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  1. #1

    Alright I know this is weird but...

    I have two weird habits that i have somewhat of an explanation for, but my knowledge of psychology is limited to only a 1st year student.

    My first interesting habit, which I know is stress triggered, is similar to nail biting, except, its not my nails... its the hair on my arm.

    Now... I'm going out on a limb here, kinda like Freud did, in guessing where this habit came from. People tend to enjoy, in a weird way, some of the smells that their own body creates. Well, if my arm is wet, and I smell it, in a weird way, my brain likes it. But if other people were to smell it, they wouldn't like it.

    So.... if I constantly wanted to smell my wet arm in combination with an oral fixation such as biting, I would have a habit of biting my arm hair. (The wet comes from the saliva in the mouth)

    Ok the next weird habit is that I bonk my head on my pillow at night, right before falling asleep, and not hard. I can easily not bonk my head, but there is something about it that feels nice when I do it. I heard this once before in a case dealing with an autistic person, by I'm not autistic at all.

    Now that you've read this post and are probably thinking... this guy's really weird. Well... I'm really not.... neither of these habits affects my daily life in any way. I maintain a 3.8 / 4.0 gpa with advanced calc and physics, have a great group of friends, and show no signs of brain detereoration or disability.

    Its just that well... i wanna know what in the world is going on inside my head that makes me do these things. Please be respectful as I have already been harassed enough about this.

  2. #2

    Alright I know this is weird but...

    Habits/quirks such as what you are describing are probably more common than you think. Where they come from is probably a function of individual history more than anything else...

    It could be a mild form of OCD or something similar though... Do you know if there is any history in your extended family (grandparents, parents, siblings, uncles and aunts, cousins, etc.) of anxiety disorders, excessive worrying, perfectionism, depression, ADHD, etc.? Or do you yourself have any of these characteristics?

  3. #3

    Alright I know this is weird but...

    Actually, my two uncles on my dad's side have ADD. My dad doesn't have any disorders. My great grandfather on my mother's side had the characteristics of an alchoholic, but he was a sober alchoholic (characteristics of rage without the influence of alchohol). My grandfather on my mother's side had rage problems.

    Ive looked through countless descriptions and tutorials on ADD, ADHD, and OCD and can truthfully say that I have some of the symptoms from each, but doesn't everyone? I can focus fine in class, when reading (only topics that interest me). When it comes to projects (building, editing, modifying) I like to have them done as soon as possible, as efficiently as possible, and hate being distracted while I'm doing them.

    I'm always thinking about something, about a past conversation... what someone else was thinking when i talked to them, about a future event, about organizing a checklist in my mind of things that I am going to do. I can't remember the last time I just sat and pondered absolutely nothing.... that would be nice.

    The largest part of what I usually contemplate is the existence of God and my relationship with him. Its like a virtual war of "atheist vs theist" takes place in my mind day, after day, after day.

  4. #4

    Alright I know this is weird but...

    I would explore this as one of two things:

    1. Nothing to worry about... just a couple of examples of those little "comfort" behaviors many people have; or
    2. A manifestation of OCD, given the intrusive and somewhat obessional thoughts. You might find some counselling/therapy to be helpful, or CBT -- but see some of the discussions in the OCD thread.

    But if you don't feel that any of these things are impeding your life in any significant way, then you probably don't need to do anything. They may become more pronounced when you are stressed or anxious and looking for general relaxation and stress-coping strategies might be helpful.

    I agree with youm by the way: Most of these things are on a continuum. For example, most of us show SOME ADHD traits or some OCD traits, but not enough or not severely enough to meet the criteria for the diagnosis or to require treatment.

  5. #5

    Alright I know this is weird but...

    Hey thank you for taking the time to respond to my posts. I just wanted to make sure I didn't have some degenerative brain thing going on.

    I'll check out those OCD threads... by the way, are you a psychologist, therapist, teacher? ... where do you get your expertise?

  6. #6

    Alright I know this is weird but...

    I'm a psychologist - I have a private practice in Ottawa - I no longer teach (no time) but I did for a number of years.

  7. #7

    Alright I know this is weird but...

    David, anyway this could be a sensory integration issue? I know that some people seek sensory input just as some people avoid it. "Bonking" the head could be self-soothing in it's own little way. Don't some people do these sorts of things for the sensory stimulation? Same goes for smelling. Shoot. I do that. If it calms you down, you do it. Nothing wrong with that. My daughter constantly has her hair in her mouth. That or she twirls it. I for one twirl or pull my hair because it just feels good. There are times when I can't take too much in but there are other times when I just crave more stimulation, like rubbing my hand on bark.

    I could be totally off on this but I thought I would bring it up.

  8. #8

    Alright I know this is weird but...

    The beautiful thing about psychology and the human brain is that there is rarely just one right answer or explanation.

    Your sensory stimulation theories may not be too far from the truth.

  9. #9

    Alright I know this is weird but...

    Certainly, Ash... like what I called "comfort behaviors"...

  10. #10

    Alright I know this is weird but...

    That's why I was curious. There's a difference between doing something out of anxiety (like biting your nails) and seeking sensory stimulation. I don't necessarily see things like my hair pulling to be comforting; they just feel good.

    Ahh. Psychology is so confusing. LOL

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