Attention 2 – interest disruption

I started this as an Autistic blog – yet the overlap with ADHD traits is making it veer into that area – what Autistic and ADHDer adults say are both resonating.

What occurred to me today is how attention can be easily disrupted with an important passion of mine – music – which ironically I can completely forget about.

This might be related to age and feeling increasingly weary – but I’ve heard ADHD adults say they can’t actually concentrate on a film anymore for example. I immediately think of my behaviour when I watch a film on my own. Typically I’ll pause to follow some other thought – look up why the actor I’m looking at is familiar because the thought won’t quiet down despite trying to tell myself that right now that isn’t important – or sometimes I can’t sit still – or go and get a drink. Or perhaps I’ll pause and come back and decide something else is more interesting.

With TV or film I’m less disappointed that I don’t seem to hold concentration as I can be happy enough watching the first half of something up to the point I’ve figured out what will probably happen in the conclusion – I have got my enjoyment.

I just realised however, while trying to listen to some unfamiliar music, the impulse to switch my attention half way through a 5 minute song.

This tends to happen a lot if I get on a sudden exploratory urge through the vast streaming libraries available online – sampling songs to add to listen later – then forgetting I’ve added them for months.

This time I wanted to actually listen and was enjoying the flow of the song, but my mind was still asking me if I wanted to look up some information or remember to listen to some other artist I’d been reminded of while listening to a memoir audio book – and so on.

Are ADHD traits getting more obvious as I get older? This is someone who has kept their mind on classical symphonies that last from 30 minutes to an hour. Maybe this was because I started doing this on CD when I couldn’t look up ten other recordings of the same Symphony – fewer distractions may have helped. Maybe it’s because when you’re a Neurodiverse person trying to Adult reasonably well and finding that harder to manage as age increases – and burnout becomes more regular.

Regardless of whether it’s getting harder to fix my attention or not, I need to find some way of finding the focus again – it could be as simple as finding something to fidget with and remembering that helps – and because attention is a problem – putting the putty or some other thing right in front of where I will listen to music.

The focus is there – because I know I can be completely locked into playing a game on the computer and forget to blink. I can also forget I enjoy gaming for weeks and become despondent. The same happens with music.

The interest disruption is a real difficulty because it’s possible to forget what provides some of the biggest dopamine hits and end up in what I imagine must be some “dopamine desert” where nothing is providing satisfaction and the mood starts to look like depression.

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