Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Inside my head...the turmoil ....the struggle.

I am attempting a purge of my house. A very good friend/relative has agreed to help me. She it seems is the only one that understands what I need. When I ask my family for help, I just get chastised and told stories how they were able to keep their house spotless, with 5 kids working full time, with no help, with one hand tied behind their back, using only a dirty rag...yada yada yada. So once again pointing out that there is something wrong with me...

They don't understand that it is not the cleaning I need help with, it is the process of deciding what goes and letting go of it.

Let me say that my house is not "dirty" there are no piles of garbage strewn about, I do not collect empty bottles, I have electricity and running water, you will not find any decomposing animals or skeletons under mounds of junk. I have stuff. I have alot of stuff. A lot of clutter, A lot of toys, A lot of clothes. Why I have all of this and why a buy stuff is a subject for another post. But this is what is inside my head when attempting to pare it down.

Yesterday was really hard. Every item staring me in the face, slapping me with reality, that I do have a problem, I am not normal. Tears flow even as I write that statement. This is beyond me, I don't know how to fix it, or stop it. I want to scream what is wrong with me, how did this happen. I wasn't always like this.

My mind seems to work differently, to see things differently. Where my "helper" saw three or four items all the same (eg/ shape sorter toys), I saw three uniquely different objects, each with their own value for being kept. I struggled. At times putting something in the sell bin and removing it, and putting it back again several times.  I hated the feeling of taking my children's toys from them, it didn't matter to me that they had too much. I mean those are their things, it doesn't seem fair to take things away without their input. How would you like if you woke up and found someone had sorted through your things and decided what they thought you should keep and got rid of the rest with out asking you. It tore my heart to think that might be upset by this.

I heard myself trying to rationalize with my "helper" as to why each item needed to be kept..it was almost as if I was watching from outside myself. It embarrassed me, yet I still could not make the decisions, and let things go. I kept saying "I know I have too much stuff but I just really want to keep that, the kids like that..etc". So pathetic looking  back....but in the moment, my rational self just seems to be absent...
I really want to let go...I just can't...no one understands... it is NOT simple...it it one of the hardest things I have every gone through...

I hate the word hoarder, for what it connotes...I just see the show...perhaps the show has in a way "criminalized" the word, associating it with mainly with the extreme. I am not the extreme...thankfully...but I it does not matter...I still am not normal..

Why is this stuff so important, why can't I just let it go...why does it have such power over me...why does this overshadow my life...takes it over...what is wrong with me...why is it such a struggle....

I want people to understand, but for them to understand they would have to know the extent of the problem...which would be mortifying. See the problem...


  1. I had no idea that this was such a serious issue for you. I thought you just liked to shop. What hole is it filling for you? You said you weren't always "like this" so when did it start? I'm sure that initially it brought you joy and happiness but at some point you turned to it to avoid some other bad feeling(s) you were having. My thing has been to eat junk food while watching T.V. For some reason the two combined work to completely remove me emotionally from things I don't want to see or deal with. And while your house is cluttered, so too is my body. Our crutches, which initially helped, have created more problems for us. As for money, I've often taken money from the bills and spent it on dining out. We really do have a lot in common.

    As for your family, I guarantee that there are things they did to help them cope. They were not always happy, they were not always excited to clean and cook, go to work and run the kids around. It could be that cleaning WAS a crutch, and if so, who paid? The kids when they couldn't finger paint? Dad when he was afraid to toss his clothes on the floor after cutting the grass? Mom who wouldn't walk in the living room so as not to disrupt the pretty vacuum lines on the carpet?

    People who compare themselves to you so cruelly are hiding something. They are also clearly using your pain, your issue, as a reason to look down at you. I don't care what the problem is, if s loved one came to me with an issue, no matter what it was, I would take it seriously, and you know why? Because it's THEIR issue. I may not have clutter in my house the way you do, but you probably don't have an extra 100 lbs of weight on you like I do. Neither of us is better than the other. What you deserve is understanding and empathy with lots and lots of hugs thrown in. You are clearly huring yet you are trying your darndest to attack this beast that has seemingly taken over your life. For that you also deserve immense kudos.

    Have you seen "Clean House"? It's also about people who hold on to things for emotional reasons but it's much more uplifting. The hostess spends a bit of time with the families before the cleanup begins to find out what got each one to that point. She then has them tell her hos the clutter makes them feel and what negativities it has brought to their lives (i.e., kids can't bring friends over, parents are overwhelmed, families can't sit together for meals, no space for homework or paying bills). I was a big fan of this show before I ever saw "Hoarders" and I much prefer "Clean House." With "Hoareders" it seems like it's all up to the person to just let go but on "Clean House" there is a friendly team of folks that help out (like with organizing) and there are lots of rewards (such as a new furniture for the kids when mom gives up most of her purses). It's still a tough process but in the end everyone is very happy.

    Hang in there friend. Keep pushing yourself forward while pushing the words and disdain of others out of your head. You are worth it. Your kids and husband are worth it.


  2. Thanks for reading. I am not sure how bad I am in the grand scheme of things, others seem to think it is horrible. I think it more excess then anything, and accumulation from living. I am not a candidate for the "hoarders" show by any means, "Clean House" is more like it...one of my favorite shows. But my house is passable, you can walk through it, and a good deal of the excess is confined to the store rooms, and various plastic tubs. But because the clutter and excess it makes it hard to vaccuum, or put the toys away, so things appear to be in constant disarray. I do think others judge me to harshly, but then get to wondering if I am just in denial...