Autistic Confessions – Hyper Focus

Where did the time go?

I have no idea. I was hyper-focused on a task and the rest of the world melted away for the past 6 hours. I literally forgot to eat. I REALLY have to pee and my ass is killing me from sitting cross legged in this chair all day.

Did you hear me?

No, sorry I was really focused on what I was doing.

But I’m right next to you and it’s quiet in here. 

I know, I’m sorry I was really focused on what I was doing. I don’t mean to tune the world out, but the world is a constant bombardment to the senses. Hyper focus makes all that met away. I am getting things done, which is amazing and all the noise stops.

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38 thoughts on “Autistic Confessions – Hyper Focus”

  1. I only wish I was hyper focused. Alas, I am hyper unfocused. This is me: “I’m going to complete the important task of reading this boo-oh, look a shiny object! Okay now I really am going to rea- what’s that noise I hear? I really do want to finish this book but I’ve just sat still for 30 seconds and that’s 30 seconds too long. Now I’m really getting in to this book. That passage about the fragrance of the flowers and the beauty of the sky really spoke to me. The sky is blue, just like blueberries are blue. Now I’m hungry. I’m going to go find something to eat.”

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          1. Ha, yeah, I’ve gotten pretty good at decoding acronyms. I don’t think I have SPD. I’m not really sensitive to stimuli in the way a lot of autistic people. I’m on the hyposensitive side rather than hypersensitive. I crave stimulation so I constantly have to be moving. I enjoy getting shots and having blood drawn. I was wondering why that is and I was thinking it might be because the sensation of being pricked is pleasurable to my hyposensitive nervous system.

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  2. Because hyperfocus is often something that people with ADHD like myself do as well although I don’t fit a lot of the ADHD characteristics as much as I do AS ones, it is how I get things done. A friend with ADD wanted to make T-shirts for us that said ” does not transition well” . Because if I am working on something I don’t hear what someone is saying to me and I don’t notice if I ate something or took my medication and I will stay awake and what my mother calls “pitbull brain” . It’s a form of ADHD because a lot of people can focus amazingly well on what they’re interested in but not other things. Since there’s not really multitasking ability for a lot of us with NeuroDiversity people can become angry . I read about relationships falling apart because one partner diagnosed with ADD will spend 11 hours working on the car but not be able to maintain attention during conversation. It looks like we don’t care but it’s really that with ADD we don’t control where the attention goes. That’s a mistake a lot of people in the general public have about ADD – that it means we don’t have the ability to focus attention. But we can with something that is a passion. So many parents say “my child cannot have ADHD because he can focus all day long on arranging comic books or building something on the computer . So he’s just lazy with everything else.” But that also overlaps with autistic “special interest” and is why I am finding it easier to just say NeuroDiversity like I always have . Because I’ve rare I met anyone that fits exactly a diagnosis. A friend with ADD, SPD and face blindness, does that make her “on the spectrum?” She is anxious with socializing but she doesn’t know who she’s talking to because of not recognizing anyone.

    Also hyposensitivity is part of sensory processing disorder. With dyspraxia I don’t know where my body is. Walking down a crowded sidewalk is nerve-racking because I will run into every single person trying not to run into anyone. The friend I mentioned has hyposensitivity with her body and she needs BDSM to have any sexual feelings. You would never guess that if you met her and her husband but once he had to take her to the emergency room. It takes a lot to have a sensory physical experience for her. So hyposensitivity is another type of sensory processing disorder. I’ve noticed that sexually if people have similar hyposensitivity and similar hypersensitivities you can have an incredible experience. Getting that lined up is very unusual . But it’s amazing when it happens.

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      1. I don’t understand the CDC. No one I know with an autistic diagnosis is like that, like my best friends or family. I don’t understand what is “abnormal.” What is the norm so I can tell if something is abnormal? I heard no one has written a description of normal health. I’m not being sarcastic. I really don’t understand what abnormal means. Compared to what? If you grow up in a family filled with NeuroDiversity and you have NeuroDiversity and you are surrounded by friends with NeuroDiversity and you are in love with someone with NeuroDiversity – I don’t know what is abnormal about them. For me. It makes us sound defective. But we often talk about human beings like zoologists trying to figure out some other species. We all help contribute experiences to get a better understanding of the totally bizarre behaviors we don’t understand from NeuroTypicals. How they don’t see how strange they are doesn’t make sense to us. The friend I was talking about told me that she always feels like she is from Mars and she is faking human. You’d never know it. She has learned to cloak when she needs to, but one of the big reasons we are friends is because neither of us have to cloak. By anyone’s terms she would be considered successful. Top of that she has had Lyme disease for 30 years. One of the Lyme specialist told me that there’s a connection with autism and chronic Lyme disease. They don’t know why just that there is.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. GREAT comment, Heather. I relate to your friend – I have a low degree of face-blindness myself. Couple that with my struggle to recall names on demand, and it’s a wonder I have any friends at all!

      I’ve taught myself (and others) to work around most of the challenges except for a BIG problem with heat sensitivity for me. Summers are murder and I don’t get out much. I spend most of the worst 3 months in my office with the AC on full blast.
      xx,
      mgh
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
      – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
      “It takes a village to educate a world!”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you! I had heat sensitivity until I got babesiosis/malaria 7+ years ago plus severe light sensitivity. When people say it’s a beautiful day out, I explain that’s their opinion. But the days they don’t like they can imagine how I’m enjoying it!

        My friend has a seeing eye husband LOL. she has mastered the look of maybe I know you or maybe I’m being nice to a stranger – when we meet up I have to wave my arms and yell her name because otherwise she will walk right past me. She remembers me as “the tall one.” If I just say her name and don’t tell her I am , she has really mastered the perfect face. She is a paramedic and she says part of it that makes it work is all of the nametags. Also as you probably know firefighters and paramedics are one of the best jobs for people with ADD. I was an investigative journalist and the stories change every week so it kept my interest and The adrenaline going.

        I have heard people talking about adrenal burnout from ADHD – does anyone know about that? I have to have it treated because I’m not making cortisol after being sick for so long with so many life-and-death situations but I wondered if it really is connected to hyperactivity.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I used to LOVE name tags before my short term vision began to get fuzzy as time marched on.

          In my extensive experience, adrenal fatigue is not something see see a lot among ADDers, so yours is probably a result of other health problems. So sorry you have to deal with that too.

          We have a lot of other problems tied to the additional stress of having to navigate a stressful world with ADD, but even hyperactivity is not really the result of cortisol as much as the fact that the brakes aren’t particularly well-connected in the ADD brain. For some it’s physical hyperactivity, others it’s primarily mental – thus the ease with which we get distracted.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Thank you for clearing that up! The woman who keeps telling me that ADHD has to result in adrenal fatigue didn’t make any sense to me. It seems like something I would’ve already heard about. But this was a case of ” it seems logical to me” when she didn’t really have any factual information. I know with women hyperactivity is often Hyper Talkactivity. That with the Kadian rhythms being off with sleep and you get someone who looks hypomanic. I wonder how many people with ADD with hyperactivity get misdiagnosed bipolar like I did.
            Your website is really informative! On a tablet it’s a little visually busy for me but you have a lot of really good information. N 24 it is really important. I cut-and-paste some of your articles about it and sent it to a friend who cannot sleep. It’s been going on for 12 years. Started after back-to-back Zen meditation retreats oddly enough. Anyway every once in a while he has fixed it with some new medication or changing his diet – and then after a few days it goes away. I suspect since psychiatrists in Vermont really suck (we have one of the worst mental health systems in any state) that no one ever even thought about the sleep disorder. I’m hoping it can help him because he is falling apart at the seams working full-time and trying to manage having a girlfriend . So thank you for bringing it to my attention! I have the want to go to sleep at 2 AM but really end up going to bed when the sun is about to rise cycle. Worked great as a freelance journalist. Working from home if you have NeuroDiversity stuff is so easy and then trying to work in an office setting is so horrible! Being able to have my sensory processing needs met and work on my own schedule was really important. When I had to work in the actual bullpen with 300 writers making noise without even cubicles under florescent lights I would just hide in the bathroom sobbing. Just the rush-hour traffic subway ride to work wiped me out.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Rush hour & open work environments . . . Shudder – you are bringing memories back I’d rather forget!! 🙂

            On ADDandSoMuchMore: can you expand the view to include ONLY the article? I hate to hear that the sidebar info is intrusive, because I have spent hundreds of hours giving away info for folks who can’t work even Group Coaching into their budgets. TONS of stuff there (from almost 30 years of researching it and coaching the neurodiverse of various flavors).

            Try it and let me know.
            xx,
            mgh

            Liked by 2 people

          3. Or a tablet/browser combo thing? It’s the first time I’ve gotten this comment, and I’ve gotten more than a few telling me that it was ADD-friendly (my goal).

            I’d hate to think I wasted thousands of hours giving away unreadable expertise for folks who can’t afford to hire my services!
            xx,
            mgh

            Liked by 2 people

    1. But she wouldn’t give it to me! I’m crazy? When I went to Your schools… Just one Pepsi… no, Mom, I’m not on drugs, just get me a Pepsi….

      Ah my well spent youth!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I try to get there as I feel most at peace and only THAT one thing is in my head and not everything else from a spherical direction. Sadly for this topic, having a high-energy kid derails the possibility of it. Just as the zone is within reach, “DADDY… look at this thing (that not even I care about)!” …. “Ok love. What is it?” She shows me something asking about it, and then walks off as I begin to explain. …. yup… no hype-focus for me. Anonymouslyautistic, tell those people they need to understand when you get focused, you are in a zone, and it is pure bliss for you. That’s all. If they can’t understand, then I don’t know WHAT their issue is with peace. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

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