Collections! My house, my husband would groan, is just a collection of my collections! I have no regrets at all – I love my collections. Just the sight of another person’s lovingly displayed collection makes me so happy and nothing gives me such autistic joy as finding another piece for one of my collections – it’s the best feeling!

Collections and special interests feed into and off each other beautifully, and both have the potential to exercise our hyper-focus. My late mother-in-law had such a vast number of collections connected with the natural world, including an enormous chest of shells, all sorted into separate bags by type, collected over a period of decades and labelled with the Latin names. Nothing, just nothing, makes me mentally salivate at the thought of getting them all out, ordering them and then creating something beautiful on the garden wall with them in her memory. All that’s stopping me so far is my monotropic mind, which means I’m currently busy on another project, so can’t possibly divert. That and the absence of artistic flair!

Collecting is a BIG thing for many autistic people. It’s a very positive thing and it can give us such satisfaction. There’s a very big difference between collecting and hoarding. Collecting things that please us, offer us sensory stimulation, soothe us, give us a feeling of order, control and completion that cannot be matched!

Hoarding disorder is something quite different. Hoarding disorder is very sad. I have family experience of it, so I’ve seen the difference between collecting and hoarding up very close. Hoarding is chaotic and causes harm in that person’s life. For those who want to learn more, here’s a description of hoarding disorder from the NHS.

We take great pride and joy in our collections, they are hurting no one (we hope), and they’re helping us to offset all the difficult stuff, to some degree.

As this is a lighthearted little entry, I thought I’d share a link to The 36 Most Unusual Collections! The first one is a man who has collected enough bowling balls to make a pyramid – 1785 of them! To me, it is a beautiful sight (I’d really quite like to start a collection of them myself now). My husband just asks ‘But why?’. That is NOT the point!