I just started collecting reborn dolls and dolls in general. I’ve been collecting since September and I already have one baby doll, three barbies, and two reborns, plus a bunch of clothes for all of these dolls. And the truth is that I want more reborns, even though they are tiring for me to dress and take care of.
So I started wondering, why do I do this, especially when it seems like I barely have the energy to do it? Is it associated with some kind of mania or something? Bipolar? Or could it be autism/ADHD related?
I started to realize that I never spend more than I am able on my hobbies/things that I collect. I also started to look back throughout the years and realized that I have had many collections of things, and special interests/obsessions, which is common for people on the spectrum. As a kid, I collected rocks/gemstones, troll dolls, Marvel cards, pink socks in the 80s, Nirvana memorobilia, and more. As an adult, I’ve collected books by certain authors, books on particular subjects (whichever I’m currently interested in), Christmas decorations, cat toys, cat clothes, and I also go through phases where I get into a certain type of clothes and collect particular types of clothing. For example, in my first year of graduate school, when I was a T.A., I got into collecting cute A-line type skirts that I could teach in.
When I got diagnosed then with bipolar disorder in 2005, I just assumed that this must be related to that. But now, with an autism diagnosis, I realize that I collect things no matter what my mood is. It doesn’t seem to be related to mania, or depression, it’s just something that I like to do. And it seems to have positive benefits for me. Collecting things that I’m interested in, even if it’s just for a short time, seems to lift my mood and lessen my anxiety. It gives me something to focus on other than all the problems and negativity in life. I like doing it too even though it can be somewhat tiring sometimes.
I’m trying to give myself permission, then, to collect things within my abilities and I have room in my home for them (it’s cluttered, but I’m working on that). I think that this is a good thing.
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