Fodder for Contemplation- Obsessions vs. Perseverations

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Serissa
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09 Sep 2005, 1:35 pm

A weird epiphany I had yesterday with nothing preciptiating it, and little following it in the way of intelligent brain function.

I think that the main difference between obsessions and perseverations is this. Cbsessions are things which control you, hinder you, impede you, or merely take your focus away from other things by your mind's involutary focusing. They may not be horrible for you, but they may be, and the reason they are focuses is because you can't help it. Perseverations, on the other hand, are not nessessarily things you could stop thikning about if you wanted to- but you don't want to. They're your obsessive INTERESTS, things you like and are fascinated by.

For example, to clarify, I am obsessed with dieting and food and calories. It brings me no joy. I perseverate on Alanis Morisette (chick music singer BTW). It's the same sort of focus (well, not quite so much as the dieting thing) but I like Alanis Morisette's music, and it's something that I don't mind focusing on (though I probably become annoying very quickly as a result of this focus).

Any thoughts? Agree/disaggree/"Serissa, you're full of crap?"

Edit: Please Note!

These are uneducated and stipulative musing definitions, based on what attitudes mainly seem to be here on WP about obsessions and definitions, and my own personal assoctiations. These are not scientific or official definitions, but sort of how I view these these as they are portrayed here on WP and how I see them in my mine.



Last edited by Serissa on 10 Sep 2005, 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

NeantHumain
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09 Sep 2005, 1:46 pm

Obsessions are repetitive anxiety-provoking thoughts. For example, if I don't wash my hands with soap, I might obsess a bit about my hands being unclean. Thanks to things I've heard or seen on TV, I think of those pranks in bad taste when I contemplate ordering any food, especially anything with cream sauce. Usually, I can bite the bullet and realize such worries are unrealistic and still get the fettucini alfredo. Some compulsions I have are exercising every day and taking a shower before going to bed (especially if I've been anywhere with smoke, like at my dad's apartment).

Perseverations are just when my mind sticks on a topic without warrant; I guess some obsessions are also perseverations. For example, I might repeatedly ask people if they want to eat dinner now (that happened at a BONSAI meeting).

As a child, I probably had a couple of tics. I'd snort a lot to remove the feeling of stuffiness from my nose. I also developed a coughing tic around seventh grade after having allergies or a cold; but I think the coughing outlasted the allergies.

I have "stereotyped or restricted patterns of interest" that I might come to day in and day out for months like personality psychology or linguistics.



pyraxis
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09 Sep 2005, 5:52 pm

The concept of perseverations annoys me. It's not a "perseveration" - it's a like, or an interest. Perseveration implies all kinds of psychobabble and implies that there's something wrong with you for having it. I've had a number of odd interests which would probably be called perseverations - things like drawing mazes as a little kid, and listening endlessly to the musical Jekyll and Hyde. But the appeal behind each one becomes perfectly obvious if you understand my mind and motivations. It's not some arbitrary thing that just happened to flip the obsessiveness switch in my mind when I looked at it.

I agree that a good line to draw in the definition of an obsession is when it is not pleasurable and starts to control you.



oatwillie
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09 Sep 2005, 5:56 pm

For one thing, I think Alanis Morisette obsesses enough about her own music to leave perseverating up to you. :) (I love Alanis' music btw), but what I think you're saying is obsessing is like worrying and perseverating is like an avid, hyperfocused pursuit? I could agree with htis distinction.


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spacemonkey
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09 Sep 2005, 6:25 pm

pyraxis wrote:
Perseveration implies all kinds of psychobabble and implies that there's something wrong with you for having it.


I agree, but I think people tend to misuse this word.
Usually what I see people describing as perseverations are really just cases of focus and maybe perseverance.
Like Alanis or drawing mazes for instance.
Here is the definition I found.

per·sev·er·a·tion (pr-sv-rshn)
n.

1. Uncontrollable repetition of a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder.
2. The tendency to continue or repeat an act or activity after the cessation of the original stimulus.

This sounds more like a compulsive echolalia or "who's on first" type thing.

I think in popular language, people say things like "oh you are obsessed with Alanis" and this is just a subtle way of stigmatizing your unorthodox behavior.


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09 Sep 2005, 9:34 pm

According to Mum, obsessions ARE perseverations... :?


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nirrti_rachelle
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10 Sep 2005, 12:09 am

Here's the real definition.....

* Hobby- an interest in which one devotes a large amount of time for the sake of enjoyment.

* Perseveration- an interest outside of what NTs find pleasurable in which one devotes a large amount of time for the sake of enjoyment.
(see also obsession)


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NeantHumain
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10 Sep 2005, 12:40 am

pyraxis wrote:
The concept of perseverations annoys me. It's not a "perseveration" - it's a like, or an interest.

But, you see, there's a world of difference. All our interests are automatically signs of pathology. An NT can drink heavily three nights a week, and it's not a sign of pathology until they crash, their family rejects them, they lose all their friends, and they hate themselves. Then it's alcoholism and depression.



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10 Sep 2005, 4:14 am

nirrti_rachelle wrote:
Here's the real definition.....

* Hobby- an interest in which one devotes a large amount of time for the sake of enjoyment.

* Perseveration- an interest outside of what NTs find pleasurable in which one devotes a large amount of time for the sake of enjoyment.
(see also obsession)


Sorry mate, but I gotta disagree: a lot of Aspies and Auties perseverate on trains, but a lot of NT's are also train buffs.


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10 Sep 2005, 5:37 am

Could you say arachnophobia is an obsession, while an intense interest in spiders is just an interest?


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Serissa
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10 Sep 2005, 9:33 am

DrizzleMan wrote:
Could you say arachnophobia is an obsession, while an intense interest in spiders is just an interest?


Yeah. And these were stipulative, inaccurate descriptions; I actually know nothing. That's just what these things seem to have come to mean on WP.



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10 Sep 2005, 3:24 pm

PhoenixKitten wrote:
nirrti_rachelle wrote:
Here's the real definition.....

* Hobby- an interest in which one devotes a large amount of time for the sake of enjoyment.

* Perseveration- an interest outside of what NTs find pleasurable in which one devotes a large amount of time for the sake of enjoyment.
(see also obsession)


Sorry mate, but I gotta disagree: a lot of Aspies and Auties perseverate on trains, but a lot of NT's are also train buffs.


I was being sarcastic. :lol:

What I meant was that there seems to be little difference between a hobby or perseveration. But anything an aspie does seems to be judged from the standpoint of pathology, something that's not done with NTs.


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10 Sep 2005, 3:45 pm

That must be why I like Dilbert. Everything that anyone does is considered pathological.


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11 Sep 2005, 1:06 am

For some reason, despite that I realize their definitions, Obsessions feels like it describes my interests and Perseverations feels to me like something negative which I can't stop thinking about.

I tend to call my interests "obsessions" and my incessant complaining and mulling over of certain subjects "perseverations". But this is just me and my personal preference.


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