There is a select group of people in the world that have more than hobbies, they have obsessions. Whether it’s playing the violin, collecting old teapots, painting pictures of cats, or learning the ancient art of Shibari, these people focus on a normal hobby so much that they live, eat, sleep, and breathe it. It becomes their passion, their raison d’etre.
There is also a select group of people whose raison d’etre’s change from time to time. These people are called multipotentialites, and you can read more about them in my article, Are You A Multipotentialite?. People whose obsessions change over time tend to look at the world differently. Different than OCD, short for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, living with obsessions is classified more as a rapid learning habit wherein an individual devours everything they can about a certain topic or skill before abandoning it. Like a swarm of locusts that come through and clear a field of all edible vegetation, a person with obsessive hobbies burns through them until there is nothing left to gain, and then move onto something else entirely.
Before going any further, let me explain what this feels like, and how it differs from a normal hobby. Imagine yourself reading through a book. Some statement catches your eye, and in your mind you say, “well, isn’t that interesting. I’d like to know more”. You turn to your internet and begin a search for information that leads you down into a world beneath the surface, a world that few people know about. It doesn’t matter the subject, this fiendish search for knowledge can last anywhere from one month to a year, and culminate in the collection of objects as well as the change of wardrobes, mannerisms, and even personality. For the short amount of time that a person is cocooned amidst this new obsession, it seems almost as though they change into an entirely different person.
Of course, that is an extreme case, which is the primary focus of this article. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing! That’s how we get really interesting people who dress up like pin-up girls, just as one example of many. Those girls spend a part of their life (Or longer, depending on the length of the obsession) researching and duplicating those retro fashion and makeup trends. Not many people can do that. Only someone with a passion for it.
And then, let’s go back to our previous paragraph. So you find something that sparks your interest. You allow it to change your life. You change your wardrobe, your surroundings, your personality. You are not the same person as you were before discovering this totally awesome thing. And then, just as quickly as it seems to have begun, your obsession begins to fade. The novelty begins to wear off and you find yourself becoming bored. There is nothing new to learn. You’ve already performed, to the best of your ability, that which you wanted to duplicate. You are by no means a master at it, but you have reached a level of fulfillment within yourself that leaves you wanting something new, something more. The peak excitement begins to taper off into a valley that often feels very similar to depression. Not a chronic, long lasting depression. This sort of depression, characterized by boredom and discontent, only lasts until you find a new spark of inspiration, wherein a new obsession can grow.
This cycle continues throughout these people’s lives. I myself suffer from this roller coaster of obsessions and depressions. I have never known a time before this phenomenon, and so far I see no end to it. I am currently in a decline from an obsession that lasted for seven or eight months. That obsession was self-improvement. I have no way of knowing when the next obsession will begin. They usually come out of nowhere, unexpectedly. But when I am in the valley between obsessions, it is unbearable. The world seems small and uninteresting. There is a feeling of being outcast, misplaced, unfulfilled. This period of time doesn’t last as long as the obsessions do, usually only a few weeks to a month before something else sparks the passion again.
But oh, it is so unbearable living in the ridges between obsessions.
Can any of you relate to this phenomenon? I’d love to hear your stories!