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A special interest in something you only partially like?

Discussion in 'Obsessions and Interests' started by musicalman, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. musicalman

    musicalman Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone,
    So a curious question has come to me. Do you have a special interest in something you never really liked all that much, but something still intrigues you enough to keep you coming back to it? I guess people go through that often with bands or TV shows. I dunno.

    I often develop these special interests when dealing with technical audio things. I hear something and will dislike it, but at the same time will be fascinated by an aspect of it. Often, this fascination leads me to want to discover how it works or how I can play with it. But, after I have seemingly found all the information I need or am able to find, I end up not having energy to use it. It's like, I get excited about one aspect of things, and almost forget that there is something beyond that excitement which needs to stick around if my interest is to continue.

    One example of many where this happened to me was when starting out with chiptunes. Part of me thinks chiptunes are fascinating, but another part of me doesn't feel that chiptunes have the warm vibrant qualities I like in music. Of course there's a lot of chiptunes out there, and I mean a lot, and there are definitely a selection of them I love. And there are no doubt others I will discover. But the average chiptune doesn't quite do it for me.

    When I first started tinkering with chiptunes though, that didn't matter. I just wanted to know how to make the chiptune sound. After spending a few months on and off with various tools, I finally felt satisfied that I had what I needed to make chiptunes, and I even had some grand plans of what I would do once I was good enough. But the novelty of it quickly wore off scarcely after putting down my first phrase, leaving me feeling a bit lost in my own head, wondering if anything I truly wanted, anything I could use for days and still feel like there was more to do was inside these tools.

    Even now, years later, I'll find myself trying a new idea here and there when I'm in the right mood, or saying "Wouldn't it be cool if program x had feature y?" Even though I'm a little older, and I know these fits of excitement/fascination aren't enough to sustain any kind of real interest, I still have to find an outlet for it. So I'll try random things, random tests to see if an idea could work, and a few times I've reached out to devs with ideas and even got them implemented. But after I've had a chance to burn the excitement off, the interest dissipates with it.

    Sometimes I'm happy for the time I did spend with my excitement, and for the things I've learned by doing the extra research. It boosts my confidence in my ideas. But other times, it depresses me. Why am I so easily interested in small aspects of things? Why do I find it so hard to say "I'm interested in this whole big thing which I would want to come back to again and again?"

    So yeah, do you think this is a common aspie thing, or just a symptom of an easily stimulated mind? Or maybe both?
     
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  2. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes I know what you mean. I suspect this is due to brain difference, around executive function. It's as if finding out about something is fascinating in itself, but leads to few or no actions? Even when I intended to go somewhere with it.

    This does seem a potentially useful way to be, it just doesn't follow a typical pattern, as neurotypical people might. Maybe we don't do anything because our way of seeing things has no validation, we don't know what we are for?
     
  3. dragonfire42

    dragonfire42 Perpetual outsider

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    What you’re describing sounds like what I refer to as a “minor obsession” (rather than a major one) (in my case, I use the term “obsession” because that’s what it is, plain and simple). That happens to me sometimes. For example, one time I was watching The X-Files (which was a major obsession at the time) and in an episode, Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease was mentioned, and my brain latched on to that, and that led to a need to find out everything I could about prions. Nothing particularly exciting to me about prions (or CJD), it just stuck in my brain (funny, since all known mammalian prions exist in the brain) and stayed there.

    I even sometimes get obsessed with things I flat-out dislike and want nothing to do with. Fortunately this usually only lasts for a week or two. But for example, there will be a movie I absolutely never want to see, ever, but at the same time it completely puts me off, I feel compelled to learn absolutely everything I can about it, or I will actively dislike music by a particular band but feel compelled to listen to it anyway. No interest whatsoever and I’m actively put off by it, but still I’m obsessed. I hate the idea of thinking of these things as “special interests” because to me, special interests are such a huge part of my life that they become part of my identity, and I absolutely do not want to associate my very essence with things like Septic Man and Cradle of Filth, it utterly disgusts me. So I call them temporary obsessions instead, which better reflects my lack of choice in the matter.

    All of my obsessions are liable to take over again at any time, including the minor ones and ones I actively dislike. It’s kind of like they all go into a collection that my brain randomly draws from every now and then. Things can be added to the collection but not removed.
     
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  4. musicalman

    musicalman Well-Known Member

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    Yay, looks like I'm not alone. Thanks for your responses!
    @Thinx I can relate to that, especially to your point about validation.

    Most people I know don't relate so well to my fits of fascination. They seem to take a "What the heck is the point of that?" approach. I understand why they'd think that, and I will on occasion take that line myself, but I am more apt to explore pointless things than dismiss them. That's probably one of my faults. What's worse, After a few days, a week, a month (I think a month is the longest short term obsession I've had) I won't care about it anymore, and then I'll realize that everyone who told me I was doing something pointless were the ones which had a point, and I'll feel foolish. It does mess with my feelings of validation. Fortunately I've found ways to make my wealth of random knowledge useful or to do something interesting with it. But still, there are brief depressive moments when I wonder if I actually do care about anything, or if my entire mind is formed by pointless obsessions. So yeah, I think validation describes perfectly what I struggle with most here.

    @dragonfire42 I can also relate. I have a number of those minor obsessions too (I can totally relate to the Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease thing). I had one with Alzheimers a few months ago because someone shared a link to a sad docu about it and it hit me a lot harder than I expected. I ended up reading a few books about Alzheimers, and I don't remember a whole lot about what I read, I just wanted to find something deep to snap me out of it. After about 4 or 5 days, I did snap out of it, but occasionally I'll go reread my favorite passages from those and will have to stop myself from having a relapse. While these obsessions can be exhausting at times, they don't really hit me that hard emotionally after they've passed.

    My obsessions start hitting me emotionally when they involve something close to my main special interest (music technology and synthesizers). I guess I'm so used to my childhood experiences, where anything related to that is automatically going to make an impression and inspire me. Now as an adult, I still have the impulse to run down a new path, but because I actually have knowledge and filters and whatnot which steer me toward certain things and away from others, it's harder for me to be inspired. So when something ends up being fueled by excitement and nothing more, I initially feel like I've wasted my time; I could just as easily have spent that time with something having real staying power.

    Sorry for rambling btw, this is just something I've never really tried to express before, and my thoughts are just coming together as I try to write this down.
     
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  5. Dadamen

    Dadamen Well-Known Member

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    I am obsessed with watching alpine skiing, but am afraid of doing it myself. Also, sometimes I force myself to go ride a bike, but later enjoy the ride.