I am going to try to put words to this most difficult of concepts (at least to me...) I could just as easily title this post "obsession vs uninterested on a dime." I'm not quite certain how the two (exactly) come together but the two different concepts are related in my life.
While procrastination on some level is normal for individuals I'm not referring here to a lack of initiative based on that. Rather, I'm pointing towards an anxiety that runs so deep as to be paralyzing. If I were playing Let's Make a Deal I would freeze, simply due to the fact that there was a door number one, two, and three. If there were two doors, I'd feel uneasy, but I could make a choice, three, fugetaboutit!
Peoples born with my type of neurology function better within a range of limited possiblities. There are types of therapy that function to empower an individual rather than direct them. For example instead of saying "do you want A or not?" one asks "do you want A, B, or C?" Theoretically people do not feel challenged, but personally "in"powered so they therefore are moved to make a personal choice...or so the theory goes. But whenever such approach was offered to me I would move into a state of complete anxiety and freeze up and never understood why I did so (of course, now I do.) This phenomenon takes place even down to the most "simplest and benign daily tasks" of my life.
I can (and have) read hundred of books, take and do hundreds of hours of cognitive therapy to try to "understand" how to function in the world, yet for me the world on paper (intellectually) never meets the world (tangibly/realistically.) I can rehearse a behavior, an idea, a practice, function, theory or course of action in a controlled environment, and even excel within the controlled environment in performance of the object of my attention, yet when tasked to perform the same in a real world scenario I freeze up and am unable to reproduce the same.
Since the discovery of my diagnoses(s) I have come a long way in disregarding the self hatred, self blame and disgust that I have heaped on myself over the years...having said that, it is still a daily battle for me to remember that I am good enough, that I am who I was born to be and cannot be any other than that. Knowing that I am the King of Unfinished Business, that I have hundreds of thousands of unfinished projects and ideas, (probably even more than this) really dampens any attempt at bolstering my self esteem.
ACC brains can only handle one simple task at a time. Truth be told all human brains can only handle one task at a time. The concept of multi-tasking is in itself a false one. People that appear good at multi-tasking are not in fact managing several tasks at one time. The science shows that they are quickly able to move back and forth between multiple tasks, multiple thought streams, managing them, and more or less moving to each one as needed. This is part and parcel executive function the very thing ACC brains have difficulty with.
For me to complete any task, it must be broken down into its most simplest and basic components, and the other components must, more or less be "hidden from my view" or I will immediately become distracted by them.
Some of my lifelong obsessions have never changed, but within the primary obsession is found change all the time.
Many on the Spectrum (ASD) and many ACC folk have great difficult with Theory of Mind (as I have mentioned before several times,) and while I certainly have difficulty with it (for me, it "comes and goes" quite often) when I am aware of it, what I do have is quite highly developed.
I believe this is because I have had a lifelong obsession with psychology/philosophy/metaphysics and religion...in short my very obsession is with what psychology terms "magical thinking" in children, but I believe to be the basis of myth, philosophy and religion. My obsession has always been with that which cannot be seen with the human eyes.
Yet my autistic struggle to make black and white sense of something which is (inherently) a grey matter has been a lifelong cause of great consternation and frustration on some level. My need for "orthodoxy" my need for clear cut boundaries where (for me) none such exist, can be maddening at times. Through it all, through all the religious and philosophical systems I have not simply studied but deeply dove into I have discovered a Golden Thread. This Thread can't be defined tightly, but is understood, certainly one the likes of Joseph Campbell thoroughly grasped this Thread as it was the cornerstone of his entire ideology.
Getting back to the main subject though, from "the outside" from appearances...others that observe me only see discontinuity and confusion...on Monday I "HATE BROCCOLI" next Friday "Broccoli is the greatest, I've loved it all my life, couldn't imagine life without it"....but for me there is no conflict, last Monday's person does not exist to me.
So many things I can easily obsess on, clothing, dress, lifestyle, and just as easily I can ignore those things in a flash. I can't imagine how befuddled this must leave those around me who observe it from the outside. In "Eastern Speak" the only One that ever remains through all of this is the Witness of it (the ultimate in Theory of Mind, actually), and if I had no inclination nor knowledge of That I'd have simply no will to live in this crazy mixed up jumbled up brain and body of mine.