“It can be a song you can’t get out of your head, or that of the more clinical realm,” says Dr. Larry Sensenig.
The girl that is constantly picking apart her reflection in mirrors and windows, another that paints her nails every other day, and yet another who has anything and everything having to do with penguins ranging from stuffed animal penguins to handy dandy penguin decorated duct-tape. What do these three have in common?
Actually, 80 percent of the population admits to having something in common with these three women, intrusive thoughts, and whether male or female, we are all equally at risk.
Obsession is defined as “a thought or image that keeps intruding into a person’s consciousness,” in the 9th Edition of Abnormal Psychology: Current Perspectives, a standard textbook for psychology professors and students.
“We all have obsessions,” says Dr. Sensenig, a Chair of the Psychology department and Professor at Morningside College since 1974. “Haven’t you ever been driving away from your house and then thought to yourself, “Did I shut the garage door? Did I forget something?”
Little obsessions like these occur everyday, and do not need treatment. It is at the other end of the spectrum, when obsessions become diagnosed as OCD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
When an individual has OCD they experience extreme distress from their intrusive thoughts, and deal with these thoughts by having rituals.
TLC television network is a host to the show “My Crazy Obsession,” which takes the viewers into people’s homes and introduces them to these people’s obsessions and how extremity of it.
There is a family that boasts of approximately 5,000 dolls, a woman head-over-heels for the color pink, and a “squeaky clean couple whose idea of a date night is admiring their collection of washing machines,” according to TLC’s description of the show.
What is it that triggers these obsessions?
The girl that is constantly seeking out her reflection may have been made fun of as a child for having food in her teeth, or possibly even a bad haircut. Maybe she didn’t wear “style-ish” clothes one day, or had toilet paper stuck to her shoe.
Whatever it may have been, there was probably an event from which her obsession stems.
Same with the girl who paints her nails every-other day, and the other with her penguins. Who knows exactly where these obsessions stemmed from, but these are their ways of dealing with their “unwanted intrusive thoughts,” a.k.a. obsession.