Do you think you might be a hoarder?
I get this question a lot. It’s a scary thought…. “Am I a hoarder?”
The good news - if you are a hoarder - there is help!
Let’s talk about this.
Hoarding issues, as you know, are very difficult. Though often we may think it’s hoarding, it’s actually severe or chronic disorganization. How you proceed will depend on if it’s clinical hoarding or severe disorganization.
The first step I would recommend is to research whether you truly have a hoarding issue, which is a clinical diagnosis and is a form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD.) Check out https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hoarding-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20356056 Mayo Clinic’s information about Hoarding.
If you’re dealing with chronic or severe disorganization:
Such severe connection to items and disorganization can be debilitating, traumatic, and emotionally stressful. While this may not be clinical hoarding, the effect it can have on your life can be severe, and seeking help is a huge step towards healing!
First & foremost, I would absolutely look for a therapist who can help you deal with the emotional attachments you have to things. This is often one of the first steps to creating a change in your situation. I know therapy’s never fun, but without exploring the underlying issues you’ll continue to struggle and it will be a much longer & harder road to peace.
EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, aka Tapping) is a method that can be extremely helpful for these types of issues. I’ve used it myself and highly recommend it. Traditional therapists are also a great resource if that’s something you’re more comfortable with. There are many therapists who work virtually through online sessions as well, and often are still covered by insurance or can be less expensive than in-person help if that’s an issue. Non-profit counseling groups can also be a resource if money is a problem.
As you seek and meet with your counselor I’d recommend taking small steps in your home versus a large organizing project. Repeated small steps, though not as visually impactful, make the most permanent and healthy change. If you’re in a crisis situation where it isn’t safe to be in your home, definitely seek out a professional organizer to work one on one with you until it’s safe. (Visit www.NAPO.net for a listing of professional organizers in your area who are committed to their profession.)
Finding groups like my Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/HomeOrganizing/ ) with others going through the same struggles as you who can be supportive, non-judgmental & a safe place to share is also an excellent way to keep moving forward and growing. ❤️ Just remember - you’ve absolutely got this!!! One small step at a time and you can completely change your life.
If it is truly a hoarding issue:
Usually, the first thing someone who has issues with hoarding should do is to find a therapist familiar with hoarding to work with. Hoarding is a form of OCD (a medical diagnosis & mental disorder) and many times there are also medications that may be helpful depending on the severity of the disorder.
In order to be successful at decluttering you need to be in the right place emotionally before you begin the process. (Otherwise, it can cause emotional damage and make the situation much worse.) When I did work one on one with people to organize their homes I required that the person had been in therapy and that the therapist agrees they are ready to begin working on de-cluttering. (Any organizer trained in hoarding should require this as well.) If the home is unsafe due to hoarding then it is important to bring in help from an experienced professional organizer or hoarding cleanup company ASAP. Don’t use anyone who isn’t experienced with hoarding for this type of situation.
There aren't a lot of psychologists who specialize in hoarding in Central Florida but there are a few listed here: http://hoardingcleanup.com/florida
There are also some great resources, including an online support group, in the links below.
Hopefully, this gets you headed in the right direction.
www.iocdf.org : International OCD Foundation
www.adaa.org: Anxiety Disorders Association of America
www.hoardingcleanup.com: National Hoarding Cleanup Directory
If you have any more questions please ask. Each of these groups has a great support system and can help guide you to find the help you need.
I would love to help in any way I can. You can absolutely beat this!!! It takes time, but you’re doing the best first step simply by reaching out & researching the help available.
I know you’re going to do amazing things, Beautiful - and life will be sooooooo much better on the other side of this!
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