The Worst in Me by Laura Herbst

Falling in love is not such an easy thing to do, especially to someone who’s neurodivergent according to health professionals, but it comes easily to me. Whether it has been through AC/DC, sunflowers, or the song ‘i miss you, i’m sorry’ by Gracie Aabrams. One thing I have learned from my hyperfixations is that they taught me how to love and let go better than actual people have, even when they drive me to insanity. But it isn’t ‘cute’ or ‘quirky’, it’s an endless cycle of my mind making my body sick unless I fall in love with the most ridiculous things. I constantly think about all these little things and miss them everyday. I need them in my daily life just to be able to breathe properly. It can be small things like having to listen to one AC/DC song everyday or it can be big like having to force myself to learn a whole new language because I couldn’t understand one of my hyperfixations. Learning to accept and appreciate my fixations was hard, but I got there eventually thanks to one specific thing; Peach Iced Tea. 

As weird as it sounds, I’ve never loved anything more. Even when I used to refer to my hyperfixations as a curse, hating everything I fixated on, the over-sweetened, artificial peach taste of the tea, made me learn that the phrase ‘fine line between love and hate’ is actually true. Falling in love with each of my fixations is easy, and just like falling in love with actual people, it hurts when they leave or when you move on to the next, never forgetting them. I don’t know what I’d do if one day I stopped loving Peach Ice Tea, as it has been the only consistent thing in my life for years, but I do know that I won’t let go of it anytime soon. 

It’s funny how it happened really; my dad likes drink mixes, I like my dad, I follow in my dad’s footsteps, together we liked drink mixes. He got those powdered drink mixes that make your water taste good and were low in calories. I used to steal a packet or two and drink them myself because of how much I liked them. But it was only ever that, I just liked them, simply and plainly that. My mom never let us buy the ‘junky’ tea mixes though and instead she would make homemade iced tea that I hated the sour taste of. Once I got my first allowance, I made sure to try one of the tea mixes, hoping I’d like it more, and I decided to get my favorite flavor, peach. Once I took that first sip it was like an explosion went off in my mind and all I could think about and drink for the rest of the day was Peach Iced Tea. I remember thinking it wasn’t anything serious, and I just really loved the taste, but why would life ever be that simple? As soon as I ran out, I cried hard, almost a panic attack, but I felt more like I lost something extremely important to me. Everyday without some I couldn’t stop thinking about it and would feel sad and exhausted without it, no matter how much sleep I got. 

It only took me a couple months to realize what was happening and with help from the trusty internet and some other neurodivergent people with hyperfixations and health professionals, I came to one of the biggest realizations in my life: I had hyperfixations. Whether it’s from the neurodivergent part of me or from the unwavering list of mental illnesses, I gained another. And as time went on, I continued to gain more and more and lose some and keep others. 

At times it became almost gut wrenching as it felt like being heart broken over and over again by the same people, except it was objects, things, ideas, songs, and even sometimes a person. Only once ever have I hyper fixated on a person and that experience was worse than any google search could have prepared me for. I would’ve gladly spent all my time thinking about peach ice tea if it meant I could’ve gotten over this one sooner. I would’ve much rather have fallen in love with this person over and over again and been rejected than to have hyper fixated over them so hard, I lost them. Once again making me realize that just maybe fixating on things like drinks and music and shows and colours isn’t such a terrible thing and I could definitely live with it. 

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