The Reluctant Hoarder

I’ve watched a few of those crazy hoarder shows and wondered how does a person let things get so out of control? And then I took a look around my own home. Every room has a degree of messiness. Some may think that is perfectly understandable in a household of 6 with 4 children aged 6 and under. I’m now realising it is a sign of my ongoing battle with depression.

No one likes to admit that they have a mental illness. The stigma that is associated with it and the manifestation of doubt in a sufferer’s mind often delays attempts to seek assistance. I am no different.

For me, my depression began after a verbal assault by a trusted family member. About 8 weeks after giving birth to my fourth child, my skills as a mother were called into question and although my husband assured me that the accusations were completely unfounded, it was the simply the identity of the abuser that made and continues to have such a detrimental effect on my psyche. I’m not going to name the person but suffice to say that I no longer have any contact as a way to protect myself from further unprovoked attacks.

The timing and circumstances of this event could not have been worse. We had moved house when I was 36 weeks pregnant and the intention had always been to have this person help finish unpacking and sorting. I still have boxes I can’t look at, a ‘dining room’ full of unsorted clothes that I hide behind closed doors and maternity/baby goods that really should be cleared out. But I find myself overwhelmed, unable to make a start, sick to the stomach at the thought of even knowing where to begin.

I have an unwillingness to have visitors. I get anxious about talking to people. I find it extremely difficult to sleep. I shut down and shut myself away. I have even not taken my children to school or kindergarten because I can’t face leaving the house.

Hoarding in my house is not because I covet the stuff that has accumulated. It is simply a silent scream, and it is time to seek help and turn that scream into a primal yell of empowerment.

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5 thoughts on “The Reluctant Hoarder

  1. Be kind to yourself, Melinda. Depression is a horrible condition to live with, and I’m sure you do what’s really important, caring for your beautiful family. Years ago, I was raising a sick child and holding down two jobs, and I must have talked about not doing all the things I should have at home… My daughter presented me with a fridge magnet which still lives on the fridge.
    It says: “Good mothers have sticky floors, filthy ovens and Happy Kids”. ❤

  2. From a bloke who has had to live with losing my kids to care due to the effects of untreated mental illness can I just commend your courage in being open and direct.

    It must be a godsend to have your hubby’s support. Stay strong Melinda.

    The shame of honesty about mental illness and it’s consequences debilitated me for a few years…only now in the last year or two have I been able to shake it.

    It takes asking for help and reaching out and NOT stopping until someone you trust hears you and you get the help you deserve. The socialisation is a little trickier but worth the hard work necessary to take that first step out.

    Thanks again for being a social media friend and best wishes to you and David and your lovely family…

  3. Melinda – I remember your comments at the time of that incident. Made me realise that I am still affected by the several floods we had, – Dec 2010, Jan 2011, then Dec/Jan 2012… There is still floodmud and mess under the house, but I just can’t get interested in finally clearing it. Same in relation to the actual house part – as long as there is room to move, I won’t tidy up, I just clean the bits I use.
    A mate from a place I worked years ago used to say his wife’s sister was a real nutter about housework, but his wife was much more relaxed, and “Our house looks lived-in” which seemed to me to be a better standard.
    I know if I make a full-on attack and clean the whole place I will feel better, but it is hard to get interested these days.

    One advantage you have, is that all the stuff that was never unpacked hasn’t been missed – so shoot it all down the tip, then it won’t be sitting there, unjustly making you feel guilty. You and David have built a great family, and that is the future – not an unhappy past event that lives in those boxes.
    PS – I miss Liz, too.

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