Special Interests

The things about being on the spectrum is that I always have a special interest that consumes my thoughts and it’s the only thing I want to talk about. Over the years I’ve rotated between a couple—some times it’s work related, some times it’s just a hobby. Transitioning between special interests is hard for me. I find it overwhelming—in a completely illogical-but-please-believe-me-it’s-real sort of way. 

When I began working on my house right before Christmas, the transition was frustrating and overwhelming and disorienting. In the midst of a transition like this, I can feel detached from myself and the world. It’s hard to explain, but I try to mask it in public as best I can. Allyssa gets to see the unmasked version, and it’s not always easy living with me during that time. 

Over the last two months, working on my house has become my special interest and I’ve grown to love and become comfortable with it. Now, my projects are winding down (and the refinance money we’ve been using is also winding down) and I need to shift my focus to something new. It’s not a fun process for me. It gives me high anxiety.

Having said that, I imagine home design and construction will always remain a special interest and join my rotation alongside writing and cooking and any other activity that fulfills my desire to express myself creatively. 

(So if you have a project you want input on, let me know—while the it’s still on rotation, because once I focus on something else, I will only want to talk about that and might even give the impression that construction isn’t something I love and appear confused as to why you would ever ask me about it.)

It doesn’t make sense, but that’s the life I live.

Not only is transitioning between special interests hard—and for some impossible—keeping a grip on reality is hard. When I decided to finish my novel, I focused on it every free second I had. A month went by and it was ready to be read. But I found out later that Allyssa wasn’t happy with how detached I had become. I was unavailable for a month. It’s not a good way to live in a family.

I worry about the way special interest impacts my home and work life, and I’ve tried hard to find balance. For those on the spectrum, how do you find balance? How do you transition between special interests?

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