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When are you right now?

Bella Pines

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
There's a song I remember that goes something like "where's your head at...".

I suspect that people on the spectrum are rarely present in the now and don't always fully engage.

My head is always in the future, I'm so involved in what will happen that I barely notice what is happening. Sometimes I will make a sandwich, look down and it's gone. I've eaten it and have no memory of having done so (which is always a shame because I love eating).

Or I'll look down at my hand and actually be surprised at what I am holding. I won't have any memory of having picked it up.

So my head is either 5 years in the future or in my own fantasy worlds. Is this an aspie thing? Where (or when) is your head normally at?
It's true. I have to work at being In the Now. Because I am very future-oriented!
I love that song. My boyfriend often puts it on when I'm zoned out :D
I'm not the best at spending time in the present either. I'm currently worrying about finding a place to live in a different city so I can be closer to a job I haven't even had my interview for yet.

Honestly, one of my main reasons for doing drugs: they firmly grounded me in the present.
I am now.

I am so now that I carry a small notebook
with me because later I won't remember
unless I write it down.
That happens to me all the time: future, past, fantasy, writing something in my head or looking at the scene of a movie or book. I have to make an extra effort to be present or I will forget everything because I'm not paying attention. I am good at making that extra effort when something doesn't catch my attention 100%; (if it does interest me, then I am hyper focused and forget the rest of the world) but when I am stressed or tired, it gets more difficult and I zone out.

Yesterday my daughter passed her hand in front of my eyes because I was staring at the infinite, and I had to tell her the truth: "Honey, I'm so tired I have to zone out". She got it since she also does that frequently.

There's an awesome book with the movie based on it, that's called the "The time traveler's wife". The guy espontaneously time travels every time he looses focus in the present. So if he is not "completeley present" he time travels to the past or future, where his thoughts are (although he can't control it). He suffers because of that.

For me, what happens to him is a metaphor: every time I loose my self thinking of the past or future my present dissolves. It's good on occasions, but definitely not always, and we should be able to have some control of it, in order to not have out lives gone under out eyes without noticing.
I'm with just about everyone else here - I'm rarely in the present, in the "right now". I'm either always thinking about the past, making plans for the years to come, or drifting off in another world. The first I try not to do, because unfortunately I tend not to forget a whole lot and some of those past experiences weren't exactly pleasant.

Van Halen is more "right now" than I am or ever was:
Right now? I am reading this thread relieved that there isn't just me in the world spending extraordinary amounts of time in my head building a dream that may never happen, but it's a lovely daydream and means I can put off trying to make a decision on how I should spend the next hour of my life, garden? Chores? Cook?
Remaining in the present permanently feels restrictive, almost suffocating.
I find that being immersed in the Now
seems infinite, compared with thinking
about other times.

Past is a box.
It's all happened.

Future doesn't exist.

Now is what's happening.
Now is constant.
I try very hard to not dwell in a messed up past. I try really hard to not get way out in a future that cant be predicted, then I get stuck in a NOW and forget whatever I am doing...

frustrating... I go in a room, or to my truck, and have to stand there and re-think why am I there?
Makes me feel really stupid sometimes.
I am in the now, but always thinking about the past and what a mess my life is in Now. So I spend so much time in my head that I easily forget things. Hard to focus and keep my mind on the things I need to.
I'm in the future a lot of the time. I tend to plan it out all the time without being able to stop myself, and then comes the worrying. Whenever a sudden event of any sort strikes that has any chance of altering these plans for the worse, it makes me feel VERY uncomfortable. I do not adapt to any deviations well at all (unless they're good deviations), and even if there is no change I still tend to be anxious about something making these plans go astray. I just cannot stand all that uncertainty and instability, and people saying things like "what good will worrying do for you" and placing upon me the onus of explaining "why I worry" to them irks the crap out of me.

If I don't live in the future, I tend to daydream about the past. Especially when I'm unhappy, and that's pretty often I'd hate to admit. I go over a lot of happy memories from my past, just as though I was watching a video multiple times, constantly rewinding it. With my anxiety issues though, I always tend to find some sort of regret about my past, and with each set of happy memories comes a set of "what could I have done to make that even better?" and that just clouds the memories, making me daydream in a negative way. Banishing these regretful thoughts does work some of the time though - but only when I'm in a good mood.

Both future and past thoughts kind of create a bit of a catch 22 for me, which I'll go over in more detail now. I have an OCD aspect regarding first days of vacation periods where those days just HAVE to go by smoothly without any bad things happening, absolutely nothing that causes stress or frustration for me or my family. I have no answer as to why I experience this...I just do. I just can't be experiencing a vacation period that had a rough start. At the back of my mind I got zillions of intrusive thoughts that I may have temporarily managed in the past (now that I think of it, I did use my doc's method before I even learned of it for some types of intrusive thoughts, but not very efficiently since they do resurface a lot - but now that I know of it, I tend to use it for even more types of intrusive thoughts), and they resurface precisely whenever I get paranoid about bad things happening.

Anyway, these intrusive thoughts have a higher chance of coming out whenever I anticipate any upcoming "first day" because I'm obsessed about bad (or out-of-routine, with a few exceptions) things ABSOLUTELY NOT happening specifically on those days, so I tend to actively think about it. I might try to temporarily "banish" the thought before the day comes, but whenever the day does come...eh, chances are that the intrusive thought might come back, and I've experienced it resurface on and off during some of these "first days". Lucikly, I was able to make each resurfacing moment short-lived because I really care about these first days - but that ends up creating some doubts for me later on. Sure, nothing bad ACTUALLY happened on that day but there were these few moments during which I worried. So retrospectively I keep having these regrets about the past, about the fact that I did worry a little bit on that day and that I could have somehow prevented it. These regrets then end up creating new regrets about me spending some of my other vacation days experiencing all these older regrets. Or that the thing which caused these intrusive thoughts to occur was my fault - so even more regret about it all being preventable. I cannot stand feeling regret. I can understand why regret can be considered to be psychological cancer.

This is all very ironic - I worry about the future at one point, which (in the future) brings out worries from my past about the future, which actually creates new worries about the past simply because I exhibited these worries about the future in my past during those first days. When I'm in a good mood and not bored though, I tend to calm myself down by saying that these worries were all short lived, so that's insignificant...and that nothing bad ACTUALLY happened on that first day. God Forbid otherwise though, I'd have to just cancel it from being the first day by doing some work-related research at home (thus making myself think that I've been sort of working), and then start over...or in the worst case, just cancel the vacation and come back to work (well that would actually mean that all the days in the vacation would have been bad, and who wants to have a vacation like that?????? It's better to just work in this type of despicable situation.)

Hope this wasn't too confusing. This was just one example of how I live in the future and the past far more frequently than I live in the present, and probably the most prominent one of all. Like if I had a first day that went by without any of these worries (or maybe just a single brief 30-minute period of worrying, that's undoubtedly insignificant), I'd simply keep on thinking back about all the cool stuff that happened on it, thus also living in the past - but in a happy way without any regrets. I've experienced multiple vacation and holiday periods over the years to create all these memories of either happiness or regret. Regrets are intrusive thoughts about the past, and I still don't know how to apply my doc's method to those. "What's done is done" NEVER helps because so many of the things that caused these on and off worry thoughts are preventable by ME and that's what makes the difference between regret (psychological cancer) and no regret. I seemed to have inadvertently turned this thread into a post about regret...
I have driven the past away recently, leaving me only to think about the future, as the present has always hated me, so forget that.
I'm in the present.

I rarely look backwards.

Trying so hard to look forward, gets easier every day.
I am usually completely out of time, just lost in my own headspace, forgetting about time.
I am constantly daydreaming. There are really no specific times, I am just in my own little world more often than not. I used to think a lot about the past and future, now I'm at the daydreaming state.
Is this an aspie thing?

No, it is not just an aspie thing. There is a big long brain/mind function explanation but I'll skip that and summarize with "this is completely normal".

[Quote}Where (or when) is your head normally at?[/QUOTE]

I wish I had a solid answer to this. I seem to be able to be aware of "now" while thinking about other things and jump back and forth fairly easily. On the other hand, when I am at work (I do a lot of math there) sometimes hours will go by without my even realizing it because I'm so focused on what I am doing. Is that being "now"? or is it being "outside of time" altogether?

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