What flat-out baffles you about yourself?

  • imperator

    Posts: 626

    Apr 15, 2009 8:18 AM GMT
    I had to throw this out there before I go to bed because I've just experienced one of those blips in my own personality that I don't understand-- even though I realized I was doing it as (or shortly after) I was doing it. Now I'm generally pretty introspective and self-aware and often I think I mostly know why I do the things I'm doing. But just now... ugh... I have no intuition as to what possessed me, and I'm curious whether other people experience much of the same.

    So in my following of one URL to another (something on Huffington Post led me to something led me to something else, and so on) I stumbled across this video of a guy... I thought "surely it can't be that bad" (but it was!)... pulling a tapeworm out of his own abdomen through an open sore on his stomach. And after I sat through that wondering if there was a moral to the story, I followed an "if you liked that!" link to another video... oh gawd... of a guy squeezing out this golf-ball sized lump on his jaw (the caption said it was a spider bite he'd ignored but one of the comments said it was a cyst). And that nearly made me sick. I spent 5 minutes ready to grab the nearest improvised barfbag just in case. And after that finished I thought "that was possibly the most disgusting thing I've ever seen, why-- WHY did I watch that!?"

    So then, naturally, I googled "cyst" videos and subjected myself to four more which were just as bad if not worse. And I have no idea why. I learned nothing from the experience (except, maybe, that if I ever have a cyst that needs removing I want to be unconscious for its extraction... and I'd maybe rather be killed than made to watch the procedure) and I didn't enjoy this string of videos in any way, shape or form... so why did I go from one to the next, hitting play and deliberately antagonizing my gag reflex? It reminded me of a Buffyism I love, "we're on Death's doorstep, repeatedly ringing the doorbell like maniacal girl scouts trying to make quota." Even now, whereas I'm already uncertain if I'll sleep tonight... or eat for a week... I can feel this nagging impulse to google "festering boils" or something, step it up a notch, see how much worse I can make this grossed-out feeling in the pit of my stomach. And I don't know why. icon_eek.gif

    Which brings me back to the question: anybody else ever find yourselves doing something-- almost obsessive-compulsively (though without said diagnosis)-- that you don't enjoy and you don't see the value in, but you do it anyway, even self-conscious of how repulsed you are by it?
  • Tritimium

    Posts: 261

    Apr 15, 2009 11:53 AM GMT
    Yep, happens to me, too. No idea why. Idle curiosity, I think. There's a part of us that always finds interest in things with a 'wow' factor, no matter how objectionable. That's why TV channels make programs featuring back-to-back videos of terrible accidents and such - no real value (okay, you might learn something very occasionally) except entertainment.
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    Apr 15, 2009 12:32 PM GMT
    For the same reason people ride roller coasters or jump out of airplanes, the rush of dopamine in the brain.

    "Dopamine is responsible for making us feel satisfied after a filling meal, happy when our favorite football team wins, or really happy when we use stimulating drugs like amphetamines or cocaine, which can artificially squeeze more dopamine out of the nerve cells in our brain. It's also responsible for the high we feel when we do something daring, like skiing down a double black diamond slope or skydiving out of a plane."

    "...people who take risks get an unusually big hit of dopamine each time they have a novel experience, because their brains are not able to inhibit the neurotransmitter adequately. That blast makes them feel good, so they keep returning for the rush from similarly risky or new behaviors, just like the addict seeking the next high."


    Looking at the grotesque (from the safety of your chair in front of your computer) was giving you a similar "scare" as riding a roller coaster or skydiving, etc. and releasing dopamine. And you were doing it repeatedly to get those repeated rushes of dopamine.
  • imperator

    Posts: 626

    Apr 16, 2009 2:31 AM GMT
    So in other words, I'm some sort of arousal-junkie. That isn't really a surprise based on some of my turn-ons, but I never thought the same love of stimulation would explain watching gross-out videos icon_neutral.gif
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    Apr 17, 2009 8:08 AM GMT
    Just a few days ago I googled Syphilis... icon_neutral.gif
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    Apr 18, 2009 3:29 AM GMT
    Generally people (in fact all creatures with brain stems) will repeat behaviors which meet some need of theirs. So, if you are repeating a behavior - especially one that is not at first glance pleasurable being - repeated, it is often helpful or interesting to figure out what need the behavior was serving.

    Without knowing anything about you, here are a few candidates for what may have been gratifying:

    -the intense emotional sensation of disgust and the visual stimulation may have been distracting you from some other emotion you didn't want to feel (loneliness, anxiety, boredom, etc);

    -you may have been trying to remind your self that some problem you are facing is nothing compared to what some other people endure;

    -you may have just been after the adrenaline rush (similar to why some people like gory movies or scary amusement park rides;

    -from time to time I have been known to watch medical videos that I find disgusting to remind myself of why am glad I decided in college to change plans and not become a doctor.

    If you find yourself bothered by not knowing why you were drawn to these videos or if you feel compelled to watch ones like them to an extent that you feel you can not control or that is interfering with your work or social and family relationships, then I would urge you to explore this matter with a therapist.

    Best of luck.