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View Full Version : Does collecting lead to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?



decadentdave
01-12-2006, 02:43 PM
I read this article on Netscape News today about a woman who died because she buried herself under piles of junk she collected for 15 years:


This May Be the Strangest Way Ever to Die Rose Marie, 62, of Shelton, Wash., seemed to just disappear. She was reported missing by her husband, and after 10 hours of searching she was found dead under piles of clutter in their home, reports Internet Broadcasting Systems.

(http://channels.netscape.com/homerealestate/package.jsp?name=fte/unmadebed/unmadebed&floc=wn-np)
This was no ordinary clutter. The house was so filled with piles and piles of junk that Marie's husband had no idea his wife had died. When police searched the home for her, their heads actually touched the ceiling as they crawled over the clutter. In fact, police had to conduct two separate searches of the home before they located the body. Mr. Marie believes his wife fell while looking for the telephone and then suffocated.

(http://channels.netscape.com/homerealestate/package.jsp?name=fte/vacuum/vacuum&floc=wn-np)
Police estimate there are several tons of debris in the house. IBS reports that Mrs. Marie apparently suffered from a psychological condition known as hoarding, which is a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder. She collected items for 15 years.

So I immediately started thinking about it and wondering if I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I have been collecting for 20 years. My house is completely full and space is becoming a problem. My attic is full. I need a bigger place but cannot afford it because of all of the money I have spent on collecting. I have considered renting a storage unit until a friend of mine had all of his movie posters in a storage unit destroyed by a flood and the insurance would not give him the full value they were worth. I'm afraid that my ceiling will collapse and all of my toys in the attic will do me in! Do we need something like Action Figures Anonymous?

Deoxyribonucleic
01-12-2006, 02:58 PM
I think it's the other way around...OCD leads to collectiong...obsessively.

Kidhuman
01-12-2006, 05:00 PM
Collecting is an OCD.

Droid
01-12-2006, 05:01 PM
I'd answer your question but I am too busy washing my hands and checking to make sure the door is locked.

James Boba Fettfield
01-12-2006, 05:25 PM
Set collecting level to hoard.

No, I don't think I'm quite there yet.

Deoxyribonucleic
01-12-2006, 05:27 PM
Collecting is an OCD.

only if you take it to an extreme such as having every single figure and its variant(s) or every figure with each holo etc. and you simply can't live without these things and that's all you think about but, if you collect simply because you like what you are collecting and collect for the pleasure of it, it's not OCD. When the habit controls your life and how you live, that's an OCD.

LTBasker
01-12-2006, 06:34 PM
I think, if you can say "no" you're on the right track.

Blue2th
01-12-2006, 07:51 PM
I think there are degrees of it. Yeah I have a collecting problem too. It used to be GI Joes, Star Trek, and yes dare I say Hot Wheels. I have always collected Star Wars. Luckily, they quit making decent GI Joes, no more Star Trek. I quit Hot Wheels long ago. My garage is full of toys in boxes and I have one small room full of loose Star Wars. Now I am saying enough is enough. Got me a nice digital camera, and computer with some auction software. Gonna unload alot of stuff (already started) and make a profit on some items, but who cares? What I can't sell I can donate to charity. This can really clean things out, and get a tax deduction for fair market value. It could be worse Decadentdave. I always say, at least I don't spend all my money on alchohol or drugs. There are worse things to be obsessive about, and there is always a way out. Though I will always be a collector because I enjoy it, it's time to narrow it down. If they had Action Figures Anonymous I would join.

decadentdave
01-12-2006, 08:18 PM
My Grandmother has always told me that very same thing..."at least it is not drugs." However a vice, no matter what it is, is still problematic.

I am not religious but makes me think of the commandment "Though shalt not worship false idols." Taken out of context of its orignal definition, could it not be interpreted that collecting little statues of movie characters in great excess might not be construed as sinful if it is done with such consumption and passion?

Blue2th
01-12-2006, 08:47 PM
You may be right about that. A vise is still problematic. I know how to solve it. Taking a first step is hardest. You could say that collecting figures with such fervor could be Idolatry. I just thought it was my hunter-gatherer (evolution) insticts kicking in overdrive. There are many gods. A god is whom or what ever you worship and worship is devotion or so I have heard. I will definitely have to ponder on that one decadentdave.

InsaneJediGirl
01-12-2006, 11:41 PM
I think as long as you dont collecting rule your life to the point you lose friends,family,jobs,etc., you're doing fine. I think everyone has an OCD habit or two,its just how you control it.

bobafrett
01-12-2006, 11:50 PM
I read this article on Netscape News today about a woman who died because she buried herself under piles of junk she collected for 15 years:

*sigh* this shall be my fate. I will have a shelving unit overburndened with collectibles fall down and crush me while I sleep.


So I immediately started thinking about it and wondering if I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I have been collecting for 20 years. My house is completely full and space is becoming a problem. My attic is full. I need a bigger place but cannot afford it because of all of the money I have spent on collecting. I have considered renting a storage unit until a friend of mine had all of his movie posters in a storage unit destroyed by a flood and the insurance would not give him the full value they were worth. I'm afraid that my ceiling will collapse and all of my toys in the attic will do me in! Do we need something like Action Figures Anonymous?

It's sad, I'm in need of new pants, but instead I put the Carkoon & Hoth waves on lay away knowing full well that I will have to make payments over the next three months, and living on a very tight budget, but leaving no money for new jeans/pants. I have worn holes in three pairs of jeans, and have only three pair that fit. I feel I do need help, but that costs money too. :cry: I, my friends, have a problem.

UKWildcat
01-13-2006, 12:42 AM
I think as long as you dont collecting rule your life to the point you lose friends,family,jobs,etc., you're doing fine. I think everyone has an OCD habit or two,its just how you control it.

Yes... thats the way I look at it. I haven't lost any firends or family due to collecting. I have, however, called into work a couple of times telling them I was going to be late so I could scope out the local toy isle, but I'm still employed. I know, I know... but I bet half of you have done the same! ;)


*sigh* this shall be my fate. I will have a shelving unit overburndened with collectibles fall down and crush me while I sleep.

I think the same thing every night before I fall asleep. I wonder if it is possible that the Lego shelf above me breaks from the wall and decapitates me while I sleep. So far so good! :D

Jedi_Master_Guyute
01-13-2006, 01:08 AM
Yes... thats the way I look at it. I haven't lost any firends or family due to collecting.

By God, I Hope not!! If i had any "friends" that didn't at least accept my geekery, i'd kick their a---s to the curb. I don't ask for their hardcore enthusiasm or their support, just a simple, "Yeah, he's a dork and we're okay with it." That being said, my family is actually pretty hardcore about my collecting habits. Hell, i used to e-amil dad My "Toy want list" and he'd check stores before/after he went into work. Even my mom has found a few figures in her day. As for friends, i think once they get over the initial shock, they're alright with it. One of my pals came over this past weekend to watch a flick with me and as i opened the door to the stairs leading to the geek room with the TV, etc, i said, "are you ready?" and her eyes widened and she said, "for what?" and i got all hush hush (sweet charlotte!) and said, "to see something in the likes of which you've never seen before...." She saw my boxes upon boxes upon boxes of stuff and was pretty shocked. After say, 20 minutes, it wore off and she was cool with it.

and as for Does collecting lead to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? I'll say no it doesn't, but for some it could lead to A. eternal virginity, dependency on soda/snacks, and a love for all things dork. :crazed:

decadentdave
01-13-2006, 01:18 AM
and as for Does collecting lead to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? I'll say no it doesn't, but for some it could lead to A. eternal virginity, dependency on soda/snacks, and a love for all things dork. :crazed:

If that's the case then I am glad I lost mine and got it all worked out of my system when I was young and can live a life of solitude like Obi-Wan. I can die now a happy man! :)

Jedi_Master_Guyute
01-13-2006, 01:47 AM
If that's the case then I am glad I lost mine and got it all worked out of my system when I was young and can live a life of solitude like Obi-Wan. I can die now a happy man! :)

Amen to that, brother.......although, i do enjoy the occasional soda and or snack, from time to time. :love:

plasticfetish
01-13-2006, 06:01 AM
I read this article on Netscape News today about a woman who died because she buried herself under piles of junk she collected for 15 years:The whole hoarding thing is also largely something that older people -- depression era, or children of depression era -- fall into for a variety of reasons. For nearly 20 years I've been friends with and worked for a woman that owns a really nice vintage clothing store, and she deals with these women or their estates all the time. She'll find dressers, closets and rooms full of things that these women had bought from stores over the years. She'll find piles of things stashed away with their original store tags still on them, as if the woman couldn't resist taking advantage of a sale and thought that she'd need to buy a dozen of the same men's dress shirt or something for her husband.

She's been into a lot of these pack-rat, or as she calls them "cat lady" houses, because often times they also tend to hoard pets -- usually cats.


I'm afraid that my ceiling will collapse and all of my toys in the attic will do me in! Do we need something like Action Figures Anonymous?See, collecting can be hoarding, but it can also just be "collecting." A simple fun hobby. You need to kind of ask yourself about your reason for collecting. For some (or maybe most) people the whole thing is a variation on the nesting instinct. You get to a point in your life where you're compensating for the stress and uncertainties of your life by filling it with a bunch of stuff that you can control -- and arrange and display or set it up in little scenes. ;) You're trying to make your "nest" safe and comfortable.

But I think what Deoxy said about it "controlling" your life is really where it goes from being fun to being a problem. No doubt most of us are probably walking that fine line... but at least it's not cats. I'd rather hear that bobafrett is spending his pants money on toys, than hear that he's spending it all on Friskies.

Careful where we're going with this, but...

I am not religious but makes me think of the commandment "Though shalt not worship false idols." Taken out of context of its original definition, could it not be interpreted that collecting little statues of movie characters in great excess might not be construed as sinful if it is done with such consumption and passion?According to some interpretations, that commandment does have to do with being too obsessed with your material possessions, like those little plastic statues... or little plastic fetishes. ;)

bobafrett
01-14-2006, 12:05 AM
This reminds me of my last girlfriend (ex as of almost three years ago now). She had a habit of just letting things pile up. We dated for three years, and I remember her apologizing to me before I entered her house for the first time. She thought I would dump her because she was a slob. As we got further on with our relationship, I kept thinking about asking her to marry me, but then my logical side said "She's going to bury your collection in her dirty clothes, and you'll have a heart attack, or your veins on your head will pop". I realize that clothing is not collecting, but reading the article reminded me so much of why I'm glad she and I are no longer dating, we would be found someday under piles of Star Wars figures and dirty underwear.

Wasn't there an episode of the "Streets of San Francisco" (old 70's cop drama) where a guy has mountains of debris in his house?

Bel-Cam Jos
01-14-2006, 10:01 AM
I'll echo the frequent phrase of "if it doesn't control your life," too. I like to organize the things I've collected (lists, displays, etc.), but I can also let things go if the time's not available. I accept the "anal retentive" label instead. :rolleyes:

I think that if you are OCD (which needs to be diagnosed; anyone can think they have just about any disorder or disease if they look at just some of the symptoms or effects), it can be managed. When it takes over, then you'll need help.

jjreason
01-15-2006, 12:42 PM
only if you take it to an extreme such as having every single figure and its variant(s) or every figure with each holo etc. and you simply can't live without these things and that's all you think about but, if you collect simply because you like what you are collecting and collect for the pleasure of it, it's not OCD. When the habit controls your life and how you live, that's an OCD.

I wholeheartedly agree, Dex. In fact I think you stole my answer. :D

But isn't it odd, that feeling you get when you're out looking for stuff? Maybe it's just me (actually, I know it's not because this has been discussed) but my heartrate, breathing and body temperature elevate when I find new stuff. I'm literally "freaking out" (I believe that's the scientific term for it) due to the excitement. This stress - both postive like I described before along with the letdown that you feel when you don't find anything has led me to believe that I'm maybe a step or two past collecting just for the enjoyment of it. I think it's actually good for me, in a way, that Hasbro is taking forever to get the 2nd wave of Saga to us up here.

sith_killer_99
01-15-2006, 02:10 PM
I think all collectors are OCD to an extent. I do not believe OCD is cut and dry, there are various levels.

I know I have always been slightly OCD, as a child I couldn't stand to have dirty hands, I had to change clothes every time I got a smudge or spill on my clothes, etc. My daughter is the same way.

As I got older I out grew those tendencies, but I also got into collecting, comic books, sports cards, zippo lighters.

Later I got rid of those and began collecting Star Wars figures. I collect carded and loose.

All of my carded figures are neatly put into protective cases and my loose figures are placed into baggies and packed away into rubbermaid tubs. The stuff that I do open is neatly displayed, as with many collectors.

The hobby does not consume my life, but it does take up a big part of it.

I do not think OCD is caused by collecting, I think collecting is a symptom of mild OCD.:yes:

The up side is that collecting is a positive outlet for OCD and is constructive, rather than destructive, though I suppose there are a few who take it too far.

Sith Lord 0498
01-15-2006, 03:50 PM
I think all collectors are OCD to an extent. I do not believe OCD is cut and dry, there are various levels.

I know I have always been slightly OCD, as a child I couldn't stand to have dirty hands, I had to change clothes every time I got a smudge or spill on my clothes, etc. My daughter is the same way.

As I got older I out grew those tendencies, but I also got into collecting, comic books, sports cards, zippo lighters.

Later I got rid of those and began collecting Star Wars figures. I collect carded and loose.

All of my carded figures are neatly put into protective cases and my loose figures are placed into baggies and packed away into rubbermaid tubs. The stuff that I do open is neatly displayed, as with many collectors.

The hobby does not consume my life, but it does take up a big part of it.

I do not think OCD is caused by collecting, I think collecting is a symptom of mild OCD.:yes:

The up side is that collecting is a positive outlet for OCD and is constructive, rather than destructive, though I suppose there are a few who take it too far.

I couldn't have said it better myself!!

I also believe that collecting is a symptom/side-effect of mild OCD. I'm an opener, and so all of my collectibles are on display. I have to have them arranged with the greatest attention paid to symmetry, patterns, and right angles. If anything is askew more than just the slightest of slightest, it annoys me until I fix it.

I also have to have things properly catalogued and organized--although I'm not as obsessive about this as I used to be. During my college years, it was really bad. I remember one incident where my friends played a prank on me by taking a DVD off the shelf above my dorm room desk. Keep in mind I had nearly 150 DVDs at this time and my desk was on the far side of my room. I walked in the door, cast a casual glance toward my shelf, and within 3 seconds blurted out "Where's GoldenEye??!!" They got a great big laugh out of it, but it upset me--half because something was out of place and half because I knew something wasn't right about that kind of reaction.

Here's a link to my collection pictures. Just looking at the arrangements will illustrate my "collector's OCD" better than I can describe it. Keep in mind two points: 1) pictures are organized starting from one side of the room and follow along the wall to the opposite side, then moves to my desk from top to bottom, and then to the living room along the wall and; 2) every time I buy a new item, I retake the necessary pictures to keep my photo record current.

http://photobucket.com/albums/b82/SithLord0498/Sith%20Lord%200498%20Collection/

plasticfetish
01-15-2006, 04:54 PM
Here's a link to my collection picturesIt all looks very nice -- nicely displayed.

You know, if it makes anyone feel any better, for a while I made a living as a film/TV set-dresser largely in thanks to my own OCD. :) I can see where the whole "displaying things on a shelf" can get to be a problem, (well, I can more than see... I have the same obsession), but it's not all bad. If it makes you happy then it's fine. It's only when it can never be good enough that it's bad. When I was working on set, I knew things where good enough when the director yelled at me to "walk away." As collectors, we just need to develope an internal voice that will yell for us to walk away when it's time.


The up side is that collecting is a positive outlet for OCD and is constructive, rather than destructive, though I suppose there are a few who take it too far.Nicely said BTW.

LusiferSam
01-16-2006, 12:20 PM
I think OCD is something one is born with and not cause by something your doing. Just because you collect something obsessively doesn't make you obsessive compulsive. Now you have OCD and be undiagnosed with it and your collecting habits might reflect this. And there is a major difference between collecting (what many of us here do) and hording (what many OC's do).