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storm-petrel

Obsessions, job and ability to focus

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storm-petrel

OK, I'm not sure I'll be able to explain this well enough to make it clear what I am actually asking but I'll have a go.

At the moment I am having considerable difficulty remaining focused on anything except my job. I can't focus at all on what I usually think of as my main interests which all revolve around the sea, the mountains and natural history.

I can however really hyperfocus on my job. Quite by chance I managed to turn what was an extreme childhood obsession into my career. When that obsession became my career, the nature of my interest in it changed and I now channel all my resources into maintaining my professional standards. I don't want to say what I do for a living as I am worried about my managers or colleagues stumbling across this forum and working out who storm-petrel actually is. My job does involve safety critical work and lots of people depend on me to do it properly to ensure their safety so my ability to hyperfocus on it is good. 

I am diagnosed with a mood disorder but that only seems to cause problems in every other area of my life except my job. When I am feeling depressed my job actually provides considerable relief from that. It is a very repetitive and routine job that is governed entirely by strict procedures and protocols that must be followed to the letter, which is part of the reason I enjoy it and I find it very relaxing and therapeutic at times.  But I can't really understand why at the moment I am unable to focus at all on the other things that I normally love. 

What I am trying to ask is, is it possible that my job is in fact my real special interest and hence I never lose the ability to remain focused on it however I am feeling? Whereas all of those other things are perhaps just hobbies. I do get pretty obsessed with them but perhaps not quite to the same extent as I do with my job.

 

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Little Guy
45 minutes ago, storm-petrel said:

When I am feeling depressed my job actually provides considerable relief

Not unusual. I too like to lose myself in mind-numbing minutia sometimes. Sometimes it is relaxing not to have to deal with all the confusing stuff out there.
So take the time as respite and relax into it. This could give you strength to explore why you are depressed.

With me I came to understand that depression often masked unresolved conflicts, Other times, something left unsaid or left undone. Unexpressed anger can lead to depression as well. Sometimes this stuff can pile up and can take a little sorting to work out.

Follow your passion.

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Gone away
44 minutes ago, storm-petrel said:

But I can't really understand why at the moment I am unable to focus at all on the other things that I normally love. 

That would normally mean you don't have time, are working way too hard, have some kind of problem on your mind, or are (hopefully not) depressed. Are you sleeping OK?

If its hard to stay focussed outside work there must be a reason. Do you make time to unwind properly when you get home and rejuvenate prior to switching modes?

I remember you questioning you rally interest recently so you are going through some self examination or maybe change. 

When it comes to interests for me music and instruments have always been a backbone theme...even during periods when I don't do any,  I always eventually fall /revert back to it... a sort of default setting. I don't know what a real special interest is ... maybe its a 'holy grail'. For some it may be very obvious and lifelong but as we age its natural to diversify. Things I get 'into' vary as life moves on. Also aging and diversifying is reducing the intensity of my interests as there are too many things going on to do them all justice. 

@Little Guy That makes good sense and is sound advice. 

 Its too easy to complicate matters by over intellectualising. Over-intellectualising tends to suck the life force / impetus out of most things...

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Nesf

Interests and hobbies can vary a lot in intensity, they wax and wane. If you spend too much time on one thing, you might find that you get 'burnt out', especially if you force yourself to do it. Since your main interest is also your job and you are able to focus on that, and it gives you relief from depression, then I wouldn't worry about how much or little time you spend on other interests. Your other interests will reappear naturally when they are ready (or rather, when you are ready for them).

I find that when I have more work on, I don't want to spend so much time on my hobbies or interests, because I'm channeling all my spare energy into my job. That's ok. It's better this way, because if my interests are distracting me from my work, then I'll be in trouble.

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Little Guy
2 hours ago, Nesf said:

Your other interests will reappear naturally when they are ready (or rather, when you are ready for them).

Life looks more and more like a helix or a circle the older I get.
I find all the time that I draw on skills and interests from earlier parts of my life even as I am opening new doors.

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collectingrocks

I bet you're a train driver....:D:P 

If so, then I really do understand as there is a lot to do in a train cab apart from operating the controls and constant hyperfocusing. I used to love trains and wanted to be a train driver but all that got dashed early in life

Of course, do correct me if I'm wrong...;)

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storm-petrel

Thank you. There is a lot to think about there. I'll maybe respond a bit more specifically when I've had time to reflect on it.

 

 

 

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storm-petrel

OK, having slept on it, I think I am getting a bit obsessed about what my obsessions are! I seem to have got myself into a place where I felt I needed to identify which of my interests were my real special interests, which ones were just hobbies, which ones I should devote most resources to, and which ones I should just try and let go of.

It seems to be fairly common for people to keep adding new interests as they get older and then find they don't have the time or resources to indulge all of them in a way they might have done when they were younger. I guess I just need to accept that my interest in individual topics will wax and wane as Nesf says. My job is still the most important thing as it is the thing that provides most stability in my life. I am desperate not to lose it as I thought I would a couple of years ago, so I think I still need to devote most of my resources to it, but as for everything else I think I just need to go with the flow and indulge whatever takes my fancy at a particular time.

My ability to focus on other things will no doubt return at some point when I am ready and well enough resourced.

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Gone away
15 minutes ago, storm-petrel said:

OK, having slept on it, I think I am getting a bit obsessed about what my obsessions are!

I imagine a dog chasing its tail ...:D

I will follow your conclusion here (go with the flow) as it sounds just the guidance I myself need. Well done for concluding that so well! :)

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storm-petrel
1 hour ago, Going home said:

I will follow your conclusion here (go with the flow) as it sounds just the guidance I myself need. Well done for concluding that so well! :)

Concluding it and actually doing it are not quite the same thing. :lol: :lol: :lol:

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