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Multiple Obsessive Interests - Motivation

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Unspired, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. Unspired

    Unspired Active Member

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    I know it is an Aspie trait to have obsessive interests. For me, however, I have something I'll be intensely motivated to do for a week, and it will be the meaning of my life.

    An example: one time I became obsessed with dimensions, and the way they built on each other, and what they meant, and how they could be connected to reality. I would bring up dimensions into anything I did, talk about them with anyone I could. When I first discovered the concept I was fascinated and I felt like my whole perception of life had changed and would be changed for my entire life. The motivation was intense, and I couldn't stop thinking about it.

    I actually did learn a lot of interesting stuff about dimensions and reality, but I feel like I was living in a different world. Now I'm back to boring reality, possibly because I learned all I thought there was to learn and analyse with respect to dimensions. From this perspective, I can't understand how I was so motivated to learn about dimensions.

    This has happened many times throughout my life with many different subjects. Dimensions is one example of dozens. I remember an even stronger motivation with theoretical astrophysics and string theory (which I think is what led me to dimensions). Afterward I may feel a period of no motivation / almost depression. Until I find the next topic to fall in love with. Currently in that stage of depression, recovering from obsessively trying to learn a language in a week.. didn't work. I learned an amazing amount though.

    Too many interests in my brain can't choose one and just go with it.

    I'm curious if this is a result of a combination of ADHD and Asperger's of some sort. Anyone else experience things like this?
     
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  2. tlc

    tlc The Mackinac Bridge and U.P. is my happy place.

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    Yes that describes me quite well. Part of why I have so many unfinished projects laying around. I get on these kicks of learning everything I can about one thing, usually till something else takes over. That something else might be another interest, or might be a bad situation in my life.

    Then I look at this stuff and know I really wanted to finish it, but just don't have the obsession or deep level of thinking I had at the time that would allow me to finish it. Like modding my Hammond organ for better sound. I found pictures and a schematic but no board layout for this tube preamp using Russian tubes. Others on the forum had given up due to lack of info, but I was able to design the board and at least make a functional one. Then I started modding a couple other boards based on things I read, but all of a sudden lost interest a couple years ago. Now it's kinda half done and I'm gonna have to force myself to finish it sometime. Same with the leslie cabinet, I got all these parts and drew up detailed plans on how to build one, but just lost interest. Maybe if I force myself to finish it and hear how good it sounds, I'll regain interest. Lately I've been buying a ton of dirt cheap used music at the resale shops with good organ parts, but I think it might be too much. Like you say, too many options now.

    This is why I don't throw so many things away, because there is so much potential and sometimes I do regain interest. Like with this homemade car snowplow, I spent a day out measuring fittings and then drew up plans but wasn't quite sure how to finish so I gave it up but kept what I did. 3 or 4 years later it came back and I was able to finish the design and build one that worked. Same with the custom disc brakes I made for my camper trailer, in 2002 I had it torn apart and did the design and made most of the parts, but the electric over hydraulic actuator cost too much so I shelved it, and wrapped up the parts in plastic bags. In 2006 I found one used and cheap and then finished it all.

    It would be so nice to regain interest and finish all these projects, but generally other interests pop up.

    When I built that bass in the obsessions thread. I spent the a ton of time reading and learning about how they worked, and the theory of the truss rod, so I could come up with a design on my own that worked. As with most projects, it's tough to actually make the first move to get started, then once I get into it with my oddball obsessive ways, part of me says "are you nuts? I can't believe you are actually doing this". But I keep going and often end up with something different than what you can buy, but without the shortfalls as I've made it perfect for what I want or need.

    I've thought about possibly ADHD, but I always figured ADD/ADHD was the inability to concentrate at all. I can go for hours or all day obsessively buried in something, and often with things like multipage schematics that's the only way I can understand them. And often that's the only way I can do the larger projects of my engineering job. They always give me the big weird special stuff because as opposed to the other engineers there, my mind works better for that. Like usual, tough to get started till I pore over it enough to make the first move, but once I get going it comes faster.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014
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  3. shakeitup94

    shakeitup94 Well-Known Member

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    Yeh I'm fairly similar I have what I consider 3 levels almost at all times. One is earthquakes, which is always there, always the most important thing, and has been there since I was 6. Level two last roughly 3 months to a year often going in and out of huge to some interest. This always goes away due to replacement. This can include hobbies like video making, writing, tv shows ect. Then level 3 is hat you're describing. Short one or two week hobbies that I've stumbled across and rediculously researched and looked into and become a mini temporary expert and goes away on its own or is replaced. These vary on topic from history to biology to anything. Then yeh once I loose interest I don't know what to do anymore but I always fall back on earthquakes so I'm ok in that respect.
     
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  4. King_Oni

    King_Oni Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Oh, this sounds so familiar. It's like others pointed out; I have a lot of unfinished projects around.

    I've started college and university courses on the whim of obsession. I just know that if I'm not obsessed (or intensely interested) about the subject, it just does not register at all. There's a lot I don't really care for and a few things I care for a lot. And while I can totally deal with a disappointment every once in while... I can't keep an obsession fueled when disappointment piles up. A bitter pill to swallow, sure thing... but at some point it feels like I'm downing the entire jar. On a daily basis.

    Then there's a few reasons why obsessions fade.

    Often it's financial. If I can't maintain some activity that costs money, I'm likely to lose interest and motivation fast. And the fact that most of my interests tend to cost both money and time... a lot of time, it's somewhat not viable to keep them all going that much unless I find ways around it. And being unemployed and acting like a duracell bunny in that I don't sleep that much, my days become quite long and there's a lot of time to spend on obsessions.

    Sometimes there are practical reasons why I can't stick with something. For years I was active as a hobby musician, I was in local bands, I worked my ass off in said projects. I wrote lyrics, wrote guitar parts, did a lot of electronic stuff (beats, synthesizers), made banners to put up for stage shows, created a website (and eventually learned to design in Flash, back in the day, just for sake of creating a website of my band), I've spend loads of money on equipment... in short, the only part my bandmembers did have to do was show up to rehearsals and play the stuff I wrote. For years that was my daily drill. Though when reality hits and it's hard to come by people with the same idea of music you're creating, you notice you're putting too many resources in it, and performing on stage is not as much fun as you thought it was, it's where I decided to just lay low in terms of music production. And that actually still is my issue now, after over 5 years. I don't even know for who I would create music anymore. I just can't do stuff "just because" I need to have goal, and I have yet to find a goal...

    Then there's other practical issues I run into every now and then. One of my current big hobbies is miniature painting, though it's not neccesarily just painting. I like to paint tabletop wargaming miniatures, which, like the name implies, are used for tabletop wargaming. The fact that there is such a small group of people in my area into these things, doesn't really invite me to step up and get busy. The only reason I get busy is so I don't succumb to some kind of boredom and to satisfy my interest.

    In the past I've tried languages only to realize that I need to have a goal why I would learn it. I can't learn a language "just for me". But if I had a goal in mind I'd probably get to it and be decent in a new language pretty fast. But the fact that I might want to learn Russian, but I don't intend to visit Russia next month is not a good motivator. For some stuff I think I just need real world application to feel it's worth my time anymore. I guess this thing about music I spoke about in this post is similar.

    However, I think I do manage to stick to a few hobbies pretty well currently, even if I might have superficial reasons... or it's a "well, I like this. period.". That's actually what gets me out of bed on a daily basis.

    I can't even begin to think about and worry how this would pan out if I don't have 24 hours a day at my disposal to obsess about things. This already was a problem in school for me, up to the point where a school psychologist told me "you can't function without 24 hours to yourself... on a daily basis". Perhaps that was already an indication for some stuff I'm having issues with adjusting currently still (and that was over 10 years ago).
     
  5. karla

    karla Well-Known Member

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    That sounds very familiar to me too. If I don´t have a strong intrest there´s no point for anything, I feel lost and bored to dead. I need something to focus on; when I don´t have anything I get deppresed. I´ve had many strong intrests. Right now it is rocks, and I feel great, strongly motivated. I´ve always been searching for something that will stay there forever with me. I hope this is it
     
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  6. Waltram

    Waltram Active Member

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    I am an unusual Aspie in that I have many strong and/or obsessive interests, perhaps due to my slight ADHD and my desire to understand everything in life and the universe. Most are intellectual interests (I also have high IQ). When I was 18 it was really hard for me to choose a subject at university as I wanted to learn almost everything. I am interested in all sciences, but also in psychology, anthropology, history, languages, economics, law... On the other hand in all my adulthood I have had zero interest in sports, cars, music or anything not intellectual.
     
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  7. epath13

    epath13 the Fool.The Magician.The... V.I.P Member

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    Yes, I can relate. My solution - to combine them. The only problem I face - where am I going to find time to become good at everything I want yo be good at, where am I willing to compromise? I'm writing a book, I think it's pretty unique. But it requires me to be good at writing, have knowledge about lots of things, be a good artist, narrator, musician, singer, producer, business person (that's the most vague part). Sometimes I think I'm not good enough at any of it, but I want to do it all [emoji15] [emoji16] [emoji4] sometimes I think I'll be creating this thing until I die, sometimes I think this book is some sort of a virus that I have caught and it causes an illness I can never get rid of. I don't know whether it's going to lead to something wonderful for my family and I, or its going to destroy me. Regardless of the possible outcome, I can't stop. Anyway. .. think about combining all your interests, if you can't choose.
     
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  8. Balkan1996

    Balkan1996 Well-Known Member

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    I relate. I have ADHD.

    Is it connected to ADHD? Hmm, why would it be? I see my ADHD as just an add-on for my ASD, like an additional symptom. I think that intensity is just a product of ASD.
     
  9. NewOldAspie

    NewOldAspie Active Member

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    Ditto, except getting older, poorer, and other things, such nothing seems to get done, unless life dependent. But I sure did what appears now to be some strange things, and costly too. Funny pages now.