Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Obsessive need for closure, burst of one pointedness

I get so involved into conversations there is so much of reluctance to leave it incomplete without a closure. These incomplete convos happen so many times, in person, phone and the internet. If I move to some other topic then I have to deal with the discomfort of not meeting the success criteria for the conversation. Its like cutting a sine wave somewhere in between. Its like I have an obsessive need to get things finished to the extent that they match my mental image or success criteria. Its like I'm inbetween my lesson and have to abort. Its like stopping a movie just at the climax. I have invested so much and I do not get the reward of the sense of completion. This is similar to the hunter personality where you chase the kill with all your might and then it slips away at the last minute. There is so much energy invested but the reward just slips. There is a radical energy inside me that pushes incomplete things to completion. At times this wastes a lot of time. Like say I am eagerly waiting for a phone call from someone. During that period I cannot do anything else, my whole mind is consumed. But because of this, I give my whole attention totally into the conversation. I can see the same trend even in excitement about pleasurable objects (material/non-material). When I am in a state of intense anticipation, my whole mind is consumed and I am incapable of doing anything else. Its like a one pointedness but only for that thing and that is disabling. Could it be excess dopamine leading to excess pleasure on receiving the object? If someone goes away and says they will be back, there is a big risk that the high involvement I would need to maintain in-between would be wasted. If there is an interruption, again there is a risk of them not getting back to you. But what is the other option? If I don't get that involved in the first place, I would not feel that extreme one pointed pleasure of mind too. Also I would not be giving my full involvement in the conversation and therefore it wouldn't be as satisfying as it could be. I want to push things to the hilt in complete sine waves. But when I hit for a large wave, I am taking a big gamble. The risk is that before the wave completes it would get terminated. This behavior may have been created while playing computer games. There is a steep challenge and you got to complete it. The challenge is either time bound or related to exploration. I would sit with the challenge one pointedly till its finished or I get exhausted. Also, in studying for exams, I wait for the last minute because then I can sustain working at that high a level of energy and just get done with it. If I start much earlier then that level of energy is unsustainable. Its like you cannot run a marathon at your fastest speed, only a short sprint is possible.

While solving computer issues too, I would persist day and night and my mind would get completed fixated on solving that problem. When the problem does not get solved after repeatedly the force increases even more. This explains even my sprint running, desire to take up extreme short challenges, desire to perform short feats of strength. That explains why I like living in the extremes. Are my neurotransmitter levels wildly fluctuating? Do I intentionally indulge in that?

Maybe now the form that this obsession has taken is in elaborate complex integrated mental concepts and insights. This one pointedness works when searching for good material, seeking to understand, and explaining them to another person. The dissatisfaction is like imagine there is a math question paper with only 1 complicated question. You are excellent at solving it and you work full speed to complete it but just before you reach the final answer, time runs out and the paper is taken away. You get 0/100 since you did not get the final answer. Can you imagine the frustration?

OR imagine you are playing the last level of a computer game where you have to start from the 1st level each time you start the game. You painstakingly and patiently work through 17/18 levels in the game. When you are in the 18th level halfway, the power fails and now you have to start all over again once the power is back. 

1 comment:

  1. I can completely empathize with that feeling. Recently I was working on my personal statement for grad school, it was late at night and I was finished my rough copy. It was about two pages. I hit Command Save on my mac, I closed it and then decided to make sure it was there. It was not there. I was frustrated beyond belief. But I calmed myself and re-evaluated the situation and realized that I had another opportunity to write a better statement. However next day I did find it haha and needless to say I was quite relieved.

    I've actually thought about the need for closure but more so in away where we are looking for it from others. Such as acknowledgement of an action or statement but why do we need it? Why is it so important to have someone acknowledge us? We desperately seek the acceptance of ourselves too often and sometimes I think it comes down to accepting yourself and acknowledging your own thoughts and actions.

    I absolute no what you mean, with the game example, or the test, or just having things work the way you want. Sometimes you just have to know when to put it down. When you can't beat that game, take a break play something else that won't make you throw your controller half way across the room. If you can't fix something, stop working on it for the day and continue tomorrow. A lot of times our own frustration makes things worse in how we navigate things. For example have you ever played a first person shooter angry, to the point where every death makes you curse the person and hope they die? I use to and still do get frustrated sometimes. But hey that's when you just need to turn it off.


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