I first came across this word in my teens. I must have been sixteen, watching a documentary on the subject. The narrator gave a simple introduction to the condition and that was it I was convinced. Lord help me I am an erotomaniac. (Just like when I hear of any mental illness and something rings a little true I am convinced. I ring Daniella (my sister the psychiatric nurse) and ask her, do you think I am this. Then she will ask me why. Then we will have a therapy session. Talk about growing up. She will mention that even as a small child, I have always been a funny one. Release a few anxieties. Maybe cry a little. Then it will end with a no. You're fine. Good chat though. See you soon. I am completely sane.) As the TV show went on, explained the curious mental illness a little more (no this is not me not even a little bit, not even at all), then became more and more disturbing (stalking, psycho messages, acts, expressions as extreme as murder,) I knew for sure that I was definitely not suffering from erotomania. Not I, for I am completely sane. Good.
Then I forgot about it for a while. Oh wait. I haven’t explained anything about erotomania. Here we have it, in a nut shell (actually (this is mostly directed at my friend Nicky) I was eating a bag of pistachios one night and low and behold inside the shell was not a nut but the definition for erotomania. I know. So strange. It just goes to show, you never know when and in what strange places inspiration will creep up on you. Pretty rad right?)Erotomania: Is when you are obsessed with someone. More than that it is when you believe that they are in love with you. More than that you believe that little things they do or say are massive things that all relate to you. You become driven to extreme behavior in order to protect your fantasy (which is not a fantasy because the suffer genuinely believes that they are together, lovers). Watch this film, it is french with Audry tatu, “He Loves Me He Loves Me Not,” It is very nice.
Now this is the bit I am interested in. Let’s take it one stage further. To celebrity obsession. Erotomaniac obsessed with celebrities believe that, even though they may have never met the object of their obsession, that their obsession is in love with them. Erotomaniac's pick up messages from their ‘lovers’ through the media. Through magazine articles, through songs written or performed by the object of desire, through interviews, through television, anywhere where the object of desire may appear. This is where it gets dangerous. At it’s least extreme, the erotomaniac will send obsessive mail, love letters, angry messages, strange gifts, all of which may disturb or confuse the object of desire. Next they may be compelled to stalk the object of desire. This has lead to restraining orders placed on the maniacs by people such as Madonna. (Alright I know, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, hey Mandi you admitted that you thought (for like thirty seconds may I add) that you were erotomanic, and we all know that you like David Bowie a little bit more than what is perhaps normal, remember that time in New York... Yes I know it sounds suspicious but let me a assure you it was all a complete accident. Stalking is not a thing I would do on purpose. Defiantly not my style. When I ended up outside David Bowie’s house in New York it was a complete accident OK, we were walking around a lot, it was bound to happen. Yes it is a little strange that I had seen a picture of it, yes I knew it was on Lafayette, but I had no idea where, we stumbled upon it by accident. No Andrew did not realise that was David’s house when I suggested we sit and have a coffee in the café opposite, and yes he would have been really angry if he had known. May have stormed off a little and caused our second New York argument. But it was a complete accident. It was not stalking. No no! And may I add compared to the extremity of mot Bowie fans I am tame, very very tame. Bowie fans would say I am not a Bowie fan. Plus David would not like me, his wife is a supermodel hottie I am most defiantly not. Andrew took that picture not me) (This is me outside in a café outside David's house.)
Extremities then lead to horrific acts. It is true that the guy that killed John Lennon was an erotomaniac. And unless I am mistaken Charles Manson was too. He believed that The Beatles were sending him messages through the White Album to start a race war (“Helter skelter is coming down fast.”) It is just absolutely fascinating, what is it that triggers the leap from regular everyday obsession or admiration to complete saturation. To believe some one you do not know is in love with you. The human mind is a terrifying thing, at any moment it could turn on us nda imprison us. This is what makes us interesting though. Is it a repression of subconscious urge. Is it a product of modern day living. Pressure to conform to modern society. Or have people always had this within them. That faulty wire where it is hit or miss as to whether it can hold itself together with out use of electrical tape or whether it will snap an electrical current through your mind changing the self. There is no way of guessing who it will happen to. It just happens.I also stumbled across this scale for “Celebrity Worship Syndrome” (that is nearly an accepted mental illness by the way)
‘Fans are attracted to a favorite celebrity because of their percieved ability to entertain and become a social focus such as “I love to talk to others who admire my favorite celebrity” and “I like watching and hearing about my favourite celebrity when I am with a large group of people.”’
Which, you know, isn’t actually that weird, pretty normal in this celebrity absorbed culture. Next
‘Intensive and compulsive feelings about the celebrity, akin to those obsessional tendencies of fans, “I share with my favorite celebritya special bond that cannot be described in words” and “When something bad happens to my favourite celebrity I feel like it happened to me”’
Which is a little bit strange now, feeling such an intense connection with someone that you will only hear about through magazine articles and see on TV, and that you have never spoke to except probably in a fantasy. So maybe these are fantasists. Now this one gets me.
‘Typified by uncontrollable behaviours and fantasies regarding scenarios involving their celebrities. “I hve frequent thoughts about my favourite Celebrity, even when I don’t want t. My favourite celebrity would immediately come to my rescue if I needed help.”’ Which made me start thinking of celebrities as superheroes and that is why everyone is so shocked when they walk down the street without make up on, like they have just revealed their secret identity. I guess this last one draws parallels with erotomania and limerence. Oh yeah what about limerence. Next post please.