Pitch Perfect – “I set fires to feel joy.”

In the movie Pitch Perfect, there’s a character who barely speaks. She mumbled nonsequiturs, and one of them is “I set fires to feel joy.” Upon hearing this, I rolled with laughter. I laughed out loud. It was funny and seemed improbable, but some people set fire to things to feel something. It isn’t necessarily joy, but they find a sense of release in the act of making things blow up into flames. I know this isn’t supposed to be humorous, but all I can think about is Beavis & Butthead or the girl and pitch perfect.

I did some research into pyromania, and I found out that it is a serious impulse control disorder. In some ways, it’s similar to my issues with OCD. People who set fires have trouble controlling their impulsivity. Until they act as setting things on fire, they feel extremely on edge, anxious or uncomfortable. But, they know that there will be a relief when they set something on fire.

Pyromania is dangerous

It is a severe condition. A pyromaniac’s actions can lead to dangerous consequences. For one thing, the person is engaging in risky behavior. They are setting things up a blaze in they can harm themselves and others. It’s scary, and a lot of teenage adolescent males are pyromaniacs. And more men than women to be pyromaniacs.

Fire is scary. I could never be a firefighter, and I didn’t have a desire to be one as a child.  Fires mean something needs attention before it destroys a person’s valuables. When I see fire even when I’m cooking something, I feel panicked, and I want to make sure it goes out. However, there are places that fire can be calming, so I understand how a pyromaniac feels.

Fire starters

When I went to sleepaway camp, the grounds were in deep in the Connecticut woods. When I was 15, I entered Pioneer Village, PV, and during my time there, they taught us how to cook our food. Starting from finding the firewood and ending with a meal, I learned how to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the wilderness. The first job was starting the campfire. The people responsible were called The Fire Starters. They had to collect the kinder or firewood and then use it to start the fire. Yes, we used matches, but we needed to keep the fire going, which could be tricky if it rained. Seeing the flames burning was a sign that as a firestarter you did your job right.

A campfire- here’s an instance of fire being something productive rather than just destructive.

Pyromania is a disorder that promotes destruction and potential chaos. It’s ironic because the person with the disorder believes that they’re taking action to self-soothe. In reality, they’re hurting themselves, at the minimum, and potentially others. It’s a disorder that needs attention, and if you have a child who is a pyromaniac, it’s imperative that you get your kid help. Don’t be afraid to address the issue; pyromania doesn’t necessarily have to be a sign of something worse. Parents always worry about something being “wrong” with their children, but something like pyromania could make them more anxious than normal. Children who are compulsively setting fires need to learn impulse control, and the best person to demonstrate these skills and teach a child is a therapist.  If somebody is dealing with this issue, perhaps a teenage boy, they need to see a mental health professional. Their behavior could harm people including themselves. It’s about learning impulse control. I can relate because as somebody who has OCD I struggle to control my urges. That’s why am so things interesting to me, and I try to write out the anxiety and not performed the behavior. I’m trying to deal with those urges, and I’m starting DBT group soon. I relate to the pyromaniac. I’m trying desperately to find a productive way to self-soothe.

Have you ever met anybody who is a pyromaniac? I’m curious.