Thursday, September 16, 2010

Outing a Hoarder

I’ve been addicted to watching ‘Hoarding – Buried Alive’ on TLC.  The last few shows have been very discouraging as I haven’t seen much progress made.  It appears there are some people that can’t make the cognitive decisions necessary to overcome their circumstances.  Or maybe they haven’t hit rock bottom. A definition for clutter that I think fits is,

‘Clutter is Postponed Decisions’. 

Recently, I saw on the show the mom with 5 kids, who’s husband moved out.  It took her 4 1/2 weeks to clear 1 room.  The kids all but admitted that she just shifted stuff around.  Once the camera’s are no longer there, I’m certain the stuff will creep back in.  I’m all for hoping there’s a silver lining for these people’s problems.  When you don’t see it, the show becomes depressing to watch.

Now, here’s the fun (sarcasm laid on heavy) part.  I’m outing a hoarder.  Almost called the show on her, but I felt sorry for her family so I didn’t.  What the heck I’ll blog about her.   I know for a fact that this lady has some anxiety disorder.  She’s been recently (last April) diagnosed with A.D.D. and from watching the show I’m convinced that Hoarding is mostly a mental disorder.  I love this lady dearly and I know there are few people as creative and caring.  She has a hard time saying No to anyone and anything.  She is so amazingly talented but can’t seem to finish anything that she starts.  So many darling projects that get put on the back burner when something else equaling creative catches her eye.  She’s a sentimental hoarder as well.  Can’t seem to let go of her children’s treasures, even after they have.  This is a person that can look at a piece of trash and save it because she has a fabulous idea of how to re-purpose the item.

This lady is…


Hello, my name is Fawn.  And I’m a Hoarder.

Shocked?  I am.  It always rocks my world when my Conscience finally recognizes what I think my subconscious has known all along.  When truth bears out and that light bulb goes off.

The Unbloggable turned me into a Zombie, and when I slowly woke up from that coma, I couldn’t seem to find my feet. That’s when Young and Gorgeous diagnosed me with A.D.D.  And her saying what I had, well, it rocked my world.  Because, I knew it was true.  I felt the truth so deeply when she said it.  I finally recognized it in all my hurdles.  The frustrations with myself for so many little things that I thought I should be able to do, all rooted in A.D.D.  I started getting help and I have to say I’m thrilled with the results so far.  It feels as if I’m truly awake and living my life for the first time.

Yet, even as I’m feeling so much better, there was something gnawing in the back of my head.  Couldn’t pinpoint it either.  Somehow, every episode of ‘Hoarders resonated more deeply, until I finally recognized the truth.  I was watching me.  What?  ‘But in your blog, FawnDear, you showed all these wonderful before and after makeovers.’  Isn’t it great how you can focus on the one beautiful thing you’re creating and crop out the clutter in the background and that surrounds it.  I love that about blogs.  But they hold a clue.  Remember the before pictures,  that’s the norm, the redo’s never last more than a couple of days.  Remember my Craft Room – need any more proof?  Another nail in the coffin was looking at all the posts where I talked about my issues with Clutter (31 to be exact – 32 after this one).  My sis out-ed me on one asking if I was just moving stuff around.  The answer is mixed – yes, and no.  Yes, I really have gotten rid of too-many-to-count truckloads of stuff to the dump and thrift store.  But I never addressed the emotional reasons for collecting it in the first place.  I have to admit that I’m not nearly as bad as the people spotlighted on the show, but I’m nearly there.

I see something darling…

Spring 128

in a magazine like this…

Spring 127

made out of used dryer sheets…

Spring 131

Absolutely gorgeous.  So I then start dreaming of darling gauzy fairy dresses for my girls and then this happens.

Or I see contest like this…

firefly craft contest 

and all of the sudden I’m saving more trash.

These boxes are going into recycling directly after I post this.

I have an answer for everything weird you can find hidden around my house – like the shelf full of empty soda bottles.

Summer 589

Why they are for next year’s Mad Tea Party, of course.

Spring 1585

I nearly gagged re-reading my last post.  I was saving pictures and self-made pattern pieces from costumes more than 8 years old.  I promptly threw those in the trash that evening.

I’m in love with Thrift shopping – it’s therapeutic for my creative genius.  Yet it holds a firm grip on my problem.  I’m not visiting another thrift store until I’ve conquered this illness.  Now that I’ve finally recognized and owned my addiction, I’m pretty sure I CAN have a Happy Ending.  I’m hanging onto Hope for a better tomorrow once again.  By turning myself in I’m one step closer to solving the riddle of me.  Closer than any of the people on Hoarders who are turned in by loved ones.  I’m reaching out for professional help to more than one person.  My young and gorgeous counselor is helping with the A.D.D. and teaching me how to retrain my brain to be more realistic about my dreams and craft projects.  She’s helping me make lists.

And set goals.  Being more realistic helps with letting go.  If I haven’t hand tinted black and white photo’s for more than 9 years, why am I still hanging onto that box of supplies.  If I want to do something but don’t have a due date for completing it will I be willing to let it go if not done by the due date?

Summer 599

And next week I’m meeting with a professional organizer trained to work with people like me.  She doesn’t beat around the bush and has promised me that things would get a lot uglier (emotionally & around the home) before it gets better.  Uglier than a garage that you can’t even walk through?

Summer 559

Or a master bedroom that now houses my craft room’s objects.

Summer 534

All four walls stacked with my postponed decisions.

Summer 536

And no you don’t need to call the health authorities on me.  I’ve no dead cats hiding buried beneath the trash.  These are of course my two worst rooms.  The closet’s are not far behind.  If you walked into my home and forgot that the porch looked like this.

Summer 554

Well, being in my front room, you wouldn’t know my shameful secret.  It’s hidden out of site.  And my youngest children’s room has remained this clean for four days.  I know… shocking right.

Summer 601

Yes, I need help.  Desperately!  But I recognize that, and I’m now, finally, after 40 years of being the most unorganized person I know, well, I finally reaching out for Professional help.  And NO, my friends reading this can not come help.  This is something I have to do or it will just come back.  This is what the Pro. Organizer is going to go through with me.

I’ve got the best reasons ever and have hopefully lined up the right people to help me solve the riddle of me.  I HAVE to find the solution because there are six little mini-me’s that I’ve got to eventually send out in the world someday and I don’t want to send them off with my issues.

I’m not watching Hoarders anymore.  Now that it’s personal it’s too depressing. And TLC doesn’t focus enough on the steps taken or thought process’s challenged for my liking. I am however re-watching Oprah’s two part series on Hoarding.  They show you the hoarding but then go into some of the different steps you can follow to overcome it.  Until I meet with the organizer I’m following a couple of those steps.  Every day I’m taking out at least two large lawn and leaf size bags of trash and two bags of thrift stuff as well.

Here’s yesterday’s trash…

And the beginning of yet another thrift pile.

And today.

Summer 600

Thank heavens tomorrow is garbage day.

And the thrift pile, well I mean to add more to it tonight once the kiddo’s go to bed.  But it is growing in size.

Summer 602

My goal is to not stop until ‘Everything has a Place and is in it’s Place,’ even if that means temporarily letting go of some dreams.

When it’s done, I’ll have more confidence, and energy to face an incredibly bright future.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, and please don’t judge me because I have an illness.  The point is I’m treating it and sharing this because I know there’s people like me out there who know what this is like.


utmomof 5 said...

YOU GO GIRL!!! I saw we all have something we need to deal with; yours is just stuff (and lots of it). You will conquer this and so no judgments from me!!

I am the complete opposite of you. I throw EVERYTHING away. Too the point where I have wished on many occasions to count that I still had whatever it was I threw out :)

Sara said...

Admitting you have a problem is the first step! WTG! One of the things I like about Clean House (I think) is that when people have too many of something, Peter lets them keep a certain amount. It HAS to fit into a certain space, and I think that's a good rule for someone as creative as you. Your projects or glass bottles have to sit in a certain area, if stuff starts to overflow you have to finish the project or get rid of stuff.

Good luck, sweetheart!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm totally teared up here--by your courage to face this and your strength to post it and your commitment to DEAL with it. I'm going to pray for you, Fawn. Keep us posted on how it's going. Congratulations on your progress--you're going to get there!!!

Trena Doll said...

you can do it!

BleuMoon said...

Wow - thank you for sharing -
I have hoarding tendencies, but coupled with a neat freak of a husband, he is keeping me mostly in check; except for my areas. Which are my craft area, our closet (he pretty much gave that up to me years ago) and other little storage areas that are filling up with my empty jars, and bottles and boxes with my plans to complete projects using them. Most of the time I have ideas, that I may need when I . . . (you can finish the sentence with any project and it will probably work) I start, but I have a hard time finishing. Thank you Thank you for posting your story, it is making me realize the beginnings of my own problems.

Good luck and thank you again for inspiring me to tackle my demons -


Katy Cameron said...

Good luck with addressing the hoarding, I'm sure you can do it!

I hoard things terribly too. I too have half started craft projects, and I have ADHD issues. I'm about to clear out my loft space, where I'm hoarding old clothes I'll never, ever wear or use again, and I'm sure there are many people who would benefit, so off to the charity shop with them. Then I'll re-do the space and store my less often used craft stuff in a better way than inder my bed (my bed is 6 1/2 ft in the air btw!). That's the plan. I'll see how you do first ;o) No, just kidding, I just have to finish a couple of bears for a fair first!

Beth said...

I love you Fawn!!!!! And yes, I can totally relate. But I'm working on it. And seeing progress!