Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rebuking the hoarder.

Watched a cleansing documentary the other day: The Hoarder Next Door. It's about two people, Roddy and Sarah, whose lives have become unmanageable due to their obsessive hoarding. Their homes were like tip sites, although perhaps not quite as well organised, if our local tip is anything to go by.

Their stories were interesting and disturbing and hit a bit of a spot with me. I'm nowhere near living in a tip, especially since my kids have moved out, but I'm possibly on the obsessive hoarder spectrum. This has been heightened to me lately by the experience of clearing out my mum's house prior to sale. Letting that house go was right up on top of the list of difficult things I've done in my life. Oh, the pain.

Another thing high up on that list was emigrating to Australia in 1964, before I was even old enough - just turned eight - to really understand the loss we were incurring. But, sensitive little creature that I was, I knew that something disturbing was happening. No more Carfield County School in Sheffield, no more familiarity, no more having the same accent as everyone else and understanding the idiosyncrasies of the idiom, and no more grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

According to the psychotherapist who was helping Roddy and Sarah to overcome their hoarding, people who hoard have often suffered loss. One of Sarah's newborn twins had died soon after birth. Roddy's brother had died when Roddy was 22. Horrendous loss. Fortunately, I've been spared anything so awful.

However, I do struggle to let things go. Not everything, just some stuff. I put it down to that move in 1964. Have been giving myself a good self-talking to lately. Watching that ep on hoarding was part of my therapy - clever how I can rationalise spending hours 'catching up on iview' - watching programs I've missed on our national broadcaster, isn't it?

Even though my household furniture is mismatched, I never upgrade it because everything tells a story - which really slows me down when I occasionally clean. Wish all the crappy old furniture would stop telling me its repetitive tales.

So recently I've been marching around my house, eyeing things off, filling boxes with junk - how did I end up with a CD of Enya?? - and taking them to the local Savers - the charity shop that supports Diabetes Australia. Think I've donated enough stuff to fund a cure lately. This weekend, items that have defeated me have had the old heave-ho. Goodbye, stupid spinning wheel given to me when I was 19; goodbye toy pram bought for my daughter when she was about three. Bad luck, imaginary grandchildren, cos it's gone, as has the Barbie campervan and shop.

There's more. Even now I can see a black overnight bag peeping out from behind the couch, mocking me. It's been in that corner for over a year. It's full of Christmas decorations. It would be the easiest thing in the world to put the laptop on the table, pick up the bag and put it in the boot of my car for another trip to Savers tomorrow. Nah. It's okay where it is. Who knows? I might even do Christmas next year.

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