When obsessions get out of control… help me!!!

Today I wanted to talk about obsession in general terms, although I will cover some personal specifics just to entice readership, of course…  Just as a disclaimer, I have no training in this, the views on this page are purely my own from my own experiences and how I personally have dealt with anything that has come up in my life.  How I addressed a particular situation is not necessarily how you should address your obsession… phew!.. got that bit out of the way lol

So to kick this topic off, what is the definition of obsession:

ob·ses·sion //  (b-sshn, b-) n.

1. Compulsive preoccupation with a fixed idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety.
2. A compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion.
Ok so we all clear on what that means, right?…. There are varying degrees of obsession, I think, but it’s how they manifest themselves to you and how we manage them determines whether they become a problem for you or the people around you.
There are differing levels of obsession… well to start with I would say you have the “healthy” obsession, this is the point at which something/someone takes your interest and your feelings encourage you to pursue and be interested in that subject.  It gives you focus and resolve and a drive to pursue and accomplish.  I have found this when taking on a new challenge at work, got interested in a new band whose music I love or have had a deadline, which makes me obsess about; how I will get the job done, finding out more information on the subject and just generally take on a more than interested look at things – This can cause some sleepless night thinking about things but that’s another topic for another day.
So when does the “healthy” obsession turn into and “unhealthy” obsession and how do you control your feelings to prevent you from exacerbating the obsession you have?  This is bound to be different for each individual based on what they are obsessing about, their past experiences etc. etc.  So more to the point how do I deal with it… well sometimes well and sometimes not so well I have to admit but I have found that asking myself a few questions and doing a bit of a reality check really helps.  I ask myself, are you perceiving the idea/person/situation in the correct context?  What exactly is it about that idea/person/situation that is the key issue?  Take that key issue out of the equation and would you feel the same way?  Are other external influences having an impact on how you react to/perceive this idea/person/situation?  Once I have asked myself these questions the obsession usually abates.
Most of my obsessions have mainly been with people (men and women), self-image and work.  As a result I am constantly questioning myself about the choices that I have made and using my past experiences to judge any new situations I am faced with.  My very first obsession was with Michael Jackson, it was in my pre-metal days and manifested in approx. 1987, to give you a year.  Teenage years are confusing and there are a lot of hormones are work.  Some of the reasons I was obsessed with him as a person are still there and I don’t think they will ever go away but I just manage them better.
The longest I have had what I would consider an “unhealthy” obsession for is approx. 3 years, it isn’t a nice place to be in many ways, emotions can be a very strong persuader of what you perceive is right and wrong and when your every waking moment/decision is controlled by your obsession you have a problem.  You may also not be able to confide in anyone about your obsession and it can go undetected, at the same time it is being fuelled by not being addressed.  All I would say to anyone who thinks they have an “unhealthy” obsession is that people are more understanding than you might think, talk to someone about it, email me about it (a  trouble shared is a trouble halved) but whatever you do – do NOT do nothing about it!!
Until next time… stay happy!! 😀
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