Irrational Behavior in a Self Aware Scientist

Postby CagedBird2000 » Wed Dec 02, 2020 4:48 pm

To explain things, I'm afraid I do need to provide a little background because its all incredibly complicated, isn't it always? I will try to keep it as short as possible and summarize things.

I am 34 years old. I'm male. I live in the USA. My family immigrated from Eastern Europe when I was 10 years old. I consider myself a rational person, I work in the science field. I love science. I worked really hard in college to get my degree. And yet I find myself believing in all kinds of nonsense to the point where I can barely live. If anyone knows about Eastern Europe, we have all kinds of superstitions as part of our culture. The whole evil eye thing is very popular.

When I was in my teens I was very superstitious. I had various symptoms of OCD like having to touch a door knob so many times before I can go to bed or "something bad will happen". I even forced myself to watch certain parts of a TV show so many times before I go to sleep or "something bad will happen". The list goes on. I usually went to bed exhausted from having to complete complicated patterns of utterly insane behavior.

Then when I was in my late teens or so, I figured out a way to stop. What helped me is religion. I was always a Christian, and still am. I don't really go to church, and every time I tried it didn't really work out. Its a very personal experience for me and since I am scientific I'm into Apologetics and logical proof for Christianity. But I got myself to believe or understand that God did not want me to go through this insane pattern of behavior every time I went to sleep. So I stopped. Not everything was perfect, but it was pretty good.

Now I do have to explain some things about my family background. I'm an only child. I have my mother and no father. They divorced when I was very young. I was very close to my grandparents with my grandfather being my father figure until he died 10 years ago. My grandfather was also very scientific minded and pushed me to get into science, for which I'm grateful. He was definitely the rational one in the family. He was also a pilot and in various branches of the military and kind of a war hero type from the era just after WW2. He raced motorcycles. Just a generally awesome person. I definitely miss him.

Now I have to talk about my mom. Oh boy where do I even start. She's a good person, she really is, but there are issues. For one, she was always extremely superstitious and believes in a lot of that evil eye nonsense. I have a weird relationship with her to put it mildly. I'm very close to her. Being an only child, and her having no husband, and almost no friends, she depended on me way too much. And this was before she got sick. We fight a lot, but always make up. She's a difficult person with a difficult temper and infinitely stubborn. I lived at her house until I was 28, until I had enough.

I have been living on my own since then. But because we are very close and she is so dependent on me, like picking her up from work daily, buying all her groceries, literally doing everything for her. And this was before she got sick. And since were so close, she definitely got me to believe some of that evil eye nonsense over the years. For example when a sick co-worker suddenly gave her a present, she believed that they are trying to pass on their illness to others. And she is extremely afraid to tell anyone about any positive thing in her life, because they will get jealous and jinx it.

And as much as I logically understand that stuff is nonsense, she somehow got me to subconsciously believe some of this stuff over the years. In the back of my mind. I kept rejecting it and rejecting. When things were going good it was easy. But this year, oh man. Well I'm getting close now to describing my current mental state.

My mom has type 2 diabetes. She had it for over 20 years now. At first it was mild, but now its gotten to the point where she is handicapped, and had to go on disability leave from work. She can barely walk. Her feet and legs are in horrible condition. She had multiple surgeries. If people are familiar with long term diabetes issues, this is usually what happens. She is stuck in her recliner and barely able to leave the room. So now she is even more dependent on me. Completely and totally. To an unhealthy degree.

And all this got really bad around the same time that Covid began. So combined with all that and plenty of other issues I didn't even describe here because it would take 1000 pages, I find myself in a completely insane mental state. Listen to this, its gonna blow your mind. It still blows my mind. And the crazy thing is I'm completely aware of it and yet keep doing it.

So that whole superstitious routine of turning the lights on and off so many times, and touching a door knob so many times, which I had when I was a teen. Well its back. But in a much more severe form. I have to do all that or "something bad will happen". In addition to that, now this part is the really insane part, when I go shopping, and anyone looks at me funny or more likely its in my head and not in reality, I have that whole evil eye superstition, and have to put the item back. So I usually go to the store right before closing time when there is almost nobody there to avoid people and things have to go just right for me to successfully complete my shopping trip. I end up putting things back 20 times sometimes. And whats worse is this one time, someone outside looked at me funny, or it was in my head again of course, and I actually threw away almost $100 worth of groceries which I bought.

Look people its gotten to a point where if they reviewed the grocery store video footage, I would be committed to the looney bin for sure. And the crazy thing is, I know its all stupid, I know its in my head, I know I'm acting like an irrational crazy person. People probably are looking at me funny at this point because I'm acting crazy. I'm aware of all this. Totally aware. And yet I find it really difficult to stop. This feeling comes over me. The feeling that something bad will happen or that some evil spirit is gonna get me. Again, I know its all insane, but the feeling is there.

Its just all the crazy stuff this year, covid of course, plus everything thats going on with my mom and how dependent she is on me where she almost wants me to breathe for her. Its a very toxic relationship and no good way to end it without abandoning her. Its just all too much. It constantly feels like something horrible is gonna happen any second and I have to act in such a way that it "feels right" or bad things will happen.

I want to stop this. I am fully self aware, and fully aware of how insane I'm acting. In fact just writing about this in an anonymous nature is really helping me. I might actually do better today because of it.

Anyway, maybe someone else had a similar experience and overcame it.
CagedBird2000
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#1

Postby davidbanner99@ » Wed Dec 02, 2020 9:13 pm

I went through severe OCD during childhood, such as rituals and having to touch things repeatedly. The superstition fixation is also normal where OCD is concerned. In fact, the great Nikola Tesla suffered OCD, superstition and synthesia.
In my case it turned out the OCD was just part of a larger disorder. I suffer Schizoid Personality and very recently discovered I appear to have co-morbid Schizophrenia (negative symptoms, which means I don't suffer delusions). I don't medicate in any way but try to control my symptoms and use them to advantage in science. After all, both Tesla and Grigory Perelman were technically neurotics. Perelman is a genius mathematician with probable Schizoid Disorder. My method to deal with symptoms I call "intellectual overide". This means I acknowledge my defects and learn to see my weirdness as others perceive it. I likewise observe "normal" people and try to analyse how they communicate and why I am different by comparison. I should add by the way that my symptoms are under control usually but nobody would employ me. I move and react very slowly (typical in some types of Schizophrenia) and my thought processes are slow but deep. However my memory is phenomenal and I have some savant abilities such as music pitch and even maths (from much later age).
However, the Covid crisis has been making me jumpy and even angry. I seem to be picking up the negative, irrational unease of other people and it's the first time I ever felt such apprehension amongst others. I suppose that going outside and seeing so much bottled up hysteria just destabilises equilibrium.

CagedBird2000 wrote:To explain things, I'm afraid I do need to provide a little background because its all incredibly complicated, isn't it always? I will try to keep it as short as possible and summarize things.

I am 34 years old. I'm male. I live in the USA. My family immigrated from Eastern Europe when I was 10 years old. I consider myself a rational person, I work in the science field. I love science. I worked really hard in college to get my degree. And yet I find myself believing in all kinds of nonsense to the point where I can barely live. If anyone knows about Eastern Europe, we have all kinds of superstitions as part of our culture. The whole evil eye thing is very popular.

When I was in my teens I was very superstitious. I had various symptoms of OCD like having to touch a door knob so many times before I can go to bed or "something bad will happen". I even forced myself to watch certain parts of a TV show so many times before I go to sleep or "something bad will happen". The list goes on. I usually went to bed exhausted from having to complete complicated patterns of utterly insane behavior.

Then when I was in my late teens or so, I figured out a way to stop. What helped me is religion. I was always a Christian, and still am. I don't really go to church, and every time I tried it didn't really work out. Its a very personal experience for me and since I am scientific I'm into Apologetics and logical proof for Christianity. But I got myself to believe or understand that God did not want me to go through this insane pattern of behavior every time I went to sleep. So I stopped. Not everything was perfect, but it was pretty good.

Now I do have to explain some things about my family background. I'm an only child. I have my mother and no father. They divorced when I was very young. I was very close to my grandparents with my grandfather being my father figure until he died 10 years ago. My grandfather was also very scientific minded and pushed me to get into science, for which I'm grateful. He was definitely the rational one in the family. He was also a pilot and in various branches of the military and kind of a war hero type from the era just after WW2. He raced motorcycles. Just a generally awesome person. I definitely miss him.

Now I have to talk about my mom. Oh boy where do I even start. She's a good person, she really is, but there are issues. For one, she was always extremely superstitious and believes in a lot of that evil eye nonsense. I have a weird relationship with her to put it mildly. I'm very close to her. Being an only child, and her having no husband, and almost no friends, she depended on me way too much. And this was before she got sick. We fight a lot, but always make up. She's a difficult person with a difficult temper and infinitely stubborn. I lived at her house until I was 28, until I had enough.

I have been living on my own since then. But because we are very close and she is so dependent on me, like picking her up from work daily, buying all her groceries, literally doing everything for her. And this was before she got sick. And since were so close, she definitely got me to believe some of that evil eye nonsense over the years. For example when a sick co-worker suddenly gave her a present, she believed that they are trying to pass on their illness to others. And she is extremely afraid to tell anyone about any positive thing in her life, because they will get jealous and jinx it.

And as much as I logically understand that stuff is nonsense, she somehow got me to subconsciously believe some of this stuff over the years. In the back of my mind. I kept rejecting it and rejecting. When things were going good it was easy. But this year, oh man. Well I'm getting close now to describing my current mental state.

My mom has type 2 diabetes. She had it for over 20 years now. At first it was mild, but now its gotten to the point where she is handicapped, and had to go on disability leave from work. She can barely walk. Her feet and legs are in horrible condition. She had multiple surgeries. If people are familiar with long term diabetes issues, this is usually what happens. She is stuck in her recliner and barely able to leave the room. So now she is even more dependent on me. Completely and totally. To an unhealthy degree.

And all this got really bad around the same time that Covid began. So combined with all that and plenty of other issues I didn't even describe here because it would take 1000 pages, I find myself in a completely insane mental state. Listen to this, its gonna blow your mind. It still blows my mind. And the crazy thing is I'm completely aware of it and yet keep doing it.

So that whole superstitious routine of turning the lights on and off so many times, and touching a door knob so many times, which I had when I was a teen. Well its back. But in a much more severe form. I have to do all that or "something bad will happen". In addition to that, now this part is the really insane part, when I go shopping, and anyone looks at me funny or more likely its in my head and not in reality, I have that whole evil eye superstition, and have to put the item back. So I usually go to the store right before closing time when there is almost nobody there to avoid people and things have to go just right for me to successfully complete my shopping trip. I end up putting things back 20 times sometimes. And whats worse is this one time, someone outside looked at me funny, or it was in my head again of course, and I actually threw away almost $100 worth of groceries which I bought.

Look people its gotten to a point where if they reviewed the grocery store video footage, I would be committed to the looney bin for sure. And the crazy thing is, I know its all stupid, I know its in my head, I know I'm acting like an irrational crazy person. People probably are looking at me funny at this point because I'm acting crazy. I'm aware of all this. Totally aware. And yet I find it really difficult to stop. This feeling comes over me. The feeling that something bad will happen or that some evil spirit is gonna get me. Again, I know its all insane, but the feeling is there.

Its just all the crazy stuff this year, covid of course, plus everything thats going on with my mom and how dependent she is on me where she almost wants me to breathe for her. Its a very toxic relationship and no good way to end it without abandoning her. Its just all too much. It constantly feels like something horrible is gonna happen any second and I have to act in such a way that it "feels right" or bad things will happen.

I want to stop this. I am fully self aware, and fully aware of how insane I'm acting. In fact just writing about this in an anonymous nature is really helping me. I might actually do better today because of it.

Anyway, maybe someone else had a similar experience and overcame it.
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#2

Postby davidbanner99@ » Wed Dec 02, 2020 9:22 pm

As to overcoming the neurological deviation, in my case the best I can do is channel my energy into goals. I do lots of maths and have created new ways to calculate formulae. However, I accepted I'll never have a normal social life or deep relations with others. My emotions don't work. I guess it could be worse. At least I'm not physically disabled or seriously ill physically.
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#3

Postby Prycejosh1987 » Mon Dec 14, 2020 5:35 pm

Work on your relationship with you mother trust me, you will need it and you will need her in your future. I wasnt close enough to my mother and i was rude with her at times. My mother didnt get enough gratitude for what she did for her children. She passed away, and i think about her often and its been 13 years. Make up with your mother at all costs, and let her be how she wants.
Prycejosh1987
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