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What is autistic thinking like? What is the thought process?


What is autistic thinking like? What is the thought process?



From what I understand, autistic people think in "cobwebs", which means they use analogies to solve a problem. So, if someone talks to me about a subject, I'll see correspondences with an equivalent subject in another field. For example, if someone talks to me about public debt, I'll see the correlation with a family: is it better to go into debt to pay for your children’s education, which will improve the family situation in the long term, or to send your children out to work as soon as it's allowed, so you don't have to go into debt? This question begs another: getting into debt is a major risk, as there's no guarantee that your children will succeed in school or even find a job afterwards. Similarly, if the state doesn't invest in sectors that will improve growth, it will increase its debt without any beneficial effects. So another question arises: how can you minimize the risk? Or: what kind of formation should you encourage your children to pursue? And then there are the ethical questions: in which sector is it best to invest if you want to achieve well-being for all?... or again: should you encourage your children to choose a profession that will earn them a lot of money but that they don’t like?... It never stops :each answer leads to a new question, and in the end, I'm invaded by all sorts of possibilities from which I find it very hard to choose.

In everyday life, I do the same. I've come to consult my husband to help me decide, because otherwise I procrastinate. I ask him not to decide for me, but to help me see which solution is logically the best. This leads us to another aspect of autistic-type thinking: the fact that it's always very logical, but it follows an internal logic, which sometimes leads to gross errors: indeed, as we feel we've taken everything into account, it's difficult to listen to the opinions and advice of other people who haven't thought about the subject as much as we have, but we sometimes miss the obvious. By this I mean that logical reasoning can lead to a false conclusion if one of the premises you're relying on is false or if you omit one, but autistic people are often stubborn, which makes it difficult for them to see that a premise is false or that they're omitting an important aspect of the question.

Thinking by analogy therefore has the advantage of tackling complicated topics in detail, but it makes you a bit stupid in everyday questions because you ask yourself "too many" questions. For example, I'm unable to answer a multiple-choice questionnaire correctly. An example: "Are you shy?" "Yes. I'm very shy. I'm not comfortable speaking in public. I'm always afraid of being misjudged... I hate telephoning… But no! I'm not shy at all! I talk to people when I need to. When I speak in public, I can be very assertive and people think I'm at ease. Once I start talking on the phone, I can easily see what needs to be said, etc." So, am I shy or not? And with every question, it's the same.


My mind is like a foggy train station that runs almost 24/7, and most of the trains just rush right through. I hate it when people ask me what I'm thinking about because half the time I don't even know what I'm thinking about. Sometimes I catch the trains, and then I do some rapid train hopping and jump rapidly between trains. Most of my thoughts are questions bombarding me at the same time. My mom once told me that she couldn't keep up with my brain. But, I suspect this has more to do with the ADHD, which I haven't been on medication for since I was 18.

My thinking is pretty literal. I tend to try and understand things people explain to me by setting it up in my head like something I'm very familiar with…like the first part of my answer.

I tend to walk on eggshells around people that I don't know well, because I'm so terrified of doing or saying something wrong. It's exhausting, so I don't do well in large groups for extended periods. I like to go to conferences, but when I get home after the weekend, I need at least a week where I don't see a single human to recharge the social battery.

When I share some of my thoughts, people sometimes laugh because they say I'm funny and/or sassy. I've been told that I say things that everybody thinks about, but don't say out loud.

Most of the time my thoughts run in chains. I'll start off with, let's say “I wonder why two sandwiches take twice as long to grill on the mini-grill than one” and about a minute and about 30 thoughts later, I've gone to: “I wonder why people are so interested in celeb gossip”

Short answer, I guess: My brain is bombarded with rapid questions from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep, so rapid that I can't always follow them myself.

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