So, I felt I needed to write this down finally. This is something that usually comes up for me a fair bit when explaining myself to others, because "being normal" is not something I am particularly adept at.
One of the patterns I have learned about my behavior is that I become strongly obsessed with certain things that must then be done to fulfill this obsession. I also do quite a lot of repetitive behaviors and routines, and I have extreme difficulty letting go of a routine, habit, or whatever until I find a new thing to replace it or I take said thing to its uttmost logical conclusion of absurdity and decide "eh, this might be a bad idea." I have been told before that I was going to be classified as either autistic or asperger's in elementary, because a counselor noted certain things about me, but my parents prevented the classification. I think that was a good thing, but it may perhaps explain a bit about my behaviors. I include this note just for the sake of background.
So, after many conversations with my mom, I have come to agree that I do display obsessive behaviors. It's just kind of how my brain is wired. The way my mom describes it to me, watching me grow up, is that I can never seem to do anything in moderation. I have to do everything with absolute conviction and fulfill everything in a full-throttle manner. I do not really do much of anything in moderation, per say. I would not really say I am OCD, because I think my obsessions and need to fulfill them is a bit more dynamic, but it does display a similar thing to it. Because for me, the way my obsessions and compulsions usually work, is 1) I learn about something new 2) I think this thing is cool 3) I learn all i can about said thing 4) I must do said thing now that I know so much about it 5) I do said thing again and again 6) I evolve said thing over time as I gain first hand knowledge or it but I then take it more and more and more extreme 7) I then have taken said thing to such an extreme that it hurts me, someone else, or hurts something 8) Obsession has reached its conclusion and immediately turns off.
And that's part of why I have difficulty doing new things or deviating from my routines, because I just kind of have-to. There are all of these things I have-to do. And the have-to part. Let me briefly explain that. I get very convicted in my obsessions and my desire to do said thing that when anything gets in my way of doing said thing, it really upsets me and pisses me off. And I do find difficulty in doing stuff that is off whatever routine I have made.
Sometimes these things aren't harmful, and they have natural endpoints. Like, I might get so obsessed with a project of some sort, and I full-throttle that until it's done. But doing things in moderation is just not a strong-point of mine.
These obsessions for me usually have cycles or extremes on a spectrum, which I then group into a larger pattern of behavior I call pendulums. Because after one obsession, I usually then swing in the complete opposite direction and do that thing full-throttle. Then, once I have done both extremes and experienced first-hand the danger of such extremes, I then end up in the middle, which becomes the new obsession, but a much healthier one.
Here are some pendulums I have done in my life, so far.
-swing one: highly devote Lutheran
-swing two: highly aggressive atheist bashing all religions
-middle: anthropological view of beliefs, they're all stories to give people meaning, and I am free to pick and choose
-swing one: playing sports of any kind is all you need
-swing two: exercising in a gym for three hours a day everyday for an entire year
-middle: lots of walking/hiking/fun mixed with high intensity workouts twice a week
3) Food and Body Image
-swing one: must never be fat, must always be skinny, must only eat a certain amount
-swing two: must be a big strong tough guy, must bulk up, and eat as much as often and whatever you want
-swing three: must be skinny, you fucked that up, and became really obsessed with fasting and dropped lots of weight
-middle?: listen to your body and maybe just maybe its okay to have something on my bones
-this pendulum may not have reached completion to a middle point yet
How do other people experience this kind of stuff?
Number three sounds more like a plumb bob than a pendulum. I hear that.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
I tend to get so focused on things that I become oblivious to everything around me (don't hear my wife talk to me, phone rings, dogs barking, when I'm in working mode).
Some of my favorite memories are of retreating into my mind, for hours. (it helps to open up the thought processes, so perhaps in that way I am a tinge like Steve was forced to become by his body)
I learned a long, long, long time ago from a group of doctors that I'm "not quite human" so I accepted that I am what I am, and if you don't like me that's ok. I know places where they do like me.