Autism, Special Interests, and Elevated Moods

Many years ago, I read an article on Suite101 or About.com or the like that discussed similarities between Asperger’s Syndrome and bipolar disorder. The parent who wrote the article described her son’s mood swings from elated to depressed. However, she realized that these mood swings were related to whether the son could engage in some special interest.

I find the same thing happen to me, but in my case, it also ties in with the dissociative or emotion dysregulation symptoms. I find that when I’m in a particular personality state, I engage in a certain special interest a lot more than when I’m in another state. For example, Clarissa is my blogger part, who is behind most of the posts on this blog. Annemiek is my crafter. And I at this point can’t think of anyone else.

Getting back to mood swings, I must say that I get very elated when I engage in a particular interest for a certain period of time. I uttered the phrase that I would’ve been manic if I experienced this (mania) at all. In a way, this is extremely inappropriate and comparable to when a currently mentally healthy person talks about “going all OCD”. I in no way want to say I suffer from bipolar (hypo)mania, but these mood swings do get problematic at times.

For example, last night I didn’t sleep at all. I spent around $80 on useless online services without even bothering to read the not-so-fine print that clearly said these services would not be working for me. I actually took a PRN Phenergan at 2:00 AM, before I went ont he shopping spree, but swung right through it. Phenergan, for those not familiar with it, is a strong tranquilizer or low-potency neuroleptic. I’m now relatively calm again, so again I in no way mean to compare myself to people who have these experiences for weeks on end, but I do see actually how this could become a problem.

So, should autism parents limit their children’s special interests in order to prvent this from happening. I don’t think this is universally the case, but parents must teach their children about time and money management. I, having been pretty stingy as a child and teen, never really had to learn about this. I always had enough money on my hands anyway. I actually must say I have no clue about budgeting, and really don’t know whether I need to learn it yet. I guess so.

5 thoughts on “Autism, Special Interests, and Elevated Moods

  1. I didn't learn budgeting either when I was a child/teenager. I had "situational" bipolar where I swung violently from one extreme to another when I was put into situations that I had no control over or was unfamiliar with (an extreme like death or accidents). It was this anxiety or panic or manic that I just couldn't overcome. I spent many years speaking to counselors and developing my own support system to eventually overcome this and had to be careful to teach my children how to fend in crazy situations. Now, as an adult, I still have my moments… which is organic, but I can cope much better than before. I also had to learn to budget, especially after having children – which was so very new to me because money wasn't an issue growing up. Surprising where life takes you 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story!

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  2. Hmm, I am sure I posted on this one before, but I don't see my comment. It is based on what the distraction is and if it is going to be a benefit to the person causing the distraction. I think people sometimes fight for equal rights then realize it won't benefit them the way they thought it would. Our kids deserve respect and to be allowed to help in the decision process.

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