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MathGirl
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04 Mar 2017, 11:01 pm

Does anyone else have a habit of zoning out randomly and just fixating on something specific, like an idea, a thought, a particular aspect of an item in front of them (i.e., a part, a texture), or any similar type of behaviour?

I am trying to get this under control as it can make me extremely inefficient at doing things. Any ideas? Maybe my incentives are not strong enough? I eat really well and it happens even when I get enough sleep and exercise, although less so when I am feeling better.

Being slightly depressed definitely has an impact but this happens even when I am not so...


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Dear_one
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05 Mar 2017, 1:12 am

When I work fast, I start thinking about the next step as I do the current one. When I'm slow, I think about something else when I get a chance, and then have to remember the job at hand at each interlude. Sometimes, I'm distracted by a current worry, but it can also be a general sense of missing the big picture. Perhaps your excursions are just time to integrate new information or to avoid overload and meltdown.



MathGirl
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05 Mar 2017, 8:50 am

Dear_one wrote:
When I work fast, I start thinking about the next step as I do the current one. When I'm slow, I think about something else when I get a chance, and then have to remember the job at hand at each interlude. Sometimes, I'm distracted by a current worry, but it can also be a general sense of missing the big picture. Perhaps your excursions are just time to integrate new information or to avoid overload and meltdown.
I find thoughts just "come up" but sometimes it's not even thinking about anything, just focusing on a sensation/nothing and repeating a single word or a piece of music in my head. Maybe it's a way to avoid overload/meltdown but I am not sure if it is an effective way toward that goal, especially if it slows down my work a lot? I also do this in the morning, which does not make sense in terms of that context.

My autistic husband (who is not depressed or anything) does the same thing. He just suddenly zones out and thinks during tasks. I think we do it any time there is some transition involved. This happens even though I make elaborate lists of what is to be done throughout the day. However, I can't always get everything done within the expected timeframe because of said inefficiency. You can't even break down within activities like that (e.g., shifting from one area of the kitchen to another while cooking) using lists anyway.

I tried to talk to professionals about this before but they tend to assume that all of these thoughts are "anxious". They are not and I am tired of trying to prove to people that I do not have an anxiety disorder.


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sos72
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05 Mar 2017, 8:56 am

this sounds like an executive function issue... that doesn't really answer your question but it may be a start...

i think of it as a gear box problem of the brain...


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MathGirl
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05 Mar 2017, 8:58 am

sos72 wrote:
this sounds like an executive function issue... that doesn't really answer your question but it may be a start...

i think of it as a gear box problem of the brain...
That makes sense.

So now, how do I bring it under control?

Edit: people in this thread also describe the phenomenon well - viewtopic.php?f=3&t=223040&start=15


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SaveFerris
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05 Mar 2017, 9:08 am

I don't think I could cope with life if I didn't zone out ( retreat inside my head ). Maybe I'm just a daydreamer due to smoking too much cannabis in my teens?


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Moccamaster
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05 Mar 2017, 9:27 am

I zone out a lot. Often when I´m tired or if I´m not interested, then I have a lot of trouble with staying focused. I think I have been like this all my life but with three kids I´m often tired and the tendency to zone out has grown. I don´t like it, it´s like you are in another world and not part of this reality, it feels kind of "off". When I zone out my eyes slip out of focus and I just stare at nothing, sometimes I think of stuff but not all the time. Is this a common ASD-thing?



SmallBun
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05 Mar 2017, 5:01 pm

I have a bad habit of zoning out and thinking about.. nothing. Literally. I don't focus on anything, or think about anything. Eventually something or someone will snap be back to reality, but it's kind of embarrassing/frustrating when I zone out in the middle of talking to someone or doing something important. :oops:


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electricsaygeo
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06 Mar 2017, 3:52 pm

I'm pretty sure I used to do that occasionally when I was little: just stare into space, lose focus in my eyes and think about nothing for a short time


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MathGirl
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07 Mar 2017, 4:34 pm

I asked a professional I know from school about this. She said that it is common for everyone to "zone out", but there is research showing that people on the spectrum have more trouble disengaging from a particular thought or activity.

I guess that is the best explanation for why it is a particularly pronounced phenomenon for us.


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Dear_one
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07 Mar 2017, 4:49 pm

People prone to contemplation used to be called space cadets. Art is generally intended to grab full attention. If zoning out seems excessive, it could be a sleep disorder.



Keigan
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07 Mar 2017, 4:56 pm

Dear_one wrote:
When I work fast, I start thinking about the next step as I do the current one. When I'm slow, I think about something else when I get a chance, and then have to remember the job at hand at each interlude. Sometimes, I'm distracted by a current worry, but it can also be a general sense of missing the big picture. Perhaps your excursions are just time to integrate new information or to avoid overload and meltdown.


Try B12 - Focus Plus is what I take and it makes all the difference in my world. I can focus my thoughts in a direction as well as the next phase of activities and things remain organized and clear.



KevinLA
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07 Mar 2017, 5:07 pm

All the time. I do it in the middle of psychiatrist therapy session. My psychiatrist always asks me, "What am I thinking?". I always respond, "Nothing."



Tripodologia
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07 Mar 2017, 5:14 pm

This happens to me too sometimes, but not as often as you seem to experience it. My zoning out tends to be quite intense, though, and I may not be aware of anything that goes on around me; this happens when I'm deeply thinking about something, and even if my eyes were open, I cannot tell what was right in front of me because they don't seem to be looking outward, but rather inward (if that makes sense). It can happen when I'm talking with someone, too - I have somehow developed the ability to be talking with someone, sort of keep track of what they're saying by picking keywords here and there, but be thinking about my own stuff (mostly involuntarily) at the same time :|


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NikNak
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08 Mar 2017, 11:12 pm

I think I've always had a tendency to zone out. Sometimes it's to the extent I become very disconnected to the external world and am very focused on my internal world, often daydreaming. Other times I'm not thinking about any one thing in particular.
If everyone, NT and otherwise does this then I feel I must do it more than is the norm. I often prefer this state.


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Dear_one
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08 Mar 2017, 11:31 pm

I got years of training at zoning out in school. I had the happy ability to daydream all day, but if the teacher called my name, I'd be able to recall the question and answer it. One measure of the pace of information presentation in school came in gr. 11 physics. I got a teacher right out of university, and he did his lessons by the book - a five minute intro, a half hour lesson, and a five minute recap. "Tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em, tell 'em, and tell 'em what ya told 'em" as the summary goes. I could pay attention for five minutes OK, and led the class, instead of almost failing like I usually did. Towards the end of the year we had a spare period, and someone asked me a physics question. Someone across the aisle listened in, and before long, I was up at the blackboard, doing a full-year review for about 10 kids. Several said that they'd never understood several major points before.