Saturday, July 18, 2009

ADD vs Obsessive focus in Aspergers (part 2)

The previous post was originally meant to begin my self analysis of how someone with ADD and Aspergers functions . They seem, on the surface to be quit contradictory in functioning .....

Aspergers=complete focus .

What the post ended up being, was an example of how my mind goes off on tangents, like trying to unweave a spiderweb . I believe that actually shows an overlap of ADD and Aspergers . The former has a tendency of the brain getting distracted and the latter shows how focusing on the small things makes someone find seeing the whole picture more difficult . So, although I didn't actually "get to" my original question about how ADD and Aspergers work together...I think it is illustrated in the writing style itself .

A further illustration of this would be my experience in college writing research papers .

I was fortunately to have teachers who encouraged us to pick topics we were interested in . I loved learning, researching and reading, so this part was great for me . I would come back from the Library with as many pounds of books I could carry and read them all . Each book would have their own references listed, so I would try and check out these books as well...each thread of the web leading to the next . Sometimes one of those books would perk my interest in something totally unrelated to the paper topic....(like a reference book about the historical use of herbs in healing, when doing a paper on the history of witchcraft in Europe) . This might lead to a few "wasted days" studying plants used in ointments to heal skin infections . Sometimes, this leads to my having to pull my mind away from the distraction which feels a bit like pulling off your skin . I'm exaggerating a bit but I want to make the point that it does hurt in an almost physical way .

Now, I was very fortunate to have a teacher in High school, who actually showed us how to structure a paper.....A)balbalbla

I found this very helpful, except it was not easy for me to decide where each bit of information would fall .

That goes back to why I am having such a difficult time organizing my house and especially crafting supplies . Do "ribbons" go best with other long bits of decoration...lace, yarns, ect. OR Should I put them with the things I will use them for...decorating my small bags or my dolls ? Should my exacto-knives go with my scissors or with my hammer and screwdriver since I use it for crafting and house repairs ?

The other connection to my difficulty writing a paper and organizing my crafting supplies is that I never know when to stop collecting resources . Collecting is actually part of an almost pathological need to have "everything" together before I can start building "the whole picture " . Life feels like a puzzle and you know how frustrating it is to try and but together a puzzle if your missing pieces . So, I have a compulsion to find any piece that might fit . However, the problem is that I often have things I don't need....imagine trying to put together a puzzle when you have not only the pieces from one puzzle but several all mixed together .

This is usually the part where my brain/computer crashes . I have to much information/things but only 1GB of space to store them . I feel stressed and over whelmed and end up returning to a less complicated "interest" poking a needle in a bit of wool or reading blogs -> one of my current "interests" . Allowing myself to focus on one thing at a time, feels like being able to take a breath of air after being held underwater for a few minutes .

Which brings me back to the difference of someone who "just" is Asperger and can focus on that one thing without distraction and myself, who can focus on one thing as long as it is an "interest" BUT is also being constantly intruded on by seeing "tangents" and interconnecting webs that I feel pulled to follow .

Before learning about Aspergers and some co-morbids, I often wondered if I had multiple personality disorder because I often felt like I was at battle with myself.
Part of me wanting to focus on a "thing" and another trying to tare me away .

"You think to much" is a refrain I have heard from both therapists and past boyfriends . (That isn't a helpful comment by the way ) . I believe what they really meant is..."You think wrong/different from me" . To that I would concur but also "think" that others don't allows think enough and the world has seen some of the disastrous results of that...(war, global warming, genocide...GW Bush).

So, here I am, trying to focus on writing some logical analysis of "what is wrong with me and how can I fix it" while the voices in my head say...

Go organize your craft supplies so you can finish your items for the store
Get up and clean so you can make a space to wet felt
go clean, so you can have a place to photograph your items

and another voice says.....

Didn't you want to read more about how to dye with natural dyes
Shouldn't you check the internet for places to buy shipping supplies

and another voice says....

Weren't you going to work on the "Eyes of Time" book and dolls ?
Weren't you going to get some addresses to send the book to some other aspies ?

and that is why I am in a perpetual state of scream...(think Edward Munch)

1 comment:

  1. re:paper writing. This is awfully familiar. I would get lost in the research phase with the winding path of lots and lots of tangents and make lots of notes and then have no idea how to put them together. I could do a 5 page paper because I could force a structure on that but anything longer and it just ended up an unintelligible mess. It was so hard to transiition, to keep track of everything I'd said even though I could tell you everything about it, even though I could apply it in just about any other way you could ask. We even spent 3 months going over each step of creating a paper in excruciating detail during 4th grade involving dozens of note cards and outlines but I just didn't have the time to do that in college with so much to do in so little time.But it was always the frustration and panic of trying to force 3 or 4 20 page papers into a 3 week period (the time between the assignments and due dates).



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