Here are blog posts by an Aspie about perseveration. I also agree with her about transitions: I would deal with it because I had to. But when I was at work and the phone rang while I was hard at work on something, it was very annoying and shattering to my brain. Also, my mom noted to teachers that it was hard to pull me from one activity to another.
Here Amy Murphy writes about selective mutism in a post which, all of it together, sounds extremely familiar:
Don’t call it a disorder..I’m really starting to frown on this whole, this is a disorder and thus and thus needs treatment and bullsh**…f**k it. Life should not be this much conscious work. This is who I am and what I am so suck it up or shut up.
Being an introvert, combined with all these other things, has always made social situations extremely difficult to navigate. There are various things I deal with which are normal for introverts, but I believe they’ve been intensified because of the issues of NVLD as well.
I know other introverts who don’t seem to have a lot of the issues I do. Such as, they muse about things, but don’t perseverate to the extent I do.
I list here both NVLD and Asperger’s blogs because there is overlap between the two. The two are not the same thing–Asperger’s has issues NVLD does not, being on the autistic spectrum–but they do share many similar characteristics and challenges.
The more I learn about Asperger’s, the less I identify with it, but the more I learn about NVLD, the more I identify with that. But I do identify with Asperger’s issues such as mental stims, perseveration and selective mutism (which was far worse when I was a kid, but still exists). From my NVLD page:
This is me to a T: “Perseveration and the Broken Record.” [This blog post by Aspie Teacher no longer exists, but I think it may have been moved here.] Pertinent quote:
I especially have trouble derailing myself when I am having trouble processing something. This can cause me great stress. I can feel that I have gotten stuck in a feedback loop.
My husband has been known to get very irritated with me when this happens. This only makes it worse, because I end up feeling guilty, stupid, and helpless that I can’t do anything to break the feedback loop.
Since receiving my official diagnosis over a year ago, my husband has tried to think of better ways of helping my brain switch gears when it gets stuck. Usually I just need to talk and have him listen without him judging me or trying to solve any problems.
I have come to realize that verbalizing what in in my head helps me process it, but this is not always an easy thing for me. I can’t always find the words to convey what I need to say.
Writing has become my voice. It helps me process the chaos that can develop in my brain. I also have found that what I need is understanding and encouragement. These two actions can do so much for a person.
Another blog post by someone diagnosed with perseveration:
Sometimes it happens when I am trying to diagnose a problem and I keep barking up the same solution. Other times, it happens emotionally.
My brain can get stuck on something emotionally and I keep going over it again and again. Ruminating over past incidents becomes a bit of a tape that gets played over and over again. I find I can ruminate over unhappy or unfair things a bit excessively. –Carol Ng, The Broken Record of Perseveration
I have the words and phrases that keep going through my head over and over again. I have the recurring obsessions over various special interests, though not to the level (or strangeness) of an Aspie. And I have the emotional upsets that keep going around and around in my head even months or years after the incident that triggered it.
You could ask anyone who’s been around me during tough times of my life–parents, college friends, college acquaintances, old roommates, my husband–and they’d tell you how I go over and over things again and again and again.
I’d hear of people wanting to go inside themselves and not talk after a difficult incident, and their loved ones trying hard to pull them out so they’ll feel better–and I’d wonder how anybody would want to keep that inside. I, on the other hand, want to talk about my problems, far more than anyone wants to listen.
I had no idea I did this until my first big heartbreak in college. I’d been heartbroken many times during my childhood and adolescence, since I was boy-crazy from a young age but it was usually unrequited. It would bug me for a while, but I would deal with it, maybe cry once or twice.
But I was not prepared for what it felt like to have a guy love you back (or at least say he did), promise he would marry you, tell you you were meant to be together, and then break up with you. I was devastated, and had no idea what to do or how to get relief, or how to get him back.
I talked to anyone who would listen: acquaintances, friends, roommate, suitemates, Mom, Dad, best friend back home. I wrote a few letters to the guy to try to change his mind, pouring out my feelings and argumenta (not a typo) for why we should get back together, but they didn’t work the way I expected, so I stopped doing that.
I had no idea that my discussions of the guy with other people had gotten to be too much for them until one of my friends told me so one day, that they were tired of hearing about him. It just never occurred to me that I could be talking about him too much.
So after that I went within myself, because even though I stopped talking about the matter, I didn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t stop. I filled diaries with my thoughts about it. I wrote it into stories.
This perseveration happens again and again with various issues in my life. Years later, something will trigger a memory and I’ll start wondering again: How could I have done that? How could they have said that? How embarrassing! How infuriating!
Being upset over a breakup may be long past because I don’t want those guys anymore and am happily married. But I’ll still remember the nasty things a guy did or said. One reason why I keep a record of my life is to get these thoughts on paper and–I hope–leave them there.
I try to limit how much I talk about something to keep from annoying people, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone from my mind. Normally, it’s constantly present until my mind finally moves on to something else. And apparently I still talk about things enough that my husband starts to talk about me “going around and around.”
…I have various little things I do which resemble OCD, which I’ve done since childhood, but they’re so subtle that I doubt anybody notices but myself. They seem to increase when I’m going through anxious periods.
For example, sometimes I’ll feel my heel strike a crack in the sidewalk, and I don’t feel right until the opposite heel strikes a crack in the sidewalk as well.
I’ll stare at tiles and find patterns. I’ll stare into space, or my eyes will cross, as a form of relaxation when visuals are getting a bit overwhelming.
If I’m folding laundry and a sock or towel hits my leg, oftentimes I won’t feel right until I hit one against the other leg as well.
It doesn’t always happen, but as I noted, seems to increase in times of anxiety. For the past 6 months, while dealing with a very emotionally traumatic situation, I’ve been doing these things quite a bit [this part was probably written around February 2011].
I count letters in words, hoping for even numbers of letters as my eyes sweep back and forth over the word in various patterns.
I’ll do the same thing with letters or numbers or pictures, my eyes sweeping over an object back and forth an even number of times to form an even pattern.
A web video stuck on an endless loop (such as in avatars or page 3 of the below-linked forum discussion) can drive me crazy, as I start wanting to see it go through the loop a certain number of times before I turn it off.
Sometimes I will sit and stare, a kind of “rest,” or just let my eyes go unfocused (crossing them, apparently) because it’s restful.
Thoughts will circle in my head until they’re said in just the right way or I feel them in my throat the right number of times. Certain phrases will go through my head again and again and again until they interfere with other thoughts and activities and seem about to drive me crazy. (These are not “voices in my head,” but my own thought-voice.)
I also tend to chew the inside of my mouth, absent-mindedly. It hasn’t caused major problems, though occasionally I bite myself. ?
I’m not sure if NLD has traits like these, but Asperger’s does; a quick Google search on “mental stimming” brings up a forum discussion on this very thing.
Some of these things will go endlessly through my head so much that I barely notice it, or die down for a while, but start up again in periods of depression or anxiety or deep thought.
A blogger with Asperger’s describes stimming here, and one of his commenters described my thing with sidewalk cracks here. Apparently people with normal brains stim too, so I don’t know what the difference is between “normal” and “Asperger’s” stimming. Needs more research….If what I do is normal, then NLD is more likely, as it’s more mild than Asperger’s.
From Is it NVLD or Asperger’s?:
In keeping with autistic symptoms, children with Asperger’s Syndrome often become fixated on repetitive behaviors and compulsive organization in keeping their routines, as well as intense focus on discussing a particular topic repeatedly (a behavior known as perseveration).