What Is It?
In an autism household, I get a lot of practice dealing with perseveration. What’s that, you ask? Here’s the verdict from Mr. Webster:
That can look like the endless buttoning and unbuttoning a shirt, repeating a word over and over, requiring an activity that was just completed, walking back and forth, back and forth,… and a range of other OCD like behaviors. The bottom line is that the action is repeated, and interrupting the repetition requires great skill, or it will go very badly.
It Happens to Others
Well, I’ve started to notice that we can perseverate in our thoughts. I’ve found myself in an endlessly looping conversation with a child that goes no-where but back to where we started. Sometimes logic isn’t a useful tool to re-direct thoughts, especially thoughts that are riddled with emotional content. I confess that I only recognize the wisdom of not following this endlessly looping conversation after I’ve followed it for a while, felt the frustration of going no-where, yelled at the unresponsive party (or done something equally unhelpful) and completely disputed any peace that I started the day with. Then I remember. Or maybe God reminds me. Leave me to sort it out, He says. I too have short term memory problems.
Still, perseveration was something I thought other people did. Then came that day.
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