Today is the 1st anniversary of Not Just Clutter!
I can’t believe it. When I first sat down to write the first post on Not Just Clutter, I never imagined what this blog would mean to me. And I REALLY never expected it to mean anything to anyone else. I wasn’t sure anyone else would want to read about compulsive hoarding disorder.
Somehow, you found me. I opened up and shared my personal life without any idea of what would happen. I actually thought I might get some backlash from people disgusted by compulsive hoarding. It’s been a whole year, and not one negative comment (touch wood). And while I don’t get a lot of comments in the posts, which I understand for your own privacy concerns, I DO get direct emails from other children and loved ones of hoarders. You confide your stories in me, and I respect your trust. I’m glad you know you’re not alone, and that there’s someone to empathize.
It’s Not Just About Me
So, once I realized I was reaching others, Not Just Clutter stopped being just about me and my Mom. It became a catalyst for conversation. For creating understanding. For stopping stigma. For generating awareness about a misunderstood and often reviled living condition. For expanding on mental illness in general. Now, I look for ways to bring you any information I can find about compulsive hoarding, like new research, or studies looking for participants. I get insight from other relatives of hoarders, and try to give a lighter view, too.
Year in Review
I first started this blog with a post about Mom’s phone. Or rather, her lack of a phone. I was frustrated with not being able to communicate with her because her land line phone stopped working and the clutter prevented her from finding and fixing the problem. Eventually, she got a cell phone. And then lost it. Found it, and lost it again. Then she bought a second cell phone. She still has that one so far. All this time, I thought she would have cancelled her phone service for the broken land line. I learned recently she’s still paying that bill because she hopes someday to resolve the issue. Uh huh. Wait, was that a pig flying past my window? No, just some B.S.
And wasted money.
There have been a few feeble murmurings about cleaning up. Mom has talked about packing up some stuff to take to charity. That hasn’t happened. She DOES continue to shop at a charity thrift store, weekly.
Others have noticed her hoarded van. Someone who works at the thrift store actually mentioned it to my sister, Lynn, one day. This person said to her “Your Mom is in here all the time. Wow, is her van ever packed! I hope her house isn’t like that, too!”
What does one say to that?
She keeps her house at 60 degrees all winter because the oil bill is already insanely high. Almost $900 for 3 weeks here recently. She can’t get service or repair people to finish a job. She takes her dirty clothes to a laundromat because she can’t get to her own washer and dryer. She makes a lot of sacrifices for her stuff.
Mom is no closer to accepting she has a problem, but at least this blog is helping me cope. I feel I’m able to release a great deal of stress by typing it all out. There’s something very gratifying about hitting Publish. Vulnerable, true, but cathartic.
With Heartfelt Thanks
I appreciate you joining me on this journey. Maybe you’ve got a similar path to follow. Good luck to you. Maybe you’re just curious about compulsive hoarding. That’s ok, too. Don’t hesitate to ask me questions, leave your comments, or send me your emails. We’ll see where things stand next year at this time on Not Just Clutter. Who knows what might happen.