Tea is definitely one of my special interests. I could talk or write for ages about tea. 🙂 When I was at my ASD assessment, I was told “you have a very long-winded pattern of speech”. Speaking with lots of detail and talking for a long time, especially if it’s a topic of interest, is something that is common for people with Aspergers and ASD. But I stop myself from speaking in a long-winded way, a lot.
My ASD counsellor told me that a lot of women with Aspergers like me are very perceptive, but not intuitive. That means that because things are not intuitive (I.e, we don’t just “know” how to read body language or facial expressions), we make up for it by trying to observe people as much as we can with our heightened senses – so we are very perceptive at noticing differences, even if we are not entirely sure how to actually interpret it. So when I’m speaking to someone I know, I will notice tiny changes – like if their body twitches even a little bit, or their facial expression changes even a little bit; this makes me panic and my first thought is, “They are no longer happy with me, they are bored/angry/sad, I should probably not talk so much or should find something else to talk about”. Obviously this is a silent process that goes on behind my mind, but you can imagine the amount of stress and panic this causes me, because I can’t really properly interpret what people are thinking or feeling. So over the years I am very aware of how much I’m speaking, am constantly worrying and am not always sure how much I should or shouldn’t say.
But with my partner, I often realise I’ve been talking for quite a while – I do indeed have naturally long winded speech, when I’m not trying to stop myself and when I feel comfortable, especially when I get excited and talk about things that are really interesting like special interests, but also when I’m just describing things or telling him things that happened during the day, because I talk about every single detail of what happened! I often talk about lots of tiny details, rather than the general picture, as that’s what I tend to see. Recently since I became ill, I unfortunately get very tired talking a lot, but my natural speech is like this.
My partner told me that it’s important that I should be myself, and he told me that even though I don’t realise it, people do love me for who I am. So in an effort to be more myself, I am going to fill this blog with all my quirks and excitability and special interests. 🦄🌸A special interest is a lot, lot more than a hobby, it’s something that is so incredible and important, something I become completely fixated on (sometimes for a short time, so I have a series of intense interests, or sometimes a longer period of time), and which becomes, in those moments, all that I can think about. Its very hard to switch off from it. It’s an obsessive joy and also a coping mechanism for a lot of autistic people, a bright and brilliant part of their lives. Without my ongoing and new special interests and my imaginary worlds, I do not think I would be coping now. This is also called having an “abnormal intensity” and focus, and is part of the ASD criteria (although I don’t like the word abnormal). The difference between hobbies and special interests, is not about the actual interest or subject, it’s the intensity and the focus of those interests. I have a few “special interests”: tea, cuddly toys, Harry Potter, Disney, desserts, fantasy books, hair accessories, and also whatever my latest area of personal research is. I think a lot of people think only of trains when they think of ASD special interests, but that’s just one of many intense interests someone could have!
So today I’ll talk about tea!
Continue reading “The yumminess of tea + special interests”