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One of the most delightful compliments I remember receiving as a kid was being told that I have a “grasshopper mind”. That means that my brain hopped from topic to topic, and my brain would often switch gears rapidly. As an adult, that manifests in me having to take a variety of different classes on various topics, lest I get bored and my grades slip, in constantly updating my facebook and twitter even when I know that’s annoying, and it means I update my blog a lot on different topics throughout the day. When my brain switches gears, I just have to share it. I like the metaphor of the grasshopper mind now, a lot more than I like being told that my brain is “all over the place”, or that I am “unfocused”. Quite the opposite in fact. This brain also has moments quite paradoxical to that, when I focus on a single subject with endless fascination, forgetting to eat, sleep, or anything else. Usually my bladder is the one to snap me out of it.

Unfortunately though, I don’t have a very good control on when my brain is going to fixate, and when it’s going to make leaps and bounds. When I was a child, that meant that I could either be perfectly still in class and focus on the teacher, or I would be completely distracted by something else. When I watch a movie, read a book, or work on a project, I can either spend uninterrupted hours on it and come out with something beautiful, or have to get up every five minutes or so to walk around, or stim, or roll on the floor.

I think that if more people knew about this grasshopper brain, there would be considerably less effort going towards failing efforts to make an autistic person pay attention when they simply can’t, or trying to snap them out of it. I’m trying to figure out a way I can get my brain to be more focus-oriented when I need it (Such as hearing a baby cry, or when a paper is due, or if I smell something burning) without resorting to taking adderall. I’m not keen on being on medication, though I know people who need adderall to function and don’t judge them, I’m leery about what effects it may have on my own body and brain.

Has anyone had any success with controlling their focus? I had some success with yoga and meditation, but both of those are way out of my budget at the moment. Stimming helps, but it’s not enough sometimes. What do you do to get yourself out of “Grasshopper mode”?

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