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posted on Nov, 2 2009 @ 06:15 PM
I thought I'd start a general thread about the psychology of obsession. We use this word with a very broad range of meanings. People casually say they are "obsessed with a new song" or something, but obviously true obsession runs much deeper. (And then there are side issues, like OCD, although if possible I'd like to foucs this thread more on the idea of "pure" obsession).

First, a clinical definition from the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision):

"Obsessions are persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress...the content of the obsession is alien, not within his or her own control, and not the kind of thought that he or she would expect to have" (p. 457).

A more poetic definition, in my opinion, to set the mood:

Obsession is an overused word, a thing carelessly said by those who have no idea whaat it feels like. They work late once in a while, they may toss in that rare weekend, they have coffee and idly think about what they are doing. And then they tell others they are obsessed with something. They have no idea.

Obsession is not like sitting at a bench making a shoe. It is not a place you visit. It is all you know, it is what you become. And everything you come into contact with feeds the obsession. There is no other time, no other reality, no other sensation. Alcohol simply dilutes it, briefly filters it. A day, a week, a month, that is nothing. Think months, a year or more, with nothing really in the mind but one thing and this thing cannot be described as an irritant or a comfort, it is everything, and all the other parts of life are faked while this one thing is life itself. This kind of focus is the ultimate addiction, the strongest drug because it gives the one thing other drugs never deliver. It gives meaning.

-Charles Bowdin, A Shadow in the City

Comments? Thoughts? Are you now or have you ever been obsessed (in the sense of the above quote)? If so, with what? Do you know anyone who fits this description? Personal tales, general theoretical ideas, and everything in between welcome in this thread.

[edit on 11/2/09 by silent thunder]

posted on Nov, 2 2009 @ 06:56 PM
My whole family "suffers" from OCD. One sister cannot throw anything away. She has more "stuff" in her house than anyone I know. Definition-Thrift sale-a place where people that do not own enough junk go to buy someone elses junk.

My "problem", is not a problem, it is actually a good thing. I build things, actually anything. My last position was a Site Super for a land development company, building large apartment complexes and commercial sites. I make lists, all kind of lists. Lists of To Do, lists of To Solve, Lists of Subs to Contact etc etc etc. After about a month on a new project, the numerous blueprints-Architects-Engineering-Site Electric-Site Utilities were all in my head. I could be walking with my bosses doing a status update and anything they asked I would know.

Obsession can be a good thing. I will never take a drug to "solve" my OCD. Their are more Americans on mood manipulating drugs, than anything else. Just quoting from memory, 30-45% of all Americans are on some kind of mood altering pharmaceutical.

Americans are a medicated sheeple country. Do you have fears, take this, do you have anxieties, take that.

People are meant to experience life, not avoid it. Nuff said.


posted on Nov, 2 2009 @ 07:17 PM
There is a problem with the DSM-IV. It is not based on actual medical examination. It is based purely on observation of a person, with (possibly) history. What this means is that it is entirely possible to arrive at a DSM-IV "diagnosis" that completely ignores the possibility of a medical condition.

For example, a person who is a diabetic may exhibit mental symptoms caused by the brain not getting enough glucose (sugar). Such a person might be "diagnosed" as (say) depressed or otherwise suffering from a psychiatric condition, even though what they need is to correct their blood sugar.

There are a huge number of diseases that cause changes in mental state. Many illnesses cause fatigue and lack of energy - which is also a symptom of depression. Many diseases cause excessive nervousness or stimulation, sometimes hallucinations and other mental symptoms. Unless these diseases are recognized, it is easy to just label someone depressed or manic or schizophrenic or something. They you may give them pills for that "diagnosis", ignoring the real cause which may be treatable. In some cases, this means the patient winds up dying, because the underlying physical problem remained untreated, while the symptoms were masked by medications.

From what I've been reading, this isn't just an occasional unfortunate result. It is apparently quite common. For more information, check out "A Dose of Sanity", by Sydney Walker III, MD.

posted on Nov, 2 2009 @ 07:24 PM
How curious, I was just thinking about the actual meaning to that word earlier today! See, I've been thinking about someone quite a fair bit lately, but then I realised how much I hate throwing the word 'obsessed' around and I brushed my constant thoughts off merely as me being just slightly more occupied with this situation that I find myself in..
My thoughts don't consume me, nor do they distract me or take me away from everything else that I have to do day-to-day.. but it's true I do find that this person, this situation, is constantly in the back of my mind in all that I do throughout the day.
I wouldn't call the emotions that arise from these thoughts 'disturbing' or creating any sort of anxiety, it's more of a sense of frustration and confusion, a 'what should I do' air about the whole thing.

Would you call this obsession or just some passing phase?? Or is this growing into some sort of obsession??

posted on Nov, 2 2009 @ 07:52 PM
My grandma would definetly fit under the description of Obsessed. She would clean every single day even when there was nothing dirty. If there wasa fork in the sink it had to be cleaned. If there was water droplets in the sink, they would have to be dried with paper towel. It was stressful living with that woman wanting everything to be so clean.

posted on Nov, 2 2009 @ 08:35 PM
reply to post by endisnighe

Agree with you 100%.

I avoid drugs at ALL cost. Been feeling like a champ ever since. Includes the most basic of medicines such as Advil, cold medicine, whatever.

The obsession topic to me is very simple. We all live for something. That something can be broad or very defined. When I was a young kid, video games are what I lived for. Such was my OBSESSION.

After that, it became school. Then school and work. Then working towards the future, which still is my obsession.

The period in between switching from one obsession to another is the stage I call depression. It is a period of boredom and a stage in life where you have no idea what you are living for anymore. When this happens, you MUST find something to live for again. Just make sure whatever that is doesn't end up killing you though (drugs).

posted on Nov, 2 2009 @ 09:15 PM
I'm obsessed with my weight.
Why? well, my mom is thin as a knitting needle, I'm not. I'm busty and that makes me think I'm fat, even when everyone says I'm not. I have both compulsive overeating disorder and anorexia, and they swing time to time. I was on COD all winter, now I'm on anorexia because i gained 20 kilos, and if for a normal person have gained that amount of weight changes their perception of their body, you can't imagine how it does to me. For me, I'm more a manatee than a human right now and I've already lost 7 kilos... in 2 months. When i reach my limit, it goes into a "peace" status and, if there's a reason to be stressed or in bad mood, again I'll start with the COD.

Obsessions like this are so hard to understand for people who doesn't have them. I don't see my body as the other people do.

Going more to the "OCD" side, i also have some. I can't work if my workplace is dirty. I just can't. All the house can be a mess, but not my workplace. I can't draw if it's not with a certain type of mechanical pen (I've lost mine, i need to buy another tomorrow or i will not finish a homework...) and a certain kind of leads.
Spelling and grammatical errors too (on Spanish, because i know that my English is bad, i can't be obsessed with English grammar). I used to correct everything with red pen when my classmates handled me their notebooks on school (sure, after a while, nobody wanted to lend me their notebooks

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