I get obsessive about things sometimes. Sometimes it’s music, a track that hits me right on a nerve. I end up drowning in it, revelling in it, blocking everything else out. Sometimes it’s an activity, recently I’ve been playing Destiny most mornings, thanks to the joys of being unemployed, and one morning when I couldn’t because of server issues I got tremendously antsy.
Sometimes it’s more insidious than that, sometimes it’s not an activity, it’s a thing. Something I feel I need to collect.
First time I was aware of this was my perfume obsession. I’d had a miscarriage and was in a sorry state. Things hurt too much. My thoughts focussed on how useless I was because I’d failed to carry a baby full term. Again. My gynae history is pretty crappy, let’s leave it at that.
I needed to get out of my head, but I don’t drink any more, not really. So instead I bought perfume. I’d got Luca Turin’s amazing book of Perfume reviews and started working my way through it, trying to get samples of all the 4 and 5 star perfumes. I’d stalk eBay for samples, trade BPAL perfume oils, for a while I had a blog with my own reviews, with the idea I’d keep it up for a year.
At some point my long-suffering other half made a quip about “this is all getting a bit obsessive, isn’t it”. I took a look at the growing collection and had to agree it seemed to be spiralling a little. Here’s the thing though, even when I am really self-aware about stuff, that knowledge doesn’t actually help. Knowing I’ve gotten obsessed over something doesn’t mean I stop.
Self-awareness with no follow up is pretty frustrating. These kind of obsessions can get pricey. Since I’ve taken stock of this behaviour they’ve included perfume, nail polish, red lipstick (only red mind you), vintage handkerchiefs, vintage headscarves, shoes, vintage style underwear, dresses, books (my Kindle to be read pile is massive), laser cut jewellery, leopard print things, tea (yes tea), Pop! Funko Vinyl figures and currently fountain pens and ink.
How bad is it? In the past week I’ve bought 5 bottles of ink, 3 sets of cartridges, 1 subscription to ink samples, a new fountain pen and two new ink converters. I currently have erm, 10 fountain pens? Start of November I had 2 and that was only because I’d lost one for a while and wanted to replace it.
Oh and notebooks. Yeah. You need something to write on with all that pen and ink…
Here’s the kicker, suddenly I end up with more than 10 serviceable notebooks, and no idea which one to write in next. 10 fountain pens, lots of different ink, which one to write with?. All the choice that I brought into the house and suddenly I’m unable to function because it’s too much. Everything is overloaded.
So I stop.
The perfumes gather dust, or get sent to other friend, the nail polishes congeal, the lipsticks are kept in boxes and occasionally get a rotation. Things are used, then put away.
If the fates are kind then stopping links into an upswing in mental health so I don’t need the distraction of collecting all the things. Or it becomes benign – reading 25 books in January probably counts as obsessive, wouldn’t you say? If I’m really lucky it will exhibit in healthy eating, or even exercise.
What is guaranteed though is that at some point another one will take over.
I am very aware that I am in the position where I can afford to do this. Although not if I stay unemployed for much longer. If I don’t get a new job soon my next obsession is going to be Delicious Ways to Eat Top Ramen Every Night.
There is. of course a term for this, one I’ve joked about. Addictive personality disorder. Probably should stop joking about it really. Like I said, being self-aware isn’t the solution. But it is a first step.