A bit of, well, a lot of a hoarder :-O

I'm almost 59, not in the best of health and have had a couple of fairly major mental health crises in the last week or so.

Today I had the massive realisation that I am a terrible hoarder, keeping broken items in the hope that one day I'll fix them. Buying stupid items thinking that one day I'll build a crazy project, hang onto things for sentimental value, not get rid of things when I no longer follow hobbies, or am capable of following them, some date back decades !!

Bad experiences of on line auction or sale sites don't help, plus limited mobility to wrap, label, post, courier items etc.

A web site I followed led me here suggesting perhaps it's OCD !!

Other suggestions are that it may be some form of bipolar disorder due to my mood swings.

Thoughts and advice anyone ??

10 Replies

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  • Hello. Sounds like you have trouble letting things go. Hoarding is sometimes a response to having suffered losses , bereavement, trauma. It's good if you can talk to someone, start with GP? Maybe try counselling? There are organisations around who can help with decluttering in a gentle sensitive way. Recognising it is a very good start though. Wishing you luck x

  • Thank Gina-jay,

    Getting counselling now and engaged with my GP

  • I too have the hoarding problem! I did have some therapy for it, which consisted of my CBT therapist standing over me while I put things into a bin bag or the recycling but I found it very hard and felt traumatized afterwards. Particularly hard was shredding my late mother's papers - only old bills and the like, and I would have disposed of them eventually, but that way it was just very painful.

    But he did teach me to concentrate on one area, and clear that, before going onto another. Try not to buy what you don't need, and then you won't build up more mess. Don't go onto sale sites unless it involves people collecting items from you. A site like Freecycle might help, as whoever wants your item must collect it which saves you posting it. Charity shops might also take things, and if they are big or there is a lot, they might also collect from you. Hobby enthusiasts might also take things - try Facebook to get in touch with them.

    Don't get rid of genuinely sentimental items if you want to hold onto them - perhaps after clearing some space you can re-evaluate just what you want to hold onto. Clearing things out can be traumatic, but don't make more than it need be. I have been clearing my kitchen and have been making bread with two big bags of bread flour I had been storing! Some things can actually be used instead of sitting in a cupboard!

    But do get help for the other mental problems - it could be OCD, which often goes with hoarding, or it could be bi-polar. A trip to the GP should lead to a referral and assessment by a mental health team.

  • Thanks Sallyskins,

    I can truly relate to what you've written, and thank you for sharing.

    I've also just come through cancer treatment, which along with the disease can create mental and physical issues of their own, together everything can be overwhelming, and is apparently very common.

    It's been nearly a month since my final treatment, and I've engaged help from a local support centre, a counsellor and complimentary therapies, I've also seen my GP who has prescribed anti depressants at night to help me sleep, I get to sleep but wake early and am constantly tired. I see him again next week.

    I've been referred to a 'Mental Health home treatment team' but have yet to hear from them, similarly I contacted social services when I was first diagnosed back in September, the only contact I've had from them is a phone call and a form to fill in, hey ho such is life.

    There are things that belong to my daughter, who lives with her fiance so doesn't stay any longer. I've asked her to come and take everything she wants, anything left either goes to other family members, charity shops, sold, or thrown away.

    For a number of years I had a touring caravan kept on the same site and usable during the holiday seasons. I managed very well with minimal items, shopping every few days, so my aim is to get back down to the bare minimum here at home.

    Indoors is my main focus, garden and garage can wait until I'm stronger overall.

    I need my flat to be warmer through next winter so I need to arrange under floor insulation, and either get my double glazed windows fixed or replaced, right now I can't take their 'pressure sell tactics'. First quote was nearly £20k for 5 windows and 2 doors !! They went down to about £8k but only if I took out their payment plan at 1.5% pa, which would have been about £140 a month for 5 years, which comes out at about the same price !! Rip off.

    Since been told it should come in well under £10, bench mark of £7 !!

    Little steps.

    Hope you're continuing your clearout successfully.

    Tilly

  • Thanks - I am doing my best! I have managed to get rid of quite a lot.

    I'm sure that your recent cancer treatment has had an effect - it must have left you tired and depleted and it's extraordinary how a little neglect of clearing things away builds up into a mess. And it doesn't help keeping things on your daughter's behalf either! And it's good to keep clear of aggressive sales people - they often target people when they're vulnerable.

    I'm concerned that your mental health team and social services haven't bothered to be in touch. I know services are underfunded, and there could be a waiting list, but leaving you on your own isn't good. Could the support centre or the GP help you chase them up?

    Little steps, as you say - and good wishes to you.

    Sally

  • Thanks Sally

    I'll contact PALS about the MHT, though previous experiences of them haven't been good, so I'm not holding my breath. Unfortunately they cover much of South London and offer services far beyond thus are very overstretched.

    I will contact my GP tomorrow too.

    Scan results first thing in the morning, so I'ma little nervous :-/

    Tills

  • Hope it goes well.

  • Ta muchly. Need to get to bed promptly tonight, very early start tomorrow :-/

  • Good news all, my consultant says I'm in full remission from Lymphoma, so I can now rebuild my life in little steps, need to get physically and mentally fit again. Thank you for your comments and support x

  • That is brilliant! I am so relieved for you. I hope it all goes well!

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