Dec 5, 2008

Hoarding Disorder

Well, this is my second post dealing with compulsive hoarding, and as I do more and more research, it’s amazing how much this condition has affected me without me even knowing it half the time. It’s amazing how you can see life through a “lens” of a sort, where you think that the way you think is just “normal”, when in fact it’s anything but. I have since learned that many of the thought habits and patterns I have developed have reeked of hoarding disorder and I never would have detected it, had I not started doing research on some of the symptoms of compulsive hoarding.

One of the most tell-tale symptoms (for me, anyway) is when you keep things that have little value, but in your mind you have trumped them up to have a great amount of value, even though everyone else can see that they’re nothing but junk. Or, you’ll begin accumulating certain things, claiming that you’re building a “collection” that you may believe may be “worth something someday”. Most of the stuff I ended up accumulating, man, it would be hard to find a buyer anywhere for that crap. I actually have a Hershey bar wrapper collection from the 1980’s. I have an Altoids tin collection. I had a collection of melted VCR tapes from when I worked in a videocassette production place…I’m not kidding you. By the way, I finally got the guts to throw those videocassettes away. All of this stuff is crap, and yet I would just collect it and collect it like it was gaining in value every year or something. The truth is, all it was doing was cluttering up my house and my mind.

I even had this stupid habit of keeping old pens that didn’t write anymore. Yep, I would just have a desk full of pens without caps that had dried up completely or just barely wrote at all. What did I think was going to happen? Was I expecting some kind of supernatural change? Were the pens going to resurrect one day and all of a sudden begin to start magically flowing with ink again? Freakin-A. I guess what I’m trying to say with all this is that hoarding disorder can cause you to see things in a distorted manner, and you don’t even realize that your perspective has been skewed.

Nov 18, 2008

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Oct 21, 2008

Compulsive Hoarding: An Introduction

When I thought to start this blog, I was initially doing it as somewhat of a study on compulsive hoarding in a general sense. The funny thing is, the more I started studying hoarding disorder, the more I saw myself fitting all the symptoms and descriptions! So, in the midst of me trying to do a study on this, I have realized that I almost completely fit the profile…that SUCKS!!! Now, I don’t have any rooms piled up with 3 feet worth of junk or anything like that, but I do recognize that I have a lot of the same symptoms of a hoarder’s mentality. So, with that in mind, this blog will actually be somewhat of a diary (man, I hate using that word) of my own personal journey to be completely free from compulsive hoarding in all its forms and fashions.

For years I wondered why I would keep a bunch of relatively useless stuff, but I never gave it much thought beyond that initial question. I just figured that I was a conservative kind of guy, and only wanted to keep things because I could possibly use them later, or because I didn’t want to be “wasteful”, or because I may actually need those things one day in the future, and if I didn’t have a store of stuff to draw upon, what if what I needed would no longer be available? All of these types of questions would go through my head. I never saw them as any type of “wrong” thing to think; in my mind it was interpreted as being “responsible” and not being wasteful. But man, it has turned into something almost laughable and ridiculous now. I have a collection of candy bar wrappers that I have had since I was in middle school (I’m 33 now). By the way, that’s another symptom of hoarders—they call all of their accumulated junk “collections”, as if the junk has some kind of intrinsic value, when most of the time it doesn’t. I thought about selling the candy bar wrappers on eBay, but I probably wouldn’t get but about 10 cents for them. In other words, the hoarder assigns or attributes value to the things that they collect, but in reality that value is not accurate or even sometimes non-existent.

I also have a ridiculous amount of old power bills, old gas bills, old money order receipts, old deposit receipts, etc., many of them dating back four years or more. Those bills have long been paid for, and some of the companies I’m not even a customer of anymore, but I have still kept the bills, as if some psychotic auditing company is going to raid my house just to ensure that I have paid my bills for the past 10 years. I also have an excessive amount of magazines that I don’t read, several copies of the same books that I don’t read and don’t even want, miscellaneous cables, wires, adapters, and other electronic stuff that I can’t even use, but that I keep and would honestly feel a loss if I threw them away. This flat-out SUCKS. So again, I am starting this blog to somewhat document my journey OUT of compulsive hoarding, and hopefully stave off that stupid mentality that breeds hoarding disorder, forever. Onward & upward from here.