Hoarding and Me (and a resource)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I thought I was simply undisciplined, messy. Then, at 55, I was diagnosed with ADD (Isn't that a pretty butterfly over there?!) I realize ADD, difficulty with focusing, complicates sticking with solutions on a daily basis.

Often I walk through my house, not even seeing (connecting with) my hoarding.

I find some parts of hoarding affect me profoundly.

The first is when I acquire something - I get a rush of energy, followed by a profound letdown which I tend not to acknowledge.

Then there is 'Where should I put it?' 'If I put it where I can't see it, it will get lost in the abyss.' 'If I hide it, maybe it won't be noticed that I acquired something... again.' Shame

Another feeling is the anxiety which comes from the anticipation of letting go... What if I actually can finish it? What if I actually do need it? Will I remember the feelings attached to the object?

Sometimes my 'stuff' feels like a protective blanket, insulating me, isolating me, much like my obesity. Both make me feel safe from being approached in a very literal way - physical distance - emotional distance too.

I wonder if hoarding, like food, is an addiction? If so, I am an addict, not only of food, but of acquiring and not letting go of stuff.

Final elements of why I hoard and don't consistently do something about it... I look at my stuff and feel overwhelmed at the idea of dealing with the whole house... my anxiety level goes sky high... if I am going to bother dealing with it, I want to deal with it once and for all instead of having to deal with my feelings and the consequences every day, forever...

Just the idea of facing hoarding, increases my fears and anxiety level.

For today, these feelings are greater than therapy and/or medication. That part really scares me! I am tangled up in my own 'protective' safety blanket of weight and my 'stuff'.

This is why success - dealing with my fears and actively 'dehoarding' daily - seems improbable. Thank God there is a difference between improbable and impossible!

Blinders off and baby steps help me deal with why I hoard.

A resource: understanding_ocd.tripod

It is interesting to go to the next page and read what people sent in, relevent to hoarding.
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    2906 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/30/2011 4:22:28 PM
    I saved plastic containers for food storage, margarine containers, Chinese soup containers, etc.. I had my cabinets full and they were under the kitchen sink. When the sink leaked, I had all of them to wash. I thought about how often I used them. I didn't. I put plastic wrap over most of my left-over food or used store-bought containers for that purpose.

    After having that happen a few times, I was able to put them in the recycling if they had the right number on them that our recycling center accepts and throw away the rest.

    We had a full-size, walk-up attic and it was stuffed. Squirrels got in it and destroyed every thing by chewing on it or dirtying on it. We put our house up for sale and I had to get help to clean it out. I got Got Junk and it cost $500 for two men and a truck to come to clean it out. We filled the truck and there was still more. That was my hardest lesson. What I thought I would need or could use was destroyed by the squirrels and then I had to pay a tremendous price to get what was then trash hauled out.

    If you use something, it is still yours to keep, but junk mail, old newspapers and plastic containers can go. I had those too.
    I saved clothing for my kids to grow into and use. The elastic had dry-rotted on everything that had elastic in it from being stored in a tote in the attic where it got extremely hot.

    Each thing you keep requires your time to clean it and maintain it. That is time you could be working on your crafts. I had an 8-room house with an attic and dirt floor basement. I packed it all but the furniture for moving. I decided as I packed, whether I wanted each thing in my new house and I was able to let go of a lot so I wouldn't have to pack it, move it, and then unpack it and find a place for it. I had kept every receipt since 1976-2008 and we moved that in case there might be something important in it. Because of Flylady, I was able to go through all of that and shred most of it and used the shreds in the wood stove at our new house.

    If you want to purchase something, pay for it with cash, then get rid of two things to give it a place to live in your home.
    Often we buy gadgets that are never used. We bought our mother-in-law a meat-slicer. She lived on a farm and they butchered their own meat. She died and we were given the meat-slicer back. I have no use for it. I don't slice meat that way and it is awful to try to clean. Now my husband has an attachment to it because it was his mother's and it just takes up space. He has several things like that and I just have to move them to clean.

    My Mom got to the point where she could no longer take care of herself and I had to pack her stuff and move it to our old house. I put up free signs in the building she lived in and gave away her furniture. She was a chain smoker and her overhead light which had a white cover over the light was stained orange. Her furniture smelled of smoke too.

    I thought, what if I died and my family had to go through all of the stuff I have kept. Would they through away something of value? I had my Mom sit while I packed her stuff to move her to my house and decide whether she was going to keep it or not. Then my kids moved back home with their furniture. We had paths in some areas and I was forced to face that it didn't make sense to keep everything. No body would want to buy something that was dirty from not having been cleaned, or broken because it had fallen off of something. Read the site a little at a time. If you start like she says, you will soon see such a difference in how you feel. I would love to help you.

    2964 days ago
    We are together in this fighdt! I too have ADD AND a very problematic house! lol I found FLYlady thru Linds's team that goes to the actual website (so does ours I believe) and started getting emails from her. I actually worked for a guy who would make "Hoaders" (show) CRY!! I am not that bad but now that I know what to do (and that I care to do it; I had depression for years) I WILL. Sure cuz of the ADD the baby steps arent all there but like Marla says; it didnt take overnight to get this way and it wont be over night to change. Same with our food. Hang in there. Im adding you as friend so we can encourage each other. HUGS Laurie

    I jusst read the link and the part : Hoarder vs Clutterer. THat is me IM the clutterer. That being said i need to go clean my house!! lol HUGS again.. Laurie
    2974 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/23/2011 10:06:53 AM
    Oh, this blog is SO ME. It's scarey. I'm not to the point of having paths, piles, etc. but I can see I NEED to get myself under control before I am in that place. Thanks for this blog. I'm going to check out that site as well.
    2974 days ago
    Thanks for the suggestion of and your words of encouragement.
    I do get discouraged, but I don't dare give up!
    2974 days ago
    Try to establish routines. I was totally overwhelmed 10 yrs ago and slowly have dug myself out one room at a time. It can be done - if you don't acquire while doing it. If you do have to buy something- give three things away that day. You can do it! I like to say "space the new adventure." The pleasure of a clean room, drawer, closet, will soon be a great reward. Just keep going, if you have a relapse, move on the next day. It is the same with weight I don't throw in the towel, I just keep trying to eat better. emoticon
    2974 days ago
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