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Featured Confused about special interests

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Ihaveaspergers, Jan 1, 2021.

  1. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    My special interests are not a hobby, escape, or compulsion/obsession. Instead of using the special interest to avoid something, or escape something, or because I feel I have no choice, the special interests are a source of pleasure and gratification. I'm resilient, which means that when encountering a frustration of my aims, I don't give up readily. I might take a break, or come at the problem from a different direction. So as I see it, my special interests are wholly a positive aspect of my autism spectrum disorder. I just have to avoid boring people by talking about them!
     
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  2. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    And how to tan them.
     
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  3. Ihaveaspergers

    Ihaveaspergers Active Member

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    I'm not sure my issue is multi-tasking. When we sing, play piano or dance we have to put many different skills together. I try to practice different skills seperately and then put them together. People often start with many different skills at once.
     
  4. Sherlock77

    Sherlock77 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    My special interest/hobby for at least 10 years has been photography, in a sense it is also very much an obsession

    For the last year since I was laid off from my job I have gone out virtually every day to take photos, including during Covid, I have amassed a rather large portfolio of images during that time, there were times when job search was virtually impossible, now it's a little more possible to do

    So recently I will do job search activity in the morning before heading out for a walk, I also walk outside for the exercise and the fresh air, I've likely averaged 5 to 8 km of walking per day for the last year, and of course I'll take a few photos along the way

    My point though, I know other photographers in similar circumstances - with every day off - who might go out once a week... Even when I was working full time, virtually every Saturday was spent going for a walk and taking photos

    And someone mentioned about neglecting other tasks along the way, I definitely have done that at times
     
  5. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    A special interest is anything you are especially interested in. It doesn't need to be all consuming. It is just something that holds your attention and you receive pleasure from studying/thinking about/doing it. What makes it special is that you hold it special, not what some officious 3rd party in a white coat thinks of it.

    If a third grader can rattle off dozens of dinosaurs, what they ate and when they lived, good on them! I will happily feed them all the paleontology books they can handle.

    A special interest could be an avoidance behavior but usually isn't. I know if I am putting off something, I may immerse myself in something else I do want to do because it puts off the activity I really want to avoid. This is avoidance behavior. It is kicking the can down the road, aka procrastination. It is not a specifically autistic trait. It is extremely common among NTs as well.

    Even when it isn't avoidance, plenty of people will accuse you of "avoidance" in an effort to get you to do something they think you ought to be doing instead.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2021
  6. Ihaveaspergers

    Ihaveaspergers Active Member

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    I think you can see it as an aspie thing.
    Sure, all kinds of people have avoidance in their lives. You are correct.
    Some aspies have a lot of anxiety and frustration. This is why there can be some avoidance.
     
  7. Elbereth

    Elbereth New Member

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    Pursuing my special interests doesn't shut out the world, exactly, but they help me process. After I gave up on therapy I decided to sign up for piano lessons instead (I've played all my life but wanted help with technique and theory). It was a good call. An hour of practice is the most effective tool I have for coping with stuff, and it's a god-tier stim for me. Better than an hour of talk therapy by a lot.
     
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  8. Elbereth

    Elbereth New Member

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    I actually want to add—when I said I gave up on therapy, I don't mean to say I think talk therapy is inherently useless; I know many people find it very beneficial. I probably haven't found a therapist I "click" with properly, and combine that with insurance garbage and executive dysfunction and it just wasn't worth it for what I was getting out of it versus what it was costing me. I'm on better insurance now and should probably get back on that horse.
     
  9. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    [​IMG]
     
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  10. kbryson77

    kbryson77 Kristy

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    One of my special interests is knitting and related yarn/fiber topics. For me, it can be escapist, also a mental "home" wherever I am. But it also gives me a critical sense of productivity, which I lost when I stopped working. I literally drifted around the house after a bad hospital stay, until I picked up my knitting needles again. In that way, the interest has been therapeutic. It also functions as a focusing and calming mechanism for when I need to sit still and listen. When I really get into researching history and techniques or designing, it looks more like a "normal" special interest, I guess. So I guess my special interest ticks several functional boxes.