A Strange Malady: Idea Overload

A Strange Malady: Idea Overload

dreamstime_xs_26937930By guest writer, Spero Alexio

I suffer from a writer’s malady known as “idea overload.” The symptoms include an endless stream of ideas along with a limited capacity to see them through to completion. The disorder may be related to being denied chocolate chip cookies as a child, having the attention span of a flea, and an infatuation with Barbara Eden of I Dream of Jeannie fame.

The ideas line up in my head like starving children waiting for a bowl of porridge. They just stand there staring at me like I’m a neglectful father, which to them I am. What they really want is some of my time and the opportunity to explain themselves to me. I tell them to wait in line …

There is no known psychological or pharmaceutical cure for idea overload; you live with it as best you can, like a strange birthmark.

Here are just a few of the stories swirling in my mind: a fictional case study of a young man who thinks he’s a werewolf; a screenplay called The Sex Tape about a discovered 8mm tape of a tryst between Marilyn Monroe and JFK; a short story of the trials and tribulations of an aging Playboy playmate living in Las Vegas …

The list goes on and on.

And then there are plenty of ideas that get discussed for the fun of it before being routinely discarded. Political comedian Peter Elfant and I were amusing ourselves one day with the idea of an imaginary 12-step program called “Liberals Anonymous.” I suggested that the first step should be, “We admitted we were powerless over Oprah, and our lives had become politically correct.” I posted the imaginary recovery program on Facebook and was inundated with requests for meeting information.

Of course, it helps to have a kick-ass editor along with understanding friends who say things like, “I love your writing” and “How’s your book coming along? Have you gotten anything published lately?” and “Are you going to write about me?” The answer to the last question is, “Probably not.”

In the final analysis, I’m just a boy who likes to fly around in his head and only comes back to earth when he wants something to eat … which brings us back to chocolate chip cookies.


Spero Alexio is a psychotherapist in Las Vegas. He is CEO and founder of Qtherapy, where he is involved in the research and treatment for addictive illnesses with a focus on the dynamics of relapse. Learn more about his therapies at www.Qtherapy.co, where you can also enjoy many powerful articles written by Spero on addiction and related subjects. He can be reached at spero@qtherapy.co


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Comments (7)

  • Billie Hobbs Reply

    Loved this post and his great sense of humor and insight.

    January 21, 2014 at 9:15 pm
  • Spero Alexio Reply

    Thanks Billie.

    January 22, 2014 at 5:57 am
  • sharonphennah Reply

    It was the chocolate chip cookie deprivation…I suffer from the same thing…as well as procrastination! loved the humor.

    January 23, 2014 at 10:38 pm
  • Tess Eagles Reply

    I’d like to know if Spero Alexio , being a psychotherapist, could help me kill my idea overload that seems more like OCD. I think if I could put on paper 1/4 of my ideas and let the others go I could get lots more done. (Smile)

    February 24, 2014 at 3:15 am
  • sperogalexio Reply

    Tess Eagles: I’d also be delighted with getting 25% of my ideas down on paper. Atlas, it’s more a “survival of the fittest” that rules the literary jungle between my ears. On a more serious note, you may want to think in terms of working with your Idea Overload as opposed to stomping it out (killing it). This approach keep the creativity forces in play and allows you the opportunity to choose which ideas can be entertained. Hope that’s helpful. Best Wishes, Spero Alexio.

    February 28, 2014 at 11:13 pm
    • Janet Fix Reply

      A tough row to hoe when your brain is flying in all directions with ideas and you need another 200 years to live, minimum, to try them all out. So your advice, Spero, is excellent — remember that ultimately, we are the selector and implementer of any given idea, and that’s an awesome power to have.

      March 13, 2014 at 1:25 am
      • Tess Eagles Reply

        Spirogalexio , great advice. I guess a good thing would be to record or list every idea so it’s stored 🙂

        March 13, 2014 at 3:09 pm

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