First, I need to say that I hate the phrase “special interest.” It sounds demeaning or patronizing. All I can think of is a doddering old great aunt looking over my shoulder at my stamp collection and saying, “well, isn’t that special.”
I’d much rather use “obsession,” or if that’s too extreme, then “specialized interest,” which is more precisely descriptive. But the term most often used in the ASD community is special interest so I’ll use that here, cringing every time I type it.
Okay, with that bit of editorializing out of the way, we can talk about a topic dear to most aspies’ hearts: the special interest. According to the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s Syndrome, having an “encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus” is a core symptom of AS.
You’ll notice there are two parts to that criteria: intensity or focus. A special interest can be an intense interest in a broad subject (architecture) or a narrowly focused interest (mid-12th century Cistercian monasteries). Generally, narrowly focused interests are also intense, but a special interest doesn’t have to be stereotypically narrow to qualify.
What Does a Special Interest Look Like?
A partial list of my special interests, starting in childhood:
- Construction toys (legos, lincoln logs, tinker toys)
- Text (reading, writing, words, found text, Roget’s thesaurus)
- Guinness Book of World Records
- Baseball cards
- Sewing (making my own clothes)
- The stock market
- M*A*S*H (TV show)
- The Doors
- Star Trek:TNG
- Martial Arts
- Human detritus (abandoned places, found objects, discarded things, cemeteries)
- Zen Buddhism
- Dog training
- Astronomy, especially Messier objects
- The Choson Dynasty
- National parks
- Autism (!)
You can look at the list and think, “but everyone has hobbies, what’s so special about yours?” Like much of what differentiates an Asperger’s trait from a general personality quirk, the answer is the degree to which the trait is present.
For example, when I took up running, I didn’t just go out and jog a few times a week. I read books about training for marathons. I found workout plans online and joined a training site to get personalized drills. I learned about Fartlek and track workouts and running technique. I signed up for road races. Ten years later, I spend more on running clothes and shoes than on everyday clothes. I use a heart rate monitor and a distance tracker to record my workouts. If I go on vacation, I pack all of running stuff. I don’t just like to run occasionally; running is an integral part of my life. It fills a very specific need.
Shelter from the Storm
That’s a key differentiator between a run-of the-mill hobby and an Aspergerian special interest. Spending time engaged in a special interest fulfills a specific need for aspies. It’s more than just a pleasant way to pass the time. For me, indulging in a special interest is how I recharge myself. It’s comforting. It allows me to completely immerse myself in something that intensely interests me while tuning out the rest of the world. If you have a favorite movie that you rewatch or a book you like to return to again and again, it’s a bit like that.
Special Interests Gone Wild
The danger in special interests is that they can become consuming. They can take over every conversation, every free minute of the day, every thought, if you let them. They can be a refuge or a hiding place.
There are days when I’m so engrossed in writing and/or work (I’ve made one of my special interests into a career) that I’ll happily spend eight or ten or twelve hours at the computer. I put dinner on the stove and then forget about it until I smell it burning. The sun sets and hours later I realize the house is pitch dark. If the dog didn’t nudge my elbow when it was time for her to go out or be fed, I would forget that she existed.
Clearly this can be a problem.
Another problem can arise if the object of a special interest is socially unacceptable. When my husband read my list of special interests, he jokingly added himself to it. He was being funny, but sometimes aspies do take on another person as a special interest. If that person is a celebrity, the aspie can safely spend hours learning about and admiring that person from afar. But if the person is someone in the aspie’s life, the special interest may be expressed as unwanted attention, harassment or stalking. (You can read an excellent first person account of this issue here: Love or Obsession: When a Person Becomes an Aspie’s Special Interest.)
So while most special interests are “harmless,” if an interest involves behavior that is illegal, taboo or a threat to your or someone else’s health or wellbeing, it may be necessary to seek help in redirecting your attention to a safer alternative.
How Does an Aspie Find a Special Interest?
Special interests tend to find us, rather than the other way around. I have no idea what has drawn me to many of my special interests over the years. Most are things that I have an intense but inexplicable fascination with.
Take abandoned places. I can’t explain what the lure is, but I can spend hours roaming an old townsite or quarry. I’m especially intrigued by abandoned psych wards. I can easily get lost exploring websites like this one: 10 Abandoned Psych Wards Photographers Love Sneaking Into
Like writing, reading, and martial arts, my interest in abandoned places and things has been with me since childhood. But other interests have come and gone over the years. A special interest often arises suddenly, becomes intense for a period (months or years) then disappears just as quickly. My collecting-related interests from childhood were like that. I would spend hours organizing, sorting and rearranging my coins, stamps and baseball cards. I’d talk my parents into driving me to collector’s shows, my tattered value guide tucked under my arm, bouncing with excitement at the prospect of filling a hole in one of my collections.
Then, when my interest in one of my collections suddenly dried up, I’d pack my binders and reference books and collecting paraphernalia away in the closet where they’d sit collecting dust while I spent hours comparing annual editions of the Guinness Book of World Records to see which records had changed or clipping articles about M*A*S*H from magazines so I could add them to my scrapbook.
How Much is Too Much?
Special interests are important to most aspies’ happiness and perhaps to our mental health. If I go through a period where I can’t engage in my special interests, I get agitated and spend a lot of time thinking about what I’d like to be doing. For me, and for a lot of aspies, a special interest is our preferred way of de-stressing, recharging and just plain enjoying ourselves.
But like any good thing, it’s possible to overdo it and veer into unhealthy territory. I think it’s safe to say that a special interest has become too consuming when it keeps you from taking care of daily responsibilities (school, work, hygiene), negatively impacts your health (lack of sleep, poor eating habits), or has a significant negative impact on loved ones (limited social contact, financial burden).
However, there is one case where you get to pursue your special interest all day, five days a week, and society gives you an approving thumbs up: when you turn a special interest into a career. Suddenly, you’re no longer a geek who knows too much about C++ programming, production switchers or eighteenth century fashion. You’re a computer programmer, an audio equipment repair technician or a museum curator. Big difference, right?
I’ve been lucky enough to do this twice, making it perfectly acceptable to dedicate most of my waking hours to a favorite subject. I’ve read and heard about a lot of aspies who’ve done the same with their lifelong special interests. It’s certainly not possible for everyone with Asperger’s to turn a special interest into a job or career, but when it does work out that way, you get to be one of the lucky people who earns a living doing what you love.
For another perspective on having a special interest feels, check out Focusing on Special Interests by Jeannie Davide-Rivera who blogs about Asperger’s at Aspie Writer. I especially enjoyed learning about her first special interest, because we shared some favorite baseball players in common as children.
43 thoughts on “What’s so Special About a Special Interest?”
I relate to this post, very much! We have had many of the same special interests. I’m not too picky about what they’re called. I do prefer special interest over obsession, but really I don’t care much. Some do, though.
I also agree that too much can be harmful, especially in the case of people obsessions. (I will use the word obsession here, because a person is not a thing to be owned or to specialize in) I have seen this happen to one lady on Wrong Planet. I later saw a news article on her where she was arrested for stalking and seriously harassing one of her teachers. I immediately knew who it was by the details. It was very scary for the teacher, I’m sure of it.
I am always brainstorming on ways to make money from my current interest, which is blogging and autism advocacy.
Thanks for such a great post. I will be sharing!
I’m glad you pointed out that obsession is a better word to use in the case of people. The objectification of a person is always so dangerous.
There are so many stories of people who have successfully monetized their blogs. That sounds like a great way of making some income by doing something you love and, in the case of autism advocacy, making the world a better place.
Photography and exploring are vastly becoming 2 special interests of mine. My ‘walk’ is 6 to 8 hours and covers 20 to 30 miles and consists of 20 + photos. I’ve gotten so used to walking that I avoid renewing my drivers license in fear I’ll stop walking
Wow, that’s some serious walking. I do love long walks for the quiet exploration time they provide, but you’ve truly elevated it to special interest territory. It’s great that you can combine two of your interests together.
I find it difficult to regulate my special interests, it’s very all or nothing and it’s not easy finding a balance. Because I have younger homeschooled children and are here constantly – I’ve temporarily given up almost all of my interests. I found that when the inevitable interruption (or thousands of interruptions) came, I literally went ballistic, screaming and…yeah. Just not good for anyone. I look forward to a time a few years from now when I can say that I need 3 hours and they can do their own thing without needing me. And while I do find it stressful, I find it equally stressful being so out of control about interruptions.
Young children can make it so hard to get any time to yourself, let alone the kind of time a special interest requires. I don’t think I could have handled the time demands of homeschooling even my one child, so kudos to you for finding a way to put your children first. It must be difficult to have to make the choice between giving up your interests and feeling so out of control if you tried to keep on with them.
The good news is that kids grow up pretty fast. The time when you can find a few hours for yourself will probably come sooner than you expect.
Mental arithmetic and especially squaring numbers is one of my special interests. I often lament that I was born about 50 or 60 years too late: I could have had a great job as a calculator, but nowadays people can buy a mechanical (or even a digital) calculator for a dollar so they don’t hire human calculators anymore. In the 1930’s and 1940’s people would have paid me good money to multiply stuff in my head quickly. Now it’s a weird party trick that makes people a little uncomfortable around me so I do it privately most of the time.
I do have some others that I’m working on monetising and that’s okay. But I think I will always be a bit sad that I can’t make a living as a calculator.
I think it’s cool that you have a specific time period in mind when your special interest would have been highly valued. A lot of people look at narrow special interests and think they’re worthless, but everything seems to have a place and time.
My stamp collection was truly special =P
Indeed! So was mine . . .
I was utterly shocked, when I first read about Asperger’s/Autism, that most people do not have interests as strong and pervasive as mine. My first thought, remembering Sherlock, was “Their life must be so boring!”. It never occurred to me that other people were different in this sense before, because In my family it is normal to spend a lot of time and money on rather narrow and long-lasting hobbies (from crochet to Warhammer to Persian carpets and many more), and obviously I couldn’t see how deep the relationship between my family members and their own interest is.
I was shocked too. What do other people do with all that free time?
When I started investigating special interests in more detail I was surprised to learn that things like reading could be a special interest, but it definitely fits the bill when I think about how I use reading and how it makes me feel.
I just the beginning of a post yesterday (from the dentist chair) about the difference between focusing on special interests and difficulties with sustained focus and completion of other life tasks. You did a great job at explaining what special interest are!
@Terra, I too go ballistic and feel out of control sometimes when I am constantly interrupted. I get immediately angered.
Thank you! It was fun to spend a lot of time reading about other people’s special interests and how they fit into our lives. I look forward to reading your post as I have problems with completion of things (like cooking, cleaning, going out) due to wanting to just wallow in my special interests instead.
I actually was heading toward that…but instead wrote a short post about how special interests make me feel, then I directed them to you. 🙂
But…the completing things, cooking, cleaning, etc… I believe it is a combination of excecutive function and weak central coherence issues. I’ve been pondering it for a while and at some point I will write it… there I go with the procrastinating. LOL
Thank you! I linked from here to your special interests post and the Baseball Obsessed Pre-Schooler post from your book. You really have a great way of getting the details and feelings of a subject across so clearly.
“For me, indulging in a special interest is how I recharge myself. It’s comforting. It allows me to completely immerse myself in something that intensely interests me while tuning out the rest of the world.”
I call it preoccupational therapy.
I love that phrase “preoccupational therapy” – what a perfect description.
I love this post! I am a social worker who has been working with people on the Autism Specrtum for years! I have always been fascinated by the types if special interest ( I know you hate that label) and feel as if so much time the person I am working with is told to stop thinking about the subject and focus in other things. I have always thought that talking thinking and now using the web to involve oneself in the interest is a great way to relax and decompress from a day of demands. I am wondering if you would be willing to offer me some perspective from someone who is on the spectrum to really understand what you would like to call these interests and if you would be interested in meeting others who share your interest on the Internet in a smaller scale site than what already exists out there. If you are willing to offer you thoughts please email me privately
Glad you enjoyed it!
I don’t really have a good suggestion for an alternative to special interest. At any rate, most autistic people seem to be fine with using it and it’s a very common term.
Great article! I, for one, thoroughly agree with you regarding the term “special interest” but I can’t really think of another term to use, and it seems to be favoured by most autistic people so democracy rules, I guess. 🙂 I’ve always been so jealous of people who are able to turn their “special interests” into a career; you can’t really do a lot with mine (although I think feminism is becoming one, which could come in handy). One of my most recent “special interests” was a person; thankfully it was a celebrity rather than someone I actually know, but it still really scared me at the time.
Thanks! It does seem like we’re stuck with “special interest.” I saw “fascination” used the other day, which was a new one.
I’ve heard lots of people say that their special interests aren’t that useful when it comes to earning a living. I’ve been lucky in that regard, though when the interest dries up before a new way to make a living is found, it can get a little dicey. An interest in feminism could become a career path in a quite a few different ways, so perhaps that will be the case for you.
I’ve had multiple special interests in my life, particularly electronics, audio, radio, and computers. I have been fortunate that several of them have combined to create a relatively lucrative career for me as a computer specialist. Even better, since I am a self-identified computer geek/nerd, people almost expect some sort of eccentric behavior from me, and are accepting of my quirks and sensitivities. I do sometimes wish that I’d learned how to code, but hardware and physical systems are more interesting to me than software.
I prefer the word ‘hobbies to ‘special interests’ – it’s a more generalized term. My hobbies have a habit of becoming lucrative- first with computers, and some writing (I remain an amateur because I don’t want to lose the fun of it), and hopefully sound design. My hearing is almost supernaturally keen, so sound plays a large role in how I live my life. I love various kinds of music, and am attracted to or avoid places according to their ‘room-tone’. I think I’d do quite well as some sort of sonic troubleshooter, audio ambience evaluator, or sound designer, since I hear/sense things that nypicals do not, but still get affected by. I am learning how to run a sophisticated digital audio workstation program called Ableton Live. All those buttons and sliders and things- with cool sounds coming out the speakers… geeky heaven!
Thank you for this blog, BTW. I’m a recently diagnosed middle-aged female Aspie also, and your story parallels mine, except that I made a deliberate choice not to marry or have kids. (Touch/sound/scent aversions are too strong…)
I have a whole long series written about being self-employed and how in a best case scenario special interests can translate into careers. You’re the perfect example! It’s awesome that you get to do what you love and get paid for it, especially since it sounds like you’re quite good at it as well.
I’m glad you found the blog and commented. One of my favorite parts about writing this is getting to hear other people’s stories in the comments. It reminds me that I’m not alone on this journey. 🙂
Hello , just wanted to ask you about aspie special interest ..
First , I’m not english native speaker so forgive me if I had any grammar mistakes
Anyways .. I think that I might have asperger’s syndrome , in fact I love reading about asperger’s syndrome alot , I became asperger’s syndrome specialist !
I can’t say that I read about it all the time , maybe It’s not time consuming , but I think about it ((ALL THE TIME)) !!
I born this way , I don’t remember alot about my childhood , but I remember that I was obsessively rewatching the same video again and again and again , till today I do the same things , I obsessively repeat the same song most of the day maybe for 3 days before I try to listen to other song !
I read the same article again and again , but I don’t get absorbed to the point that I forget to eat for example ,
When you say that you have aspergers , does that mean that you consume hours reading about your special interest ?
Or is it enough that you think about it ALL THE TIME ?
In fact I think about the same things for years , and I roll my hair all the time , I’m 20 years old now , I remember when I was kid 7 or 8 years old I used to repeat 3 phrases in the same order all the day with low voice ( whispering )
I don’t remember alot about my childhood .
I have extreme male brain ( I’m girl by the way ) my EQ is 15 , and my AQ is 35 , I can read facial expressions but I don’t understand what other people might be thinking
I mean I can’t sence if I’m intruding for example , I don’t know what to do in social situations , I don’t go to parties because I don’t know how to behave , my first freindship was when I’m 13 years old , It’s hard to maintain freindships , and I’m alone again , I have poor social and emotional reciprocity ,
But I have good coordination and motor skills , I walked when I was 9 months old , which means that I have good balance and coordination , and I look into people’s eye, and I don’t think that I have considerable sensory issues , my sister is suffering from the same problems , my father too , I think It’s genetics .
Just wanted to ask you can someone have aspergers while having good coordination and balance ? And understand facial expressions and look into people’s eyes ? And not having considerable sensory issues ? ( in fact I’m sensitive to some kind of clothes but I can’t say that it’s severe enough to be considered as sensory issue)
And I’m generally good at understandind sarcasm , but sometimes I may not get it .
And what I wrote about my interest in asperger’s syndrome , does it considered as special interest ?
And can you have asperger’s syndrome without having meltdowns ? In fact I have extreme emotions , I can be very angry , very sad to the point that i want to suicide , and i can be very happy , my emotions is extreme , but not to the point that i have meltdowns , I watched youtube video about meltdown and I’m not like that .
I really want to know the answers , I feel that I’m very different in my way of thinking and in my behaviors , and that made me depressed , I feel that I’m lost and alone in this world , no one understands me , I’m totally alone , people keep telling me that I’m like a machine , they don’t know that I have emotions , they keep telling me that I’m insensitive and saying things without considering other’s emotion , I never meant to hurt anyone , I’m just honest , they keep telling me that I talk about myself and about the things that I care about alot and I keep talking about the same thing again and again , I want to seek formal diagnosis , but I want to know first if I might have asperger’s or not before seeking formal diagnosis .
It does sound from your description here like you have a lot of Aspergers traits so talking with someone about possibly getting diagnosed sounds like a good idea. Special interests are something you find intensely interesting. Some people pursue their special interest by reading about it but others pursue it by thinking about it or doing it. It really depends on what the interest is. Also, keep in mind that all autistic people are different so it’s hard to say that you have to have a particular trait to a particular degree. Also, many of us have learned coping strategies, like reading facial expressions or making eye contact. There are lots of online screening quizzes that you can take to get a better idea of the range of autistic traits. That might be a good place to start exploring.
I recognise so much of what you’re describing. When I started reading about autism and Asperger’s, I had the same feeling. So much suddenly made sense… but I started obsessing about the stuff that I *didn’t* have.
Like the meltdowns. I didn’t think I had them either. And I’m guessing that when you say you looked it up on Youtube, you saw a young child having a meltdown. I kept thinking that meltdowns sounded and looked far more over the top than what I had. Because when I felt emotionally overwhelmed, I just shutdown. Like, not being able to speak about it. Just feeling stuck in the emotions, not being able to cope. And then I read Musings’ post here about shutdowns, and how it’s just a different form of meltdowns, and I suddenly realised that I ticked that box as well.
Same with sensory things. When I read about the tags in clothing, I was like, “yeah, that’s me!”. But it all sounded far more extreme than what I experienced. I convinced myself that I wasn’t as badly off. Until I started thinking about all the things that I hear that always had other people puzzled. Like getting annoyed with the sounds from overhead lighting, or the standby sound of the TV, or the gurgling of the central heating. Things that other people simply seemed to be able to ignore, to the point where they weren’t even aware of ignoring it. Picky eating, another clue. Not being able to explain why even the thought of mayonnaise makes me retch. I also have very good motor skills, no problems with handwriting, good balance… so I didn’t think the fact that I’m always bumping into things or letting things fall out of my hands (I’ve even bought a METAL tea pot because I always ended up breaking glass or ceramic ones) was all that important.
I’ve also been told I have a lot of empathy and can always get to the core of what’s bothering someone. That I understand people very well. Which is supposed to be impossible when you are autistic. But… I do that by asking the right questions, not by instinct. I can’t do it when people don’t say anything.
The point is that it doesn’t have to be extreme. It’s that most people don’t experience these things AT ALL. And when it’s making you suffer because you feel unable to connect to people, to maintain real friendships, to be accepted for who you are and not get told constantly that you’re saying and doing the wrong things… then you are entitled to say that your problems are real.
So I was thinking about this, I came up with a few lists…Special interests in childhood (elementary through middle school): wolves, fiction writing, collecting rocks, Chinese culture/Chinese mythology, foreign languages, Autsim, favorite books/tv shows/manga, astronomy
Special interests from adolescence to present: literary analysis, foreign languages, Chinese language, Chinese culture, Japanese cultural psychology, favorite books/tv shows/manga, filmmaking, particularly video editing, and a branch from that is Vidding (majorly), media studies, coin collecting
Things that are just hobbies/general interests: drawing, fiction writing, reading, photography, history, religious studies, linguistics, video games/game design, animation
It was interesting for me to see what is just a hobby vs. special interests. Even though my hobbies are still near and dear to me (especially photography) special interests are on a whole other level.
Brilliant blog, thanks. I have forwarded this link to family, relatives & friends including to sibling who cannot get ‘it’! Thank you so much!
“For example, when I took up running, I didn’t just go out and jog a few times a week. I read books about training for marathons. I found workout plans online and joined a training site to get personalized drills. I learned about Fartlek and track workouts and running technique. I signed up for road races. Ten years later, I spend more on running clothes and shoes than on everyday clothes. I use a heart rate monitor and a distance tracker to record my workouts. If I go on vacation, I pack all of running stuff. I don’t just like to run occasionally; running is an integral part of my life. It fills a very specific need.”
Then every serious runner has an aspie special interest? Because nothing in what you described is unusual at all for many runners who are not on the spectrum otherwise. So I dun1t understand this. What makes this specific to AS?
dun1t = don’t, doh
Infinity9, I think you perhaps misunderstand. A serious runner does not think about running all the time. It’s always on the mind like a running commentary – everything that is closely/remotely related. My autistic son (he has classic autism, not Aspergers, but the autistic obsessions are the same) thinks about his obsession, obsessively, first thing when he wakes up, talks & mutters about it in his sleep & every moment he is free mentally (while physically occupied with an activity) or free physically (not otherwise occupied) he would obsessively talks with himself about it or worse, he would naturally drive every conversation of the family gradually to that topic. It beggars belief that beginning from when he found his own tongue at age 10, he thinks & talks about nothing else literally other than his obsessions 90% of the time. Even his own sibling cannot tolerate it and would quietly leave the room. He cannot help it – it is a specific characteristic of the ASD person. Does the above explanation help you understand what an autistic obsession is? Hope that helps. Read her book on Aspergers which is absolutely brilliant. It will also shine more light on your confusion.
Yeah that helps, thanks, just the example as quoted doesn’t emphasize anything uncommon about the intensity of the interest level. Serious runners do all those things the blogger listed and they do think and talk a lot about running. No, not literally all the time, not in their dreams of course lol. They talk with their running buddies instead.
So where this description in the blog post could do with improvement is pointing out how it goes beyond what a non-AS person does when they have an intense interest in a hobby. Because obviously one does not have to have AS to have an intense interest in a hobby. You did point out some of the differences, though.
Yes, you have a valid point. There are those rare persons who take such an intense interest in what they love doing that their addiction or passion, the thinking pattern as well as behaviour border on eccentricity or insanity. 🙂 They may/may not be autistic.
I’ll soon be into the 20th year of my most recent aspie obsession. Along the way I’ve amassed a trove of “long lost” historical information (stored as digital files), collected rare & important artifacts (stored in boxes), made fresh connections and delightful discoveries (stored in my head), accumulated a ton of practical experience (related to techniques, materials and construction), participated in groups with similar interests (online) & made a living as an expert with this niche interest: The history of soap bubble play and performance.
What I’m wondering is this… is there a best way to package and share the “best of” what I’ve accumulated (a legacy project) before I lose interest & move on to something new or in some other way it becomes too late for me to make the effort?
Does anyone else wrestle with this?
I’m talking about the unique stuff that others with a serious hobby type interest in the topic do find insightful, useful, novel, helpful and/or interesting but will never discover on their own because they are not fueled by obsession.
The biggest trouble I face is this: After testing different ways of sharing (websites, videos, books, lectures, consulting, online group conversations & etc) — I’ve found the most welcome mode has been in creating short videos. Or concise webpages. Or short articles. Or supremely pared down how-to advice.
I can not fault people for not welcoming the rich context and history that underlies: 1. The practical advice they are looking for, or 2. The “Believe It OR Not” quick factoids they enjoy.
While I can’t fault them for that… their desire only for milled down facts
and “here’s how” (without any of the “why”) information leaves me with a shortage of motivation to share.
In other words, the things I find most exhilarating (a quest for deep knowledge that keeps me up at night. 🙂 & the fantastic tales that result) is not something others with a typical interest in the topic want to know about.
My dream for a legacy project would be to pass on the inquisitory fire as well as the “just the facts” information.
What’s a Bubbler to do?
By the way: Your rendering of the feelings evoked while spending time with one’s Special Interest are dead-on accurate.
Currently, I’m rereading the Trigun manga for the umpteenth time, and I’m finding myself just digesting everything I can about my favorite character. I collect images, fanfiction, fan art, blog posts, wiki articles, etc about this character. This is how I am when I read anything. I have to seek out online communities to talk about these favorite characters and people who will talk about them with me because I know no one else will even understand what I’m talking about. The same thing goes for video games, novels, shows, celebrities, topics and so on. I have binders dedicated to specific categories such as creative writing, found flyers/art, and witchcraft/occult-related subjects.
I found this extremely comforting to read. I didn’t know I was an Aspie for most of my life, so I didn’t know anything about “special interests,”. I always called them obsessions. I would often tell my husband stories from my past and say “I was obsessed with it/him for a little while”. I’m also ADHD, which I did know about. But I never understood why certain thing drew me in and I always had the strangest interests, especially being a young girl (I was obsessed with a particular baseball team and player, movies, and linguistics). My baseball obsession lasted for probably a decade and I applaud my best friend and my mother for bearing it, haha. My special interests always seem to stay with me even after they have leveled out some. I just get so passionate and I can’t stop myself from talking about it, even when I know no one is all that interested.
How did you make the visual collage of your special interests?