whenever i am sitting i like to have a pillow and i play with the edges of the pillowcase. i never thought about it to much but i guess i have a million little things i do to make me feel more comfortable.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-01-2006, 08:22 PM
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i tap out song lyrics trying to find some that have syllables that end in a multiple of five. once i found the sonnets (written in iambic
pentameter --> all lines have ten syllabes) i took to memorising them and reciting them to myself whenever i feel anxious
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2006, 12:21 AM
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i wouldn't worry too much about such habits like thumbsucking. they don't do any harm do they?
watch a movie called 'thumbsucker '- might make u feel better about it.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2006, 12:30 PM
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Oh, um..i have a stuffed animal and i'm taking with me when i move out, i like to squeeze it when i'm feeling anxious or depressed.

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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2006, 03:18 PM
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When I was a kid, I used to suck on my left wrist (the top part) until I broke that wrist at the age of 9. After that, I developed a huge number of nervous habits to take place of that one habit. I got rid of nail biting but I still twirl my hair, bounce my foot, chew my lip and a number of others that I'm probably not aware of

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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2006, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
I have a stuffed animal... i like to squeeze it when i'm feeling anxious or depressed.
.........
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2006, 06:35 PM
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I started a similar thread, for me I need to have something in my mouth when i'm out in public, its usually gum, but I also chew my nails ( I know ick), toothpics/popsicle sticks, bottlecaps, whatever I can get my hands on thats not too obvious when its in my mouth.
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-03-2006, 05:22 PM
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i was never big on thumb sucking as a kid, but i definitely had my comfort habits. though i do have a little boy who sucks his thumb on one hand and twirls his hair with the other hand. it's pretty cute, he can't have the thumb in his mouth without the other hand going stright up to his hair. he walks around doing this all day, suck and twirl. i'm not sure if it's to cope with anxiety or what. it's probably completely normal behavior in a 20 month old.
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-04-2006, 12:10 PM
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i have a million little nervous habits. i **** with things constantly...whether its rubbing something a little bit, picking at something, chewing something, moving my tongue over my teeth, tapping my foot, or drumming on things with my fingers. ill often light up a cigarette even when i dont need one just because it gives me something to do with my hands. i know people notice, but when i stop i feel like im sitting or standing weird and people would notice that even more

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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-04-2006, 12:36 PM
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I also have alot of self-soothing behaviors, I am always doing something with my mouth, chewing gum, smoking, biting my nails, drinking diet pepsi(my fav). I still have my security blanket from when I was a baby and I still sleep with it every night.

Freuds theories on Psychosexual development are pretty interesting, these habits would be the effects of a problem during the oral stage:

http://www.victorianweb.org/science/freud/develop.html
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-04-2006, 03:44 PM
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I was a thumb sucker till about age eight. I also used to chew on my sleeves when I was six and seven, and my teacher would always tell me to stop

Nowadays, I got this crazy thing where I actually get satisfaction from taking a few strands of hair, making them into a circle shape with my fingers, and putting the circle under my fingernail and moving it around so it will tickle. I'm trying to stop lol.
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 10:38 AM
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I kind of rotate my foot. It calms me down a little bit. I also have a stuffed animal that I will hug when I'm nervous at night. I think it's more the smell and that I've had the stuffed animal since I was a child that comforts me, rather than that it's a stuffed animal. If that makes sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by friend_Z
I do something similar when I'm anxious or nervous or just thinking too much. I tend to put my hand close to my mouth and pull at my facial hair. I haven't noticed other men doing this. It's a habit I'd like to stop.
Lots of men do that! It's kind of a professor-y thing to do. You're supposed to say "Hmmmm" and squint a bit while you do it.
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