If this were true at all, it would be true for other art forms as well.

Character Animation takes a very long time to do. You need about three hours of work for every second of animation, to get it looking good. There is no possible way to care about a shot long enough to do it well, the "wouldn't it be cool if-" aspect wears off after a few minutes. But somehow I am able to do it, to spend hours upon hours working on the subtleties of motion that are required for good animation.

Simply, it's obsession. The only hard part is to get started on the shot, after that, a compulsion to refine it and to fix all the things that bother me kicks in, and it's actually harder to stop working on the shot. While working on it, I find more and more things that bother me, and the cycle perpetuates. Normally, such a thing wouldn't be beneficial in any way, but it makes me better at my job, which leads me to a phenomenally stupid idea:

I am going to find a way to cause Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in myself (or something like it.)

Not surprisingly, there isn't a lot of information available on how to do this, but I'm thinking there has to be a drug for it. For every disorder, there is an opposite disorder. For people with no libido, there are nymphomaniacs. There are overly introverted and extroverted people. For overly impulsive people there are excessively cautious people who are afraid to do anything, and normal people are balanced in between. More importantly, they all have drugs. The key here is finding the condition that's opposite of OCD.

The symptoms of OCD are:

  • Obsessions: Persistent thoughts, worries and impulses that one is unable to get rid of or ignore, that the one recognizes are created by one's own mind.
  • Compulsions: Repetitive behaviors such as arranging things, washing hands, checking things, or mental behaviors such as counting, repeating words, or praying.

This is starting to seem like a really bad idea.

So now the opposite:

  • Obsessions are the inability to stop thinking about something. The opposite would be the inability to keep thinking about or pay attention to anything.
  • Compulsions are people being excessively neat, clean or organized, so the opposite of this would be a total slob that overlooks things.

That sounds like a someone with Attention Deficit Disorder! The symptoms include making careless mistakes, not paying attention to detail, lots of difficulty with organization, losing things often. There are also other symptoms that don't fit as well, like physical restlessness, fidgeting, and being overly impulsive and hyperactive.

ADD is treated with drugs that are or closely resemble stimulants . I already knew that Coffee was Animation Juice, but maybe something better is required, like Ritalin or speed. It seems coffee is safer and more sustainable, so I think I'll be sticking to that. While the ADD medicine route has offered an explanation of why coffee helps me, it seems to be a dead end. I already knew that stimulants worked.

Moving on!

Maybe I should look at this a different way. The only way ADD is usually treated is drugs, and it seems I already have those covered. OCD has non-drug treatments, so maybe I need to find the opposite of those:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy , or CBT is used to treat OCD. It involves has two elements, Exposure and Response Prevention.

  • Exposure is contact with things that are feared in order to reduce anxiety, such as handling dirty things for extended periods for people who are compulsive hand-washers or germophobes. The opposite of this would be to start avoiding the feared objects at all costs to make the fear worse, such as wearing gloves when handling anything at all for the germ example.
  • Response Prevention or ritual prevention is a supplement to Exposure, where the patient refrains from the compulsive behaviors related to his fear. In the germ example above, the patient would refrain from hand washing. The opposite would be to intentionally wash hands constantly to make the condition worse.

To eliminate my Animator OCD, I would have to force myself to do sloppy animation (exposure), and refrain from making it better (response prevention). The opposite is to do good animation. I already knew doing good animation helped, so this is another dead end.


The other way to treat OCD is by taking Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SRIs, which increase the concentration of Serotonin in the brain by inhibiting it's re-uptake at synapses. Perhaps the answer is to find some way to reduce my serotonin levels?

It might be important to know what serotinin is and does before I try something that stupid. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter used to regulate mood, emotion, and appetite. Some antidepressant drugs work by affecting serotonin, but serotonin isn't the cause of depression, rather it's just a messenger who always carries good news.

Since amplifying that messenger can treat OCD effectively, blocking it might cause something like OCD. It probably wouldn't, since OCD isn't caused by low serotonin levels, SRIs just work by alleviating the anxiety associated with OCD. Unfortunately, I can't find any drugs that reduce serotonin, probably because there's not a lot of demand for making people less happy. Such a drug would also probably cause severe depression, so even if it worked I would only be able to animate better if I could convince myself to get out of bed. Not a viable option.

lj tells me that it is possible to cut off serotonin, by getting dependant on SRIs, and then stopping the medication suddenly. It's called serotonin sydrome. As suspected, it doesn't bring about OCD, and is very very bad.

Crap. Got nothin'.

There could be other options. Scientists aren't really sure what causes OCD (or ADD for that matter), which makes intentionally causing it exceedingly difficult. I can't find any other treatments for OCD to try the opposite of, and I can't find any conditions that are directly opposite from OCD besides ADD. Doctors generally get offended by people intentionally giving themselves medical disorders (probably because helping people do this is directly contrary to their entire mission in life), so I'm not about to ask one for help.

For now, I suppose the only avenue is mentally re-enforcing the need for good animation while drinking coffee... but then again I already knew that.

OCD is a serious condition that makes it harder to function, not easier. Don't do any of this.