Special interests ?

Could someone explain to me what defines special interests ? How is it different from hobbies?

I don't think I have special interests but will explain what I do do.

For years I have been frequently checking my rss feeds and later Twitter for articles to post on forums. These are primarily mental health related and secondarily political and general articles .

I also save many of these articles to my usb drive .

Whilst thinking this does not qualify as special interests I have a feeling it is not typical NT behaviour either.

  • I've started to use the term 'special interest' as a replacement for the way others or myself have come to say over the years that some of my hobbies are 'obsessive'. For example, I am no longer obsessed with bicycles, bicycles are my special interest. Besides, being obsessed about something makes it sound like it's an unhealthy mental occupation.

    When something stressful has happened, my partner has identified that I can retreat into occupying myself with a special interest in order to process the stressful situation. This week it so happened a very stressful situation arose that caused me to shutdown. Soon after I was able to start processing the stressful event by engaging in a special interest activity for a number of hours, i.e. bicycle wheel building.

    This feels positive as I now understand that I use a special interest as a tool to process difficult situations.

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