1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Featured Doctor: "Obsession not weird enough"

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Pats, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +7,915
    I was diagnosed with autism but one thing still irritates me about the doctor that gave me my diagnosis. He was asking about obsessions and actually told me mine were not unusual enough to fit the category of autism obsessions. It's not the subject, but the obsession that makes it an obsession. Right? Seriously if you go by the subject - ok, bugs are acceptable according to him. Why? Are autists the only people that have an interest in bugs? Or dinosaurs? Or rocks?

    Actually I had a strong interest in rocks when I was young - BUT, other than the backyard and driveway and a two-book encyclopedia set, I didn't have much access to anything else. So therefore it doesn't count.
    I mentioned to him that when I was a teenager I was obsessed with my music. His response was that all teenagers have an interest in music. No - they all enjoyed the music, but I had to know every bit of information accessable on the album cover - who played what instrument, who wrote the lyrics, who wrote the music, any information available I had to know it. I could tell by the sound who was playing - I knew who had what sound. I would lay with earphones on and just hear each sound and pick out who was playing what and who was singing which part. I had to know all these things. Anyone else I knew didn't care, they just either liked a song or not. But because it isn't a subject that's way out there, it wasn't an obsession?

    There are no possible subjects that are way out there.

    Summer before last I started watching grizzlies at Brooks Falls in Alaska. I knew them by name and they each had their own habits and ways of catching fish and ways of eating fish and their own personalities. My favorite was 'Backpack' - he pounced on the fish and it reminded me of my dog, Honey. But I spent hours every day watching them and studying how each had their own traits and how each reacted to the others - by the way - they all had their own spot at the falls and all respected each others' spot even when that bear was not present.

    So do you think it's the subject matter or the amount of time and study that makes something an autistic obsession?
     
    • Like Like x 8
  2. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    22,856
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Karma:
    +28,193
    Very interesting question, Pats. My answer? Both- and neither.

    I mean, who is to say that a medical professional can parse one's special interests to use it as a basis to determine one being on the spectrum to begin with? This sounds more like Neurotypical bias than a competent medical distinction.

    People on the spectrum can have a number of intense interests, whether they are subjectively deemed as "strange" or not. This seems to be a stretch to want to identify only interests that may or may not be considered "odd" by the masses. A notion that to me personally, smacks of bias on behalf of a social majority. Not cool.

    Ironically given my OCD issues that such a mentality would probably have no problem diagnosing me on the spectrum. Where my "weirdness" would put me over the top. Yet I have other interests that seem pretty mainstream. So what? :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    4,968
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Karma:
    +10,883
    The good doctor has some weird ideas. Does that make him autistic? :D
     
    • Funny Funny x 6
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    22,856
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Karma:
    +28,193
    I suppose this doctor probably assumed that everyone in "The Addams Family" was on the spectrum too.



    I agree with Lurch on this one. :rolleyes:
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Shamar

    Shamar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    352
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2018
    Karma:
    +899
    Define obsession. Define weird. I suspect this doctor does not know either one. I am constantly forming collections, often I don't realize until later that I have a collection. Think about it: are you watching the bears or collecting them? A collection does not have to be something you put in a box. I started collecting rocks at age 6. Studied them, looked for new varieties. Was it a collection? Certainly; organized, identified, cataloged, each in a separate compartment. Was it an obsession or interest? Debatable; I'm now a geologist, still collecting (although the collection is a little more exotic now). One of the autistic traits is the interest in parts of things. When I build ship models (I have quite a !collection!), I will often spend an inordinate amount of time getting some little detail right that nobody else would notice. This probably enters into obsessive. Weird? Probably not, but the obsession with parts and detailing could be considered autistic traits. With your music, it is not the music itself that shows autism, it is the obsession with the parts that indicates autism.

    I see nothing in the diagnostic criteria that says weirdness in an obsession is required.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Useful Useful x 1
  6. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,571
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    Karma:
    +4,360
    I would have been tempted to ask, "Are you coaching me?"

    I will accept that some topics are things that society in general has an obsession with - stardom, reality TV train wrecks, and sports for example. If someone has an obsession with those, it's viewed as "normal."

    To identify a true, capital-O Obsession, I think they should consider the degree to which someone takes it. Does the subject just buy People magazine to see some tidbit about a star, or do they have a scrapbook and shrine at home? Does the person talk politics when politics comes up, or do they try to steer every single conversation to politics and leave if it's not the topic?

    It sounds like your doctor just wanted to check boxes, not actually do any in-depth conversation and observation. (I say this from reading your short post and checking boxes, not actually observing your doctor. :eek:)
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2019
    Karma:
    +1,004
    I miss Lurch.:(
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. NothingToSeeHere

    NothingToSeeHere Asexuowl V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,291
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2014
    Karma:
    +2,451
    I read that this is one of the reasons that women/girls are less likely to be diagnosed, because our obsessions have a tendency to be less unusual and so go unnoticed. Personally my obsessions are very normal (fiction) until you find out I re-read the same book dozens of times in a row. The team which diagnosed me certainly thought that this counted as autistic special interests.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +7,915
    Actually, I love rocks - always have - and have quite a collection and assortments of rocks all around my house. And I'd probably hang onto them closer than I would most things I own. lol I do remember a little box of labeled rocks that I got for Christmas one year because my mom knew I loved rocks. But I never became a geologist and I never owned a 'pet rock.' (Not sure who will remember those.) :)
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
  10. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +7,915
    Yes, I repeatedly watch or listen to the same things over and over, and over the years, these things have not changed. My likes and dislikes have not changed. My fashion style is pretty much what it has been the last 50 years. (clothes, purses, shoes, etc and it's hard to find what I like lol). I guess, other than aging physically and what I've learned by life, I got stuck in the 65-75 decade. lol
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  11. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor

    Messages:
    6,343
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2016
    Karma:
    +5,811
    He needs to pull his head out of his backside
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor

    Messages:
    6,343
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2016
    Karma:
    +5,811
    I miss cousin it
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor

    Messages:
    6,343
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2016
    Karma:
    +5,811
    you’re doing what I do if somebody questions me I start to analyse myself
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. HidinginPlainSight

    HidinginPlainSight Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    201
    Joined:
    May 14, 2018
    Karma:
    +353
    I like bugs, dinosaurs and rocks.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,571
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    Karma:
    +4,360
    Overanalysis isn't in the DSM, but it should definitely be one of the autism checkboxes.

    Doctor: Do you have any extreme obsessions?

    Me: What topics count as obsessions? How many hours per day do you have to do it for it to be an obsession? What if it's a normal interest, but I take it too far? How far is too far? What if I am constantly flitting from one obsession to another? Do you measure how long someone can go without an obsession?

    Doctor: <Checks overanalysis box>
     
    • Funny Funny x 5
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 2
  16. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,556
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    Karma:
    +11,744
    It sounds like that doctor wasn't very experienced, drawing knowledge from whatever textbook he studied on the subject while at college. Or ticking boxes. If he had met a lot of autistics, then he's know that 'special interests' can range from the extraordinary, to the mundane. It's not uncommon for autistic people to be into football or a popular TV show or band. Or animals, or video games; loads of autistic people are into video games, in an era where video games are part of mainstream culture.

    It's not the obsession itself that is important, but its intensity.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Winner Winner x 1
  17. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor

    Messages:
    6,343
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2016
    Karma:
    +5,811
    Would you believe I thought you were talking about Doctor Who
     
    • Funny Funny x 4
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,870
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,662
    Doctors are different. My doctor is pretty good. My obsessions aren't all that intense but they're there. Just because your obsessions aren't extreme that doesn't or shouldn't mean you're any less Autistic.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    170
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2019
    Karma:
    +299
    This is my understanding of what “intense interest” means, too. The doctor who diagnosed me told me about a little autistic boy she knew who loved vacuum cleaners. He knew absolutely everything about them, he never wanted to talk about anything else, and whenever he interacted with anyone, he would always steer the conversation to vacuums, vacuums, vacuums.

    In the days before TV and Internet, people did all sorts of things that nowadays would be considered intense. I saw a YouTube video one time of an autistic girl who in college decided to read all of the Nuremberg trials transcripts, and she thought this qualified as an intense interest. Again, pre-TV and pre-Internet, there would be nothing unusual about that.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +7,915
    The pre-tv and pre-internet does make a difference. With internet you can learn as much as you possibly can about a subject. Before that, you had only what you had access to - which, with music was the album covers and inserts. :)
     
    • Agree Agree x 3