Lynn called me last night to tell me to watch a documentary on ABC. The documentary was My Extreme Affliction and it featured the children of hoarders, most notably Jessie Sholl. Jessie was one of the few children interviewed who stays in touch with her Mom, but has given up with trying to “fix” her. She seems to enjoy at least some sort of positive relationship, and has found some peace with it.
Jessie has written a book about her experiences with her mother. The book is called Dirty Secret, and is a compelling read. I’ve only just started it, and there are full passages where I could probably apply to my own mother’s situation verbatim. She so precisely describes her Mothers house that I can see it vividly in my head. Some of the descriptions gave me chills because I know it’s the same at MY Mom’s house. It’s almost like reading a textbook description, so the illness does seem to have strong similarities from person to person. It’s both comforting and frightening to know other people are in the exact same situation.
I saw Jessie tweet about the show being on-air and I replied that I watched it. Then she answered me! That was a bit of thrill! Like a celebrity sighting!
After we both watched the documentary, Lynn and I chatted on the phone some more. It seems most of the children of hoarders they interviewed decided it was for the best to just break all ties with their parent. Treatment success rate for compulsive hoarding is terribly low. It seems there’s going to be a burden of guilt no matter what. So I’m back to the same decision…let things continue as they are, or consider more drastic measures.