Autism & Obsessive Behavior – Why I Can’t Always Let things Go as an Autistic Person

This video was shot on August 9, 2021 and released to Patreon Subscribers, Facebook Supporters, and YouTube channel members on August 12, 2021, as a thanks for the support you give my blog. The video’s public release is set for September 15, 2021.

Transcript:

Hey humans, Lyric here.

This week, I’m going to be sharing something I know a bit about personally, and that is being Autistic, and having the tendency to obsess over things, and not be able to let things go.

This can be a bad thing, however, we don’t talk about how this can also be a good thing, so I’m going to talk this week about how being obsessive is, neither a good or a bad thing, it’s just simply part of my, personal, Autistic Experience.

If you would like to know more about this, please do stay tuned.

Okay to start off this one, I am going to read from the diagnostic criteria that says that Autistic People are likely to have “highly restricted fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus, EG, strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or presser- Revitive- preservative -press” – how the heck do you say that one? I can’t read phonetically, y’all – “interests”

A Lot to unpack with that one here. I’m not saying it’s wrong, just saying the framing is a bit problematic.

I will agree that my interests tend to be intense, and I do them with great focus.

For me, a new interest is much like a new love. I am in love, and have great passion, and find great joy in doing one of my interests, or hobbies, that happens to catch my attention and get me obsessing over.

When I was a young person, I was obsessed with knowing every single kind of dog in the entire world and I could recite all of the dog breeds.

My mom would be like, what’s that dog breed over there? And I’d be like, “oh mom, it looks like this mixed with this” and mom would go ask, and always be delighted if I guessed correctly.

 Eventually it became a lot of, almost like a parlor trick. Take me up, and ask the dog breed, and the dog owner would find impression- impressive delight when the small child got it right.

“Wow. How’d you know that?!”

Because I was a little Autistic kid obsessed with dogs, and it was all I thought about, and all I talked about -dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs.

 I’m glad I wasn’t discouraged, and I was encouraged with that, because it did evolve into an interest in animals and animals psychology, and then eventually animal behavior, and human behavior, and human psychology, and then business psychology. All of this evolved from a very restricted interest in dogs as a small child.

Um… “preoccupation with unusual objects.” Are you talking about my glittery ball right here?

It’s like the way they word these things are so medical it’s always like “unusual, excessive”.

Unusual, and excessive according to who, in comparison to what?

Um, it’s so negative. It’s so negative when there are some good things.

It’s like, they forget that the inability to let something go is how problems are solved.

I have this brain that tends to focus on problems and yes, it is annoying to have the brain that is always nagging you going “problem, problem, problem, problem, problem, problem.”

You can’t let it go because you’re constantly thinking about the problem, but if I am constantly thinking about a problem and I must keep working on the problem until the problem is solved.

What if I solve the problem, that I couldn’t let go, because I didn’t let it go, because I couldn’t let it go, so I solve the complex problem? That’s pretty awesome!

Other side of that coin, why I said this isn’t necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just part of my autistic experience is: what if there’s a problem and I am obsessing over this problem, and I am putting all of this effort into solving this problem, because I cannot let it go, and it turns out this is an unsolvable problem, that cannot be solved, and I cannot let it go.

Well, then that sucks.

So it can go both ways. It is two sides of the same coin. The other thing that is double-sided, kind of a coin with this, is being so obsessed over the new hobby and new passion or problem or whatever it is I can’t get out of my mind.

Singing: “Can’t get you out of my mind. I can’t get you out of my mind.”

Whatever’s stuck in my mind, I’m ruminating on that so much that I can neglect and forget to take care of people, and situations, and important matters in my life, and important people in my life, and the important people I love… because too busy thinking about this problem over here and trying to solve this problem and the problem takes up so much of my mind. It grows bigger and bigger and bigger until there’s no room for anything else.

That’s not really good either and that puts distance between me and people, because people around me feel unimportant in my life, because this problem becomes so big, or the thing that I’m giving all my focus to become so large, there’s not a lot of room for anything else.

And that can be very isolating.

So neither good, nor bad, just part of my experience as a NeuroDivergent human, but that’s the problem.

That is the problem with the way the medical system paints, looks at, and handles NeuroDiversity, and NeuroDivergents. It tells us that we’re dis- where we are, broken, lesser neuro-typical people, and we need to find a way to adapt ourselves to fit into the NeuroTypical system and think like NeuroTypicals.

It paints certain Autistic and NeuroDivergent types of thinking and the ways we express ourselves and experience the world as these bad things, like being obsessive, and it doesn’t say, okay, there’s good and bad in this or the sensory processing stuff.

There’s good and bad in the sensory processing. There are some really pleasurable sensory experiences you can have as a NeuroDivergent Person, but it can also be painful, but they don’t talk about the good stuff.

They only talk about the bad, when they’re talking about NeuroDivergent people and that sucks. It is very dehumanizing and it takes away from all of the good parts of being Autistic, being NeuroDivergent, because there’s a lot of good things.

I love other NeuroDivergent People. I love spending time with other NeuroDivergent People.

I feel much more at home, and at ease, around other NeuroDivergent People than I do around other, or that I do around NeuroTypical People.

 I think Autistic and NeuroDivergent People are amazing, but I know a lot of them don’t realize how awesome they actually are. A lot of us don’t realize how awesome we actually are.

 We, we don’t. We’re harder on ourselves, because society has been really hard on us and I wish more of us knew how awesome we were, because I think we have, unfortunately, started to believe a lot of those lies that society says about us, “that we’re not good enough” which, in my opinion, society is not good enough, as it is. We are not the broken ones. We need to fix society, because we’re awesome.

One thing I want every single human who can hear/read the sound of my voice right now to take away from this video, is that strengths and weaknesses are not a good or a bad thing. They are simply part of the human experience.

What I mean by this is each and every single person has strengths. We all have strengths. We all have weaknesses and those strengths and weaknesses are going to be different from person to person. And that’s okay.

 I spend a lot of time working with workplaces on diversity inclusion with NeuroDiversity, and including people whose differences are invisible in the workplace.

 A big part of that is respect, and appreciation that we have different strengths and weaknesses, and conversations around why that’s okay and not putting shame in people for their differences.

For example, I’ve worked in office cultures where the fact that I had a typo or, needed a little help proofreading, because that is not a skill that I have because of my learning disabilities, in addition to being Autistic.

Being made to be ashamed of that didn’t fix the problem. It didn’t help me. It just caused a lot of trauma that I’m still trying to unwind.

The only thing that really helped that was working in a workplace where that weakness was not an issue because they were able to appreciate the fact my strengths were also different, and that all of our strengths and weaknesses were different.

 It was the diversity and those strengths and weaknesses that let us work together, because somebody else had that proofreading skill that I was so ashamed. I didn’t have now. I don’t care. I’ve got Grammarly, because I don’t have a team and I worked by myself.

There, there, there- are tools in place. So diversity is beautiful and different human strengths and weaknesses are part of diversity, especially NeuroDiversity. It means we can work together and collaborate and use our strengths and weaknesses to support each other.

So, anyway, thank you for hanging out with me this week on this video, talking about Autistic obsession, Autistic strengths, and weaknessesA and perceptions of autistic strengths and weaknesses.

Maybe sometimes these things that are perceived as weaknesses aren’t necessarily, always, weaknesses.

Strengths and weaknesses are just part of the human experience and obsessing is just part of my experience.

If you found this video helpful, useful, or any, any, any, what? Any, what somewhat? I can’t make my words today.

If you found this video educational, please share. Hopefully someone else will find it educational to.

 Another thanks, just real quick, to the Patreon subscribers, YouTube channel members, and Facebook supporters, for the little monetary subscription to help me with web hosting, and transcriptioning software, and all the different things, that make this content higher quality, and more accessible to a wider variety of learners, I am so incredibly grateful for each and every one of you. I could not do this without you.

Whether you are here sharing the videos, commenting, giving your feedback and video suggestions and questions, I am grateful for each and every one of you, who have developed this blog that I started, several years ago into something, that’s becoming a bit like a community, where we all learn and share from each other.

I love that we’ve got this education going, so thank you all for being here and being part of it. It wouldn’t be the same without you here, so I want to always express my gratitude for each and every one of you.

I will talk to you all next Wednesday. Bye humans.

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Help me get the word out!!! – If you like what I do, and would like more, please consider subscribing on Patreon. This blog is made possible by support from readers like YOU!  (Sharing my content is also, equally helpful!)

With gratitude,

Lyric

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