Sir Alexander Crichton book: An inquiry into the nature and origin of mental derangement: comprehending a concise system of the physiology and pathology of the human mind and a history of the passions and their efects. In the chapter “Attention”, Crichton described a “mental restlessness”.
The grammar of the fidgets
Dr Crichton a, who later become the royal physician to the tsar Alexander of Russia observed “In this disease of attention, if it can with propriety be called so, every impression seems to agitate the person, and gives him or her an unnatural degree of mental restlessness. People walking up and down the room, a slight noise, in the same, the mowing a, the shutting a door suddenly, a flight excess of heat or of cold, to much light or to little light, all destroy constant attention in such patients. Inasmuch as it is easily is exited by every impression.” Crichton noted that they have a particular name for the state of their nerves, which is expressive enough of their feelings: They say they have the fidgets. Dr. Crichton suggested that these children needed special educational intervention and noted that it was obvious that they had a severe problem attending even how hard they did try. “Every public teacher must have observed that there are many to whom the dryness and difficulties of the Latin and Greek grammars are so disgusting that neither the terrors of the rod, nor the indulgence of any kind in treaty can cause them to give their attention to them.”
Crichton’s noted: ‘they have a particular name for the state of their nerves, which is expressive enough of their feelings. They say they have the fdgets” page 272.
Many Thanks to:
Professor Stanley Finger; at Washington University in St. Louis.