"When you meet one person with Asperger's you've met one person with Asperger's" so the saying goes. We all suffer different symptoms to different degrees, but a symptom I never really identified with was one where people get single-mindedly focused on a task to the detriment of everything else. Mainly because at work I do often have to switch active tasks, and it's something I've been aware I'm not 100% happy with doing but like many things I just get on and do it.
Last night I had a few tasks that I needed to do, and I've also started on a new personal project. I started off doing a bit of my project until I was too hungry to concentrate much, so broke for diner, then got back to my project. I was always keen to do just a bit more, then just a bit more. I knew I had other tasks to do but wanted to keep doing just a bit more. By the time 2am came I had not done any of my other tasks. I still had to finish a document I was writing for work, finish an e-mail to someone, have a shower, prepare lunch for the next day and also iron a shirt. It was 2am! I had been on my project for 5 hours.
So the e-mail just had to wait, the document was half-arsed but I knew I could finish it when I got to work, and I had to soldier with the other tasks. I didn't get to bed until just past 3am and I still couldn't shake this project from my mind and what plans I had to enhance it, what the next stages should be etc. So my mind was racing and I just couldn't switch off or get to sleep.
Then it dawned on me that this situation wasn't unique, it wasn't the first time I've done this…start a project and got so engrossed in it I just can't pull myself away and can barely sleep for thinking about it. Then thinking about it all day at work, just waiting to get back home to repeat the cycle. Yet whenever I hear about people with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) getting so focused and set on a single task that you can't break them free from I always thought "that's nothing like me." It's everything like me.
This is one of those times when knowing what is wrong with you really helps you understand yourself and your behaviours and recognise when your behaviour is the result of AS. If I didn't know I had AS I'd never stop to look at the trees instead of the wood.