Monday, August 5, 2013

"Am I A Hoarder?" - A Question I Ask Myself Almost Daily

As you know I currently own a home out of state.

A lot of my and my son's things are still there. Clothes, shoes, furniture, Toys, Pots & Pans, Cleaning Supplies, etc.

Well, one day my father agreed to go there and help me begin packing up some of my stuff.

He was in the mindset that we would just make sweeping decisions about whether we would keep things, and wouldn't get into the minutiae.

But this was my house! I was ALL about the minutiae. I wasn't just going to begin throwing stuff away just to to throw stuff away.

I found myself going through every little box looking at everything little thing, and trying to decide whether to keep it or not.

I could tell my Dad was getting annoyed. I felt bad, but I couldn't do it any other way.

I didn't want to accidentally throw something even remotely important away, that I might need or wish I had in the future.

This mainly happened in my son's room, as my room was mainly full of clothes and larger things.

For instance, we have TONS of art supplies down where I live now, but there were also a TON of art supplies in my house. My Dad wanted to just throw those away since we already had markers, and pencils and pens.

But I couldn't bring myself to even throw out a pen! A PEN!! I was afraid I would need it somehow. OR that throwing it out would be wasteful because, it was a new pen, and I bought it with my own money, and throwing it out would be like throwing out money... That was what I was thinking anyhow...

Well, we eventually made some progress, packing things in 4 separate piles.

 1) Storage 2) Keepsakes 3) Goodwill 4) Trash.  (Honestly, there was hardly any trash)


Well, a couple night ago, I was watching Hoarders, and the psychologists was complaining to the camera in the confessional, that the woman,who was the subject of the story, was focusing too much on the minutiae and it was slowing the process down and they weren't getting anything done.

I immediately thought to myself..My God, that sounds like me!!

I watched as the lady went through bags of VHS tapes and chose which one's she want to keep, and which ones were okay to go on the Junk Trunk. I could totally empathize with her.

I mean I know she wanted to clean out her house, but she also didn't want to do it in a way that she would regret later. There were reasons she bought what she bought, and reasons she kept what she kept. I know, because that is how I felt.

Now my home is NOT a mess nor is it stockpiled full with boxes of stuff, so much so that you can't get through.

My house is actually pretty clear.

Except for my room and the dressing well in the Laundry Room and bathrooms

I seem to hoard shoes and clothing and cleaning supplies.

When they go on sale, "I've GOT TO HAVE THEM" because "I'LL NEED THEM EVENTUALLY".

I mean the stuff is put away in closets and drawers and pantries. But when you open those closets and doors and pantries, my problem becomes exceedingly clear. I hoard.

People usually begin to hoard because of some sort of trauma in their life.

I've had major traumas occur in my life, but I didn't begin to hoard until I had a miscarriage in October 2007 and a month later found out my husband was cheating on me.

That, THAT is when my life seemed to fall apart and I began hanging onto things rather than people for support. I;d buy stuff I really didn't need (like a Lemonade dispenser), stuff that I really didn't want (like pink silk cullottes) and stuff I should not have been buying (like a third dog)

I ended up getting a divorce 2 years later, going out on disability and moving away from the house.

I got a bit better after being away from work for 2 years and felt it was time to return to work. I let my son stay with my parents, because I didnt want to keep moving him around.  I was successful at my job, but began to crack. I missed my son, I missed my husband, I hated my job, I could seem to get a grasp on anything.

I began to buy more stuff and more stuff. (Including another dog - this is 4 in total if you count the dog my ex-husband finally agreed to take). I turned one of the bedrooms into basically an overflow room for my shoes and clothes (I referred to it as a dressing room, although I very rarely got dressed in it).

I ended up having a mental breakdown. My parents came up and basically retrieved me (rescued me?) from my mess, and took me home to live with them.

That is where I am now.

My room in my parents house is now full of stuff. An overstuffed closet, two garment racks, draws stuffed to the brim, and a whole 1/2 wall piled 8-10 deep with shoes...(mind you I still have a whole bunch of shoes in my old house).

I began to see the hoarding starting all over again.

I've started back up on my medicine, and have been able to resist the temptation to buy unnecessary things. But that still doesn't stop me from buying things that I deem are necessary. That is my problem. I have a hard time distinguishing between need and want.

I worry sometimes that my hoarding will get even worse if any more traumatic events happen to me. I just don't think I could handle it.

I am trying to work on pacing myself and admitting I have a problem, then doing what I can do to change it.  But just like any other addiction (seriously), stopping cold turkey just isn't realistic. It takes work, therapy and will power.

I am not sure whether I will ever get this under control, but hopefully I made a huge step by giving my money to my father and asking him to manage it for me. It doesn't solve the problem mentally, but it does solve it physically.

I guess that is the best place to start.

xoxo Jen L.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I enjoy hearing what you have to say, suggestions you'd like to make and links you'd like to share. No spam please and always be respectful!! Thanks