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ouroborosUK
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11 Jan 2014, 8:16 am

Hi,

I think I have AS but I am still in the process of getting an assessment. I am trying to look at some things in my life from an ASD perspective, both to understand if and where I am on the spectrum and how I can make my life more pleasant and rewarding.

As a child and a teenager, my main interest was electronics. I was fascinated by circuits, components and how they worked. I think I first used a soldering iron with my grandfather well before 10, and I was making circuits for fun all during middle school while my schoolmates were still struggling with the basics. Later, during end of middle school and high school, it slowly waned to be replaced by computers (building, tinkering and programming).

Today, computers are an important part of my job, but I am a bit frustrated because of the less technical parts, and also because I don't think what I have to do with them currently is really interesting. And I don't see any other marked "special interest" in my life, but I'm starting to suspect I have just learnt to suppress them.

That may be a result of my parents starting to complain during middle/high school that I should get out and my books and computers and try to socialize with the world. It was not entirely bad advice (much of my basic understanding of human psychology came from that) but I quickly understood that my parents, and most of the world in general, couldn't care less for the things I found interesting and would usually not want to speak about them. I therefore started to think that speaking about "geeky" topics was bad and I should avoid it. That and other comments by people led me to the belief that pursuing my interests in personal intellectual topics is usually something wrong and a waste of time compared to focusing on the "important things" (whatever they are, but which are somehow related to people and socializing). It was later reinforced after my studies by the fact that for some people in my family, an "important thing" was to have a stable job where you earn lots of money. I don't care much about money, but more importantly the kind of job when you can easily get much stability and money require you to throw away your life, your personal interests, and often your ethics and become the slave of some organization (like big companies or governments) or of a system who obey non-human rules (such as world finance). I will never be willing to do such a thing (and can't understand how people can enjoy it), so I started feeling rejected and worthless.

Even if I have become aware of those patterns, they still governs much of my life and I feel guilty every time I spend some time on anything that is of personal relevance or interest to me ; I start thinking I am engaging in "childish" behaviours, or "procrastinating" and "wasting my time" and should do more important things. I am especially nervous about that when anyone is watching me or could expect me to do something more "productive". Even when I do indulge in my interests, I keep them "hidden" because I fear bad judgement ; for example if I am indexing spells in roleplaying books or reading about pilosophy and someone asks me by IM what I am currently doing I am more likely to lie and invent some bland answer than to tell the truth (it also depends on who is asking, of course). I can also almost only do "entertainment" stuff (play videogames, watch series, etc.) at night when other people think I am sleeping and not "wasting my time".

I realize I have become very interested in many things over the last ten years (philosophy of mind, travels and travel hacking, beer brewing, transhumanism, various roleplaying game universes, pharmacology, magical and occult systems, etc.) but I could never really pursue those interests as fully as I really wanted because of the guilt and mental blocks. I think those problems also hamper my work, up to a point: as I mentioned earlier my work is currently not very interesting, but its nature is such that I have some power on it and could actually make it more interesting... if I manage to overcome that stupid belief that focusing on computer and scientific topics is Bad and people will only ever judge me badly if I do that.

All in all, I am really beginning to think that due to a previous misunderstanding of my own status and needs, I formed some negative beliefs regarding the way I get interested to things and it made me quite unhappy during the last years. But I am still interested in getting your opinion on that, if someone can relate to what I wrote. There is still a voice in my head telling me everyone is like me, everyone gets interested in pointless stuff, but they learn to control it, "grow up" and actually do something with their life, and thinking I should do otherwise is just egoism and lying to myself. Should I make that voice shut up and how ?


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JSBACHlover
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11 Jan 2014, 8:50 am

Find one interest you really love and make that your university major and career. Then it will no longer be a mere escape, but something healthy and productive.

Then, in your free time you can pursue the other things and be social according to your needs. It's really that simple. It's not rocket science (unless, of course, that's your main interest....)



naturalplastic
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11 Jan 2014, 9:13 am

Go back to electronics.

I never heard of starving electrician.



yournamehere
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11 Jan 2014, 10:31 am

sounds to me like the people around you supressed a special interest. maybe you were getting too obsessive about it, I do not know. it is not healthy to do so. you have jumped through the hoops, and learned the stuff others believe is important to you. if you have a special interest, you can do it after work. if it breeds success, you can do what you want.



CivilSam
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11 Jan 2014, 11:12 am

My parents wanted me to get into computer programming because i wrote a lot of basic bots for a text based game as a kid. Sure, I was obsessed with programming as a language because language was something i had difficulty with. I also would read for hours on end and I would write constantly. It wasn't anything major in terms of writing but just little things the explain what is going on inside me. I switched majors in college from CIS to English. It was a big shock to everyone around me. I have never regretted this decision even though I now work in the medical field instead of doing something with my major. I look at it this way. I have a job which pays all the bills and while I'm working I can write down anything that comes into my head. Productivity is so very easy with the way I am programmed so now while at work and at home I can dedicate myself to my desire of writing. Basically, do what makes you happy but also strive to have the things which will allow you to do these happy things.



Dmarcotte
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11 Jan 2014, 11:14 am

I don't know what your specific situation is but I am going to assume you are a young adult who has a job of some kind and is able to take care of your financial needs. Even if you are not living on your own if you are responsible enough to have a job you are responsible enough to choose how you spend your time.

You may want to consider getting some counseling to help you overcome your feelings of guilt. I see no reason why you can't pursue your interests as hobbies - lots of people have hobbies. You may want to narrow your list a bit and perhaps only focus on one or two at a time so the time commitment doesn't become overwhelming. You may also find your family is more accepting of your choices if part of the hobby requires you to get out and socialize. For example you mentioned an interest in brewing beer - there are lots of organizations around this hobby and if you started to attend meetings your family might decide this is a good thing.

Good Luck.


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