Page 1 of 1 [ 6 posts ] 

RiddleyWalker
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

User avatar

Joined: 30 May 2013
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Posts: 3

31 May 2013, 5:33 pm

Hi; firstly, I'm a new member, not yet sure if this shows up anywhere but I'm very much in the 'not sure if I have...' camp - I've spent most of my 24 years thinking "what on earth is wrong with me?" and beating myself up for the flaws I have, so I'd like to know if anyone here has similar traits to me. Nothing on my (very) cursory Google searches about ADHD or Asperger's looks *quite* like my experience, but I imagine plenty will have had similar. I apologise in advance for a fairly long post! Anyway, here goes.

I'm certain that I have some variant of the ability to hyperfocus, which usually manifests in one or more of: tensing pretty much my whole body, frantically scratching my scalp, thighs, thumbs or chest (thankfully not hard), wringing my hands, staring very intently into nothingness and probably making a stupid face, gritting my teeth...etc. This will happen dozens or perhaps hundreds of times every day. The thought in my head will be something like a musical idea or existing song I like, a fantasy about a football (i.e. soccer) scenario playing out, or a fantasy about how an ideal conversation about something might go. In the most negative episodes it will be some deranged imagining of how the odds of the universe are loaded against me. My eyes are always open for these but the image in my mind's eye will have 99% imposed itself over whatever's in front of me in real life. A similar thing happens with sound.

If I'm not hyper focusing, a lot of the time I'll still be manically fidgeting, biting my nails or cuticles, scratching my inner ear or pulling my hair out, that kind of thing. (I'm also now incapable of letting a scab heal properly, which I understand is quite common). My powers of concentration without doing any of the above are very, very poor.

I've been quite fond of drinking alcohol since I was about 17 as it allows me to tune into what someone is saying to me & engage in what feels like a more normal way - I literally feel like I can hear them better, as there won't so often suddenly be loud music or a runaway thought in my head urging me to finish the conversation and go back to my own shell of hyper focusing. Without alcohol, in fact, I'm spending most of my time feeling like my head is overloaded with considerations 'outside of myself' - am I walking right? What expression am I wearing? And just endless calculations of what people might say to me and how to reply. It's not surprising that I prefer communicating with people in writing, but even then, I'll proof-read a short text message I'm about to send like it was a 7k dissertation essay.

Alcohol is a nice relaxant at the time, but it'll always ruin my concentration even more the next day, and exacerbate one of two other big things that happens (quite predictably): I'm almost always super-tired, probably due to spending a lot of energy on these frequent episodes of tensing up and quietly seething away about things. I get around 7 hours sleep most nights but can barely stay awake most days at work.

The other big thing is rage episodes which can border on blackouts. Thank god, I don't think these will ever make me lash out at another person or animal, but I'm a big puncher of keyboards, walls, my own legs etc., and sometimes will kick in doors or radiators or whatever. I feel terrible about this, it's stupid and unjustifiable and I've had to lie to my parents at least twice about damage to doors in the house. But I get so panicky about what might happen to the anger if I don't let it out somehow at that moment. As a child, maybe 7-12ish I was really into headbutting hard things that I could grip to thrust myself at them - it was as painful as it sounds, and thankfully I've grown out of that. But I think that must've just been me having even less understanding of my own mind and its weirdness than I do now. Anything can set the rage off; a major bad event will probably just simmer until something tiny like the telephone ringing or the dog barking will send me over the edge, whereas a video game or something trivial-yet-immersive like that might just have a moment where I totally snap. Like I say - I really don't think this will ever spill over into attacking another sentient being, and if it does I will have problems living with myself and the guilt of it. But I really, hugely hope it never becomes an issue.

My academic intelligence is above average in certain ways, simply not there in others - I was a very precocious kid in certain fields, but anything practical like woodwork or metalwork? Dreadful, just awful. I got a whopping 4 out of 65 in an electronics test in year 8, having attended every lesson and tried to pay attention; conversely I got 100% or near enough on every module of English literature A-level without showing up to half the classes. In everyday life I've been described as "the stupidest clever person I've ever met" by a work colleague at a pub - I'm not there now, thank god, but the whole place was just like a juggernaut of stress when it was busy. Rushing around doing multiple things, keeping drink and food orders in memory and economising time down to a matter of seconds...my worst nightmare. When I was about 13 I left my dog tied to a lamppost in our town centre & walked all the way home (20 minutes or so) before realising and running back to get him. I went to see my school caretaker about lost property maybe once or twice a week for years on end, having simply wandered off from places without things I needed.

That's more or less it, I think. Anything else about me I may as well just detail in the replies if anyone wants to know.

So overall I think my question is, does this sound like you at all?

Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to even read this diatribe, let alone respond.

Cheers



Marybird
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 26 Apr 2012
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,901

31 May 2013, 8:20 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet RiddleyWalker, hyperfocus is pretty common around here.



Rascal77s
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Nov 2011
Age: 42
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,795

31 May 2013, 9:09 pm

Welcome. I can't say for sure whether you have AS but you are a lot like a younger version of me. The destructiveness really hit home for me. I've actually hurt people in the distant past and that's why I decided to get control of it. My advice to you would be this; forget about the diagnosis and focus on the actual problems. One thing that helped me was buying a 80 lb punching and beating the crap out of it for an hour a day whether I thought I needed to or not.

The spacing out, I don't know what to tell you there. The only thing that has really helped at all (and not much at that) seems to be fish oil and B vitamin supplements. The B vitamins help a lot with energy too, another thing that I relate too. It seems like my mind never rests so I'm always tired. However, I will say I have severe sleep problems.

When there is something important to remember visualize a scene with that person or object. Something funny or outrageous works best for me. For example, you could imagine your dog walking you home or the dog scolding you for leaving him.

Don't get stuck on a diagnosis because there is no cookie cutter fix to AS that comes with one. There is also almost nothing in the way of help specifically for AS in the US and many other countries. You can try finding a therapist through the government services but I have no idea how that works in your country. Here in the US I finally found a really good therapist that works on a sliding scale and l pay $160/mo.. It took me a couple of years but a good therapist is worth that and more.

If you really want a diagnosis go see a therapist to deal with those things that affect your life and you will probably end up with a diagnosis over time. It may not be AS but, the therapist will figure out what's going on. Don't waste time with 'do it yourself' s**t, find someone who has helped people with your problems in the past and can guide you.



Martian_Child
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 15 Dec 2012
Age: 21
Gender: Female
Posts: 43

31 May 2013, 9:32 pm

My mom scolds me all of the time for zoning out. I'll be sitting in the car with her, and I'll go into hyperfocus, and she'll wave her hand in front of my face and go "Hellooooo?? Anybody there?"
Lol
And it's gotten relatively worse. It's actually began to jeopardize my well-being. The other day I was going for a walk and I was so focused on my thoughts, that I almost got hit by a car. And I'll be walking through the halls at school, thinking, and WHAM! I'll crash right into someone. I trip, I stumble into things. I'm really not uncoordinated, it's just that I never PAY ATTENTION! During soccer season, I can't tell you how many times my coach/teammates screamed at me to "get your head in the game!" People say hi to me in the halls, and I walk right past them, not even having heard them at all. It's freaky, how seperated I am from the physical world around me. You say that your thoughts manifest themselves in front of you -- mine transport me to a whole seperate place. And it's not because of trauma or anything. I don't even know. It's been this way since I can remember.



vanhalenkurtz
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 9 May 2012
Gender: Male
Posts: 837

01 Jun 2013, 4:39 am

RiddleyWalker wrote:
The thought in my head will be something like a musical idea or existing song I like, a fantasy about a football (i.e. soccer) scenario playing out, or a fantasy about how an ideal conversation about something might go. In the most negative episodes it will be some deranged imagining of how the odds of the universe are loaded against me. My eyes are always open for these but the image in my mind's eye will have 99% imposed itself over whatever's in front of me in real life. A similar thing happens with sound.

I call this being in the funnel. Funnel vision.
RiddleyWalker wrote:
I've been quite fond of drinking alcohol since I was about 17 as it allows me to tune into what someone is saying to me & engage in what feels like a more normal way - I literally feel like I can hear them better, as there won't so often suddenly be loud music or a runaway thought in my head urging me to finish the conversation and go back to my own shell of hyper focusing.

Instant NT in a cup. I lost years of my life using that crutch.


_________________
ASQ: 45. RAADS-R: 229.
BAP: 132 aloof, 132 rigid, 104 pragmatic.
Aspie score: 173 / 200; NT score: 33 / 200.
EQ: 6.


RiddleyWalker
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

User avatar

Joined: 30 May 2013
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Posts: 3

01 Jun 2013, 7:48 am

Thanks to all of you who've replied so far :)

Rascal77s - that's interesting, thanks for all the advice! I'll look into B vitamins & fish oil for sure, and see if I can come up with some way of fitting a punchbag into this house! I'm not so optimistic about that being practical right now, but I think there are certain behaviours I can try eliminating to stop getting so angry...hopefully...recognising negative hyperfocus and getting out of it early is going to be a challenge but it's one I've never seriously tried before (having not taken the problem as seriously as I should) so we'll see. There are also certain things like the PC game Football Manager (you'd never know I was British eh? :) ) which used to give me horrific extremes of emotion. I used to keep going cold turkey and uninstalling it before saying "oh, I'll be calmer about it this time" and getting into it again, but it never worked. I'm amazed it never gave me a stomach ulcer...

Martian_Child - ha, now that's something my mum can't get annoyed at me for, because *she* does it constantly, to the point you'd have to say her name loudly about five times for her to respond...to be honest I think her side of the family is where all the AS/OCD/bipolar traits come from, but in the case of someone like my grandad on that side, he just comes from an era where almost no one got diagnosed with this kind of thing.

Your hyperfocus sounds much more immersive than mine - it's pointless saying 'be careful!' or anything like that but I hope the more dangerous episodes go away in time. I don't suppose there's a way you could turn the world around you into the object of your focus? This probably sounds ridiculous and unhelpful but I can sort of imagine myself from outside to some extent, and make tiny things into achievements or games, like "wow he crossed that road pretty well, now can he beat his record time for walking home?!" Or imagine myself as a fugitive trying to act normal, or as a wild animal and the cars as predators. I dunno why.

vanhalenkurtz - that's a good description actually. The tensing of muscles and narrowing of eyes etc. is all part of the narrowing of focus, like in a funnel.

Luckily I don't really drink during the working week now, but as a student my lifestyle was a total mess. Like yourself I feel as if some great opportunities were wasted on either the time spent drinking, the ensuing loss of control (sometimes) or the grinding sense of doom the next day. If I hadn't got into the drama society and had some great relationships with people through that, I'd consider the whole five years a waste except for having gained an undergrad degree. The key now is not to dwell on what I didn't do, and carry on trying to enrich my life instead of drinking to excess...I do like to think I can still control this without quitting entirely, but can see myself going almost teetotal fairly soon. I have a stag party coming up this month which I'll have to make an exception for... :?