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Topic : 10/17 Hoarding Nightmare: The Aftermath

Number of Replies: 67
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Created on : Friday, October 10, 2008, 02:56:01 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
Hoarding is a highly emotional issue that may seem horrifying to some, but for others, it’s a complicated and difficult struggle. When Nancy first appeared on the show, her home was so cluttered that her kids couldn’t get into their bedrooms, there were multiple refrigerators jammed with spoiled food, and she even had a second house that was uninhabitable because it was so chock full of junk. After canceling on 1-800-GOT-JUNK three times, Nancy finally allowed the cleaning crew to remove some of the mess. Find out why the experience was so traumatic for her. Then, Dr. Frank Lawlis, chairman of the Dr. Phil Advisory Board, and Dr. Steven Kanter, an expert on hoarding-related issues, have been working closely with Nancy. Has she made progress in overcoming her fears? Plus, Nancy says her boyfriend, Bob, has been drinking heavily and creating havoc in the household. You won't believe what Nancy and her friend, Randi, captured on video. And, don’t miss Dr. Phil’s surprise for Nancy!

Find out what happened on the show.

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October 17, 2008, 10:24 pm CDT

A view from the other side.....

Quote From: imimpossible2

I am so grateful that my family didn't throw me out when I was down and out and didn't know what to do.  I didn't even know what an alcoholic was when I became one.  I didn't realize that alcohol was making my problems worse.  My skid row was in my living room.  I was a young mother and was able to function and hold down a job.  I was a periodic "drunk".  

 

One day, I heard on the news, that Betty Ford  was sharing about her addiction and her recovery.  I could identify with her.  I figured that if the President's wife could be an addict/alcoholic, and tell the whole world, I could tell someone about me too.  I didn't hear how to get the help though.   A couple of years later, I somehow called AA and one night a couple showed up to my door and took me to my first AA meeting.  I didn't get the connection to the alcohol and the problems at first and how to "work the steps".  The building I was taken to had steps going up to a loft and I couldn't figure out how walking up those steps would keep me from drinking. 

 

Only those that know that pain and bondage can identify with the suffering.  The rest of you are blaming and shaming and making the problem worse.  I'm sure that when those that shared their pain with us on TV, see the comments that are being made, that they will really feel good about themselves.  Or will they feel that they were thrown into a pit to have the world judge them then throw stones at them. 

 

The best thing that I read on this topic so far was some compassion for the family, no matter what there relations and suggesting that Alanon and Alateen be suggested and tried.  That man is in pain and is a very sick human being ... for those of you that believe ... he is our brother.  It is unfortunate that so many of us have the gene of Cain and want to destroy our brothers (and sisters) - just throw them away and the problem will go away.

 

Pay the love and compassion forward ... YOU MAY NEED IT SOMEDAY!

You know, I get what you are saying and you make some good points.....but, here's a view from the other side: Living with an alcoholic, one who does not make any attempt to get help to heal themselves; being forced to move with your children out of house after house because the rent isn't paid; having to endure the humiliation of having utilities shut off time after time because the money was spent in bars; having vehicles wrecked while the alcoholic was driving drunk; knowing your alcoholic husband was cheating on you with scumbag women while you tried to keep your kids fed and clothed yourself by working two and three jobs; being exhausted ALL the time, physically and emotionally  because your very soul is being sucked out of you by this person who, by the way, was in and out of rehab several times....is a total living hell!!...just how long is anyone supposed to put up with that mess??

Why should the sober person and other family members give up their lives and happiness and the safety and welfare of their children just so the drunk can continue their selfish behavior?

 

Sorry, but I believe in consequences for your behavior. You cannot make a person get help; it's up to them to want it and take the necessary steps, and I feel no obligation to put my life on hold for anyone! My love and compassion had to go to the innocent victims....my children...first.

 

I got out and have never looked back! And my children have thanked me for that.

 

 
October 18, 2008, 4:13 am CDT

Newspapers, Magazines, Garage Sales, Oh my!

I have a question for all of you hoarders who say you are overwhelmed with newspapers and magazines -- why do you keep subscribing to them? You are paying money to someone to make your problems worse.

I haven't taken any of these things for years. If you have a computer you can read them online or you can simply watch the news on television. My mail person commented the other day that I have less mail than anyone on her route. That's because I have found the online sites to request "no junk mail" and that eliminates most of it. Each day, when I get my mail, I stop by the trash bin and throw out all the supermarket flyers and other trash. That stuff doesn't make it inside my house. Coupons? Have you noticed that most coupons are for silly overpriced things we don't need? Air fresheners and prepared foods? My bills are paid automatically at the bank so I really don't even need to pay attention to the bills if I don't want to.

Impossible2: You say you solved your alcohol problem by quitting drinking and your smoking problem by quitting cigarettes --- well QUIT SHOPPING! See how long you can go with the food in your freezer and pantry. I'll bet you can eat for months. It's not good to save food forever, even canned goods have "use by" dates. Every January I use up every speck of food in my pantry and freezer. That way I know I'm not hoarding bad food and I start the year fresh.

Don't even think about going to garage sales. Why would you want to pay money for someone else's trash? If they don't want it why would you? Have your own garage sale and get yourself some cash and a little breathing space.

Forget about "bargains." That word sets off some kind of reaction in a hoarders brain like a casino sign in a gambler's brain. Nothing is a bargain if you don't need it and hoarders generally don't need anything. If you find a cashmere sweater for two dollars and you don't need a sweater you have thrown two dollars away.

We are coming in to hard times. People are going to need cash. Cash for gas, food, mortgage payments, and taxes. You can't pay your taxes with bargain clothing, knick knacks and old newspapers.

Overwhelmed? It's really very simple: If you quit bringing in new stuff and you take out one large garbage bag of junk every day, you will become uncluttered.

If you have a big problem then rent a skip and fill it some weekend. It can be done. If you want to say "I might need this someday," remind yourself that you've had it quite a while and haven't needed it and if you should desperately need it someday, you can always go to Wal-mart and buy a new one for less money than it would have cost to store it all this time.

A clean, simple, spacious home is so much more pleasant and healthy than one filled with "stuff." You know who's really enjoying all those boxes and bags of "stuff?" The mice and roaches that are living in them.
 
October 18, 2008, 7:22 am CDT

Insanity: A danger to self and others... grounds for committal.

I guess there are legal parameters that the more educated know to avoid getting care. I missed second show yet obvious on first show that living situation a danger to self and others. I think would have been best for woman to receive in-house treatment while ENTIRE place organized while either admitting herself or being committed. I'd go to Dr. Lawlis' Plasticity Center in a New York minute if given the opportunity. That oxygen therapy of his really fascinates me since shallow breathing has been linked to anxiety, panic, depression. Then, I think it was Dr. Lawlis that said even oxygenating the brain can help OCD. What a fascinating learning experience that'd be to get to go there.

Believe me, quite a few that get a free vacation to a psychiatric facility will do WHATEVER it takes to not revisit. That is sort of how we make choices... I think I'll opt for Plan A so I don't have to settle for Plan B. I don't mean as a form of punishment and I mean for crisis treatment. I mean since her hoarding was/is a danger to herself and others: INSANE! I am tired of those with the biggest problem creating havoc in everyone else's lives getting care on their terms which, to me, is like self medicating. Usually, just the casualties of their out of control behavior end up getting help. Just think how many abusers receive no care while their casualties get psychiatric records mending the damage. Is that fair. NO!!!

Yes, neighbors can do something... family members can do something besides being in denial or forced compliance. Kitchin bitchin won't do anything. Action will.

Folks, too, the excessive buying and not throwing away this hoarding woman did many do and do throw away. Everyone on their high horses being wasteful sweeping under the carpet into the landfill have just as big of a problem.

I was asked to do a DVD of this show and my opinion of it. That gets expensive to mail in DVD's to the Dr. Phil Show and never hear back. Depressing, too. Never heard back for an Extreme Makeover on the new series THE DOCTORS of Dr. Phil's son, Jay, yet hope to still.

We need 100% accountability of EVERYONE living responsibly recycling and donating items not going to use BEFORE ruin or not ruining by trashing items that could be recycled and donated. That doesn't mean hoarding that means "Getting Real" Going Green: Conserving not over buying.

It is like the USA has OCD GNP... buy, buy, buy, buy, buy... A man made a good point on a 20/20 last night that had we worried the ice man would be put out of business we'd not have refrigerators. Well, the USA is like one big shopping mall and there IS more to life yet there won't be if we keep consuming and producing in excess from products to people just since we can. How? "Getting Real" Going Green:

IMPROVE THE EARTH'S FATE:
CONSERVE, RECYCLE & DONATE

Many people will pay to go see the relics of King Tut while carelessly tossing out vintage, antiques, historical and even new items just to replace with something else to suit a passing mood or fancy. Realtors and Landlords that will fine persons, i.e., $1,000, if don't have everything out of homes of deceased loved ones or simply when moving... These realtors and landlords need to recycle and donate items. There needs to be 100% accountability of us all.

OVER 50% OF WHAT PEOPLE TOSS COULD BE RECYCLED OR DONATED. SO A GOOD "FAMILY FIRST" PROJECT IS:

IMPROVE THE EARTH'S FATE:
CONSERVE, RECYCLE & DONATE

To me looked a lot like an above ground landfill. Definitely, one-third plus being in credit card debt means that America has OCD buying TOO MUCH. Tons of usable and recylable items end up in landfill in Dallas during City pickup... Even diamond jewelry missing one diamond, historical items, vintage, antique and even new. Expensive Tennis shoes I have on right now I found set out by curb for trash pick up of large quantity of items.

Especially, after Christmas I see unwanted presents or usable items tossed out replaced with newer at Christmas. I see the most when persons are: moving or lose a loved one and will be fined $1,000 if all items not out of home by closing date. I've even had people offer me $50 to take everything they have left and keep free just to have home empty by date to be out of home. I don't think everyone purposely trashes usable and/or recyclable items and, instead, either don't have time if have a deadline to be out of a home or don't know how.

THE RICHEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD ISN'T OPRAH, as I thought and perhaps others may have too. THE RICHEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD LIVES IN CHINA AND FILLS EMPTIED IMPORT SHIPS FROM CHINA WITH TRASH FROM USA. No surprise, that China has a blossoming market in book publishing market. Over 50% of what people throw away could be recycled.

Another idea of mine, along with GETTING REAL GOING GREEN THRIFT STORES to benefit the Dr. Phil Foundation, is a Mrs. Beasley's Key Lime Vanilla Cream Cupcake called GETTING REAL GOING GREEN with a portion to go to the Dr. Phil Foundation.

On my DVD I preempted this show because it isn't a much better solution to sweep under the carpet and into the landfills usable and recyclable items. Although, on this hoarding show I didn't see much usable or recyclable and maybe more hazardous waste. I still hope Dr. Phil will begin "Getting Real Going Green' state-of-the-art thrift stores to benefit the Dr. Phil Foundation. One to maybe have both online and offline sales and a website.

Then, like learning multiplication tables via reciting and repetition, at the end of each and EVERY Dr. Phil show enlist viewers to:

IMPROVE THE EARTH'S FATE:
CONSERVE, RECYCLE & DONATE

Recycle Momma of Dallas, M.D. *
(Managing Depression (with a smile))
Motto:
IMPROVE THE EARTH'S FATE:
CONSERVE, RECYCLE & DONATE
You, Me, WE recycling

 
October 18, 2008, 7:33 am CDT

1-800-GOT-JUNK (Getting Real Going Green)

http://www.1800gotjunk.com/us_en/what_we_do/watch_what_we_do.aspx

Kudos to 1-800-GOT-JUNK since they recycle and donate. That's a relief...

I still hope Dr. Phil will begin "Getting Real Going Green" state-of-the-art thrift stores to benefit the Dr. Phil Foundation. One to maybe have both online and offline sales and a website. Then, at the end of each show enlist viewers to:

IMPROVE THE EARTH'S FATE:
CONSERVE, RECYCLE & DONATE

Recycle Momma of Dallas, M.D. *
(Managing Depression (with a smile))
Motto:
IMPROVE THE EARTH'S FATE:
CONSERVE, RECYCLE & DONATE
You, Me, WE recycling


 
October 18, 2008, 8:42 am CDT

Not like that

I think I may be the opposite of this. I don't hoard things at all as a matter of fact I am VERY quick to throw things away. I have at times even thrown out something just to discover that it was something I really needed. I can't stand clutter at all so the only nick knacks I own are very old and from my grandmother who passed away 20 years ago. Other than that I own no nick knacks and even have no decorations on my walls. Yes, it drives my family crazy but they've learned to get along by keeping what they want in their rooms and kept away from me or out of site. My mom now lives with me due to her health and let me tell you she is just about as bad as a hoarder. Every wall of her room is covered with some sort of craft. She paints wooden nick knacks etc. and has them from ceiling to almost floor. It drove me crazy at first but now I just stay away from her room and don't go in there ever. I also have my 20 year old niece living with me while she's in college and the other day she was in the living room with a snack tray for her books studying and she got up and left. I noticed a paper clip and a lid from the eraser of a mechanical pencil and I threw them both away. One minute later she came back looking for the cap and paper clip and asked me if I knew where they were. I said no...... and I meant that. I didn't even realize that I had thrown them away and then all of a sudden it dawned on me what I had done. We both got a good laugh out of it and she got het items out of the trash. It's kind of pathetic but I don't see me ever changing. I'm almost 40 and I have been this was since I was about 15. I have 3 children and one of the three seem to take after me, however she's not as bad as I am. I know it's strange but i would rather be like this than have a house full of stuff i don't need.

 
October 18, 2008, 9:47 am CDT

I got out too! It was SO worth it!

Quote From: cndrlla

You know, I get what you are saying and you make some good points.....but, here's a view from the other side: Living with an alcoholic, one who does not make any attempt to get help to heal themselves; being forced to move with your children out of house after house because the rent isn't paid; having to endure the humiliation of having utilities shut off time after time because the money was spent in bars; having vehicles wrecked while the alcoholic was driving drunk; knowing your alcoholic husband was cheating on you with scumbag women while you tried to keep your kids fed and clothed yourself by working two and three jobs; being exhausted ALL the time, physically and emotionally  because your very soul is being sucked out of you by this person who, by the way, was in and out of rehab several times....is a total living hell!!...just how long is anyone supposed to put up with that mess??

Why should the sober person and other family members give up their lives and happiness and the safety and welfare of their children just so the drunk can continue their selfish behavior?

 

Sorry, but I believe in consequences for your behavior. You cannot make a person get help; it's up to them to want it and take the necessary steps, and I feel no obligation to put my life on hold for anyone! My love and compassion had to go to the innocent victims....my children...first.

 

I got out and have never looked back! And my children have thanked me for that.

 

And I thank G*d every day that I did!  It wasn't until I saw his accumulation of stuff that I started having REAL perspective on my own!  I mean, why would anyone save ONE shoe from a lost pair??? I had stuff, sure, and made efforts to make it organized chaos(squalor). The fifteen boxes of fabric were all marked and packed by type or color.  But, as soon as my ex moved in with his crap... and his drinking, my life took a turn for the worse and the "organization" of my stuff got lost in his clutter.  I got sicker while he stayed sick.  It wasn't until I made the revolutionary decision to get him out of my home that I slowly began to get better.  By that time, I had faced a threat of eviction and months of non-action on his part to do ANYTHING about housing his family and finding other lodgings, either for us or himself alone.  I was so terrified with stress I ended up in the ER with chest pain, thinking I was having a heart attack!  IT was pure stress.  Meanwhile, he was just ignoring everything, refusing to EVER talk about how to make the change.

 

Then the sickness set in, bronchitis... a trip to court, a reprieve by the housing authority and then the bronchitis turned to pneumonia.  This all in less than a month's time.  Thankfully, I took action on the ex and got him out by getting a restraining order and having the locks changed.  It didn't help my ability to clean up the squalor though.  I still struggled for months with that.  The ex was given one day by the court to come and retrieve his "stuff".  He came with help and a 30' truck and only filled it 1/3 full, not even taking 1/2 of the junk he'd stored in my basement.  He left with the statement, "This is too hard for me".

 

Well, I took care of that... sort-of, when we were forced to move from there after a year!  I left 6 truck loads they took to the dump!  My sleep was disturbed for several weeks after: would lie awake trying to get to sleep and worrying about what I might have left behind in the old place.  Working through that anxiety was powerful!  What was my fear?  Something important had been lost to me forever?  Well, exactly WHAT was SO important!  I was still thriving, my kids were thriving and we survived without it!  WHY did we actually NEED whatever it was, then?  I think what I had really lost was the space in which SO much of my life was lived and painful things had happened.  Today is my oldest daughter's 21st b-day.  She was taken from me and given up for adoption when she was ten.  I haven't seen her for 11 yrs.  I don't know why I thought I needed to stay in the place which connected me with the sad memory of losing her and custody of two other children, now 17 and 15.  Leaving the place was traumatic, but I did manage to work through it and came out better for the understanding.

 

I know that hoarding is a symptom of a deeper issue for most who are afflicted with it.  Dr Phil touched only surface of this fact on his show.  I also know that those who are not afflicted with this will probably NEVER understand what is going on for us.  It seems "easy" to them, just get rid of the junk!  Or just don't accumulate more.  The fact is there is a deeper problem to work through emotionally, mentally for which the hoarding behavior is just an outward sign of.  I can't say recovery is EASY, but is definitely worth it when you can!  Sometimes recovery involves really FEELING the feelings we're trying to stuff by accumulation of junk.  Letting go of the item can mean letting go of the feelings too, and it is freeing when you can. 

 

All that stuff I literally walked away from less than a month ago, well, I still think about lots of things.  Tell my friend, "I used to have....... "  The hardest loss for me was the stuff that had been stored by my ex over a year ago and to which I had a court order for access to, and could not get back.  After finding the strength to move forward and leave the apt and all that stuff, move across country, I get a phone call about that storage stuff.  The ex had placed a bid on it's sale way back in Aug, but the sale didn't go through at that time.  It was finally sold by the storage on Oct 8.  Well, the bid the ex placed was the highest, but by the time this happened, he was in jail and there was definitely NO money to meet that bid.  Let alone, just after getting to my new home across  country was I going to go back to retrieve that stuff from the storage.  So, I had to let go.... LET GO of EVERYTHING!!!! There is hurt about this loss, because this was the creative stuff:  My crafting supplies, fabric, unfinished knitting projects, LOTS of yarn I bought to make new projects and worst, scrapbook stuff: pics of all my kids, the kids I lost custody of and their mementos which I had intended to someday make into scrapbooks for them.  It is ALL gone now.

 

Hey, you hoarders and accumulators who are reading this and cringing..... I"M OK and living HAPPILY here!  I felt SO  much relief when I finally got out of that old town and that crappy apt.  I really do feel MUCH more free!  And these past few weeks in our new space, among old friends who have a house load of accumulation, we haven't missed much!  Sleeping on a full air mattress for a week made me miss my king size bed, which is stored for later use.  I missed my morning coffee, so my friend bought me a new espresso maker yesterday.  It works MUCH better than my old one could!  But, I have my children... four younger ones, with me and my sweet daughter just came and gave me big hug and a kiss.  NOTHING, no amount of stuff can replace that!

 

I've been told many times to let it go back out to the universe... whatever I was hanging on to.  Let it go and make room to be blessed in the future!  I see this happening for us on a daily basis now.  So, whatever your motivations and your "payoff" as the doc would say, get control of it!  Understand that you are NOT trapped in the mess.  It requires you to take action, which I completely understand is hard to do!  But, believe me, when you do take control over things, you will feel SO much better than you do now!

 

Please dear posters, go easy on us hoarders.  We have issues, sure... doesn't everyone?  Being critical of this dear lady who let Dr Phil into her private hell doesn't help.  What we really need is the support and love of a good friend.  Thank goodness Nancy has Randi to stand by her.  I have had some very good friends who stood by me through these years too.  Nancy will continue the recovery process on her own, and in her own time.  NO one can dictate her time line.  Meanwhile, it is apparent from seeing her kids and hearing their words that they are good children with a good mom. 

 

I was watching this episode of SuperNanny the other night.  The parents had a beautiful house, complete with swimming pool.  Lots of lovely things in it and it was pretty clean.  On another show there was mom who clean and cleaned constantly.  Both these parents were guilty of actual NEGLECT of their children.  They were so busy engaged in other activities: one set working all the time to pay for their "mansion" and leaving their kids with an ineffectual "nanny" and the other stay at home who never even WATCHED her kids because she's busy scrubbing out the bathroom constantly.  No one thinks that parents like this are putting their kids at risk or suggests that the kids should be taken away.  These kids were doing all sorts of crazy, hurtful and dangerous things while their parents and caregivers were NEGLECTING them! 

 

Hoarders LOVE their kids, they just haven't quite figured out the formula for loving their environment.  I would rather sit and read or play with my kids then do housework any day!  Many times, I neglected the house by staying out with my kids doing fun stuff instead.  I agree, a healthily life consists of balancing the work and play.  And we all need to lead better examples for our kids.  But, just assuming that a bad housekeeper is a bad mom is rather biased.  Nancy clearly loves her kids, and they love her.  Even in  the most abusive homes, kids are still bonded to their parents and removing them is traumatic for the kids.  So, making blanket statements about called CPS on someone like this is NOT compassionate or really caring for the welfare of the kids.

 

I have been involved with CPS over the years because of folks like you.  Someone once called them because we were  plagued with bed bugs, which is NOT necessarily a result of bad housekeeping.  Bedbugs have been found in the cleanest of hotels too!  We threw away most of our furniture and sprayed everything for months to rid ourselves of them.  The landlord refused to help in any way, even after the social worker asked them specifically to give us new carpeting.  Our carpeting was over 15 yrs old. 

 

My point, however is this.  What folks like us need is NOT critical statements, or blanket "encouragement" like "JUST DO IT!".  And IF you are really compassionate and care about the welfare of the kids, offer to help... physically get your hands dirty to help!  Or maybe take the kids out for a while so mom can get a break from the kids and do something for the house.  Or arrange a "GI" party... a clearing and cleaning bash with LOTS of friendly supportive people who will care for the hoarder and support them to clean house.  Calling authorities is just another way to cause folks to get further into their symptoms. The involvement of CPS is a VERY stressful and difficult, an entirely PUNITIVE measure.  It creates MUCH more stress on someone suffering than is helpful.  It is also stressful and traumatic for the kids involved facing the threat of losing their only home and family. 

 

When a person has been through tremendous losses in their life, which clearly Nancy has, they are compensating for that by hanging on to insignificant(to us) things as a sort of "security blanket".  Everything in her environment began to spin out of control, so the one way for her to take some of this back was by keeping the stuff around her.  Learning that we can be "safe" and feel OK even without that junk is a hard process to make.  Nancy needs all the credit and encouragement she deserves for taking those first BIG steps toward her recovery, including being rewarded with a day of pampering and loving herself.  Granted, she's still got a long way to go.  And there is NO argument here that she would probably do MUCH better without the alcoholic "insignificant" other.  Her own talk about that on the show was evidence that she's realizing this herself.  Dr Phil never did answer friend Randi's question about exactly HOW to get rid of him.  I faced the same difficulty myself.

 

For months we had this cycle of abuse where he would drink and get drunk and I would make him leave the house.  Then, hours or days later he would just walk right in and make himself at home without ANY discussion.  A couple of nights, when he came back and just bedded down on my sofa, I wondered about calling the cops.  This was months after he had been removed from the lease by the housing authority was NO longer technically a resident there.  But, cops refused to help me at the last, before I got the divorce filed and a restraining order because "Well, ma'am, you are married."  So, I can understand feeling powerless over the alcoholic.  Nancy, stand up and take the action necessary to rid your life of ALL unnecessary clutter, including your DRUNK!  It might require you take some legal action, but it will be SO worth it to get him out of your environment and your kids will probably thank you.

 

I think our recovery becomes real when we crave the freedom of an uncluttered life and space and realize that we will go through anything to make our lives clean!  Yes, it's fear of the unknown, fear of the pain coming back and experiencing more loss that holds us back.  Yet, staying where you are is really MORE painful than getting out of the pit!  Trust me.

 

May God continue to help you in your growth and bless you and your kids.

 

All who are learning more about our perspective, be open minded.  If you have a friend or family member suffering, seek to be supportive and compassionate.  NOT critical or highly expecting immediate change.  Change is hard: Love is required!

 

Much love,

R

 
October 18, 2008, 1:56 pm CDT

If only it were that simple....

Quote From: fluffyfat

I have a question for all of you hoarders who say you are overwhelmed with newspapers and magazines -- why do you keep subscribing to them? You are paying money to someone to make your problems worse.

I haven't taken any of these things for years. If you have a computer you can read them online or you can simply watch the news on television. My mail person commented the other day that I have less mail than anyone on her route. That's because I have found the online sites to request "no junk mail" and that eliminates most of it. Each day, when I get my mail, I stop by the trash bin and throw out all the supermarket flyers and other trash. That stuff doesn't make it inside my house. Coupons? Have you noticed that most coupons are for silly overpriced things we don't need? Air fresheners and prepared foods? My bills are paid automatically at the bank so I really don't even need to pay attention to the bills if I don't want to.

Impossible2: You say you solved your alcohol problem by quitting drinking and your smoking problem by quitting cigarettes --- well QUIT SHOPPING! See how long you can go with the food in your freezer and pantry. I'll bet you can eat for months. It's not good to save food forever, even canned goods have "use by" dates. Every January I use up every speck of food in my pantry and freezer. That way I know I'm not hoarding bad food and I start the year fresh.

Don't even think about going to garage sales. Why would you want to pay money for someone else's trash? If they don't want it why would you? Have your own garage sale and get yourself some cash and a little breathing space.

Forget about "bargains." That word sets off some kind of reaction in a hoarders brain like a casino sign in a gambler's brain. Nothing is a bargain if you don't need it and hoarders generally don't need anything. If you find a cashmere sweater for two dollars and you don't need a sweater you have thrown two dollars away.

We are coming in to hard times. People are going to need cash. Cash for gas, food, mortgage payments, and taxes. You can't pay your taxes with bargain clothing, knick knacks and old newspapers.

Overwhelmed? It's really very simple: If you quit bringing in new stuff and you take out one large garbage bag of junk every day, you will become uncluttered.

If you have a big problem then rent a skip and fill it some weekend. It can be done. If you want to say "I might need this someday," remind yourself that you've had it quite a while and haven't needed it and if you should desperately need it someday, you can always go to Wal-mart and buy a new one for less money than it would have cost to store it all this time.

A clean, simple, spacious home is so much more pleasant and healthy than one filled with "stuff." You know who's really enjoying all those boxes and bags of "stuff?" The mice and roaches that are living in them.

Lots of good tips, there.....if it were only that simple for the hoarder!!

 

I personally HATE clutter and will not allow it in my home! But, I was married to a hoarder and it was a nightmare trying to convince him that we did not need any of the filthy garbage he would spend all day dumpster-diving to "rescue" so he could "fix and sell it"...yeah..like THAT ever happened!

 

It's an illness; a mental / emotional illness like any other. Telling a hoarder to "just get rid of it" or "don't bring it home" or "take out one bag of trash a day", or "recycle it"  is like telling a person with cancer to "just get over it!"

 

They think they need everything they see; they'll "always find a use for it", etc etc. In their mind all that stuff is useful and throwing it away is a waste. It's not about deprivation, either. Most often they aren't poor, ( although many are older people who have lived through the Depression and were poor then. They were taught not to waste ANYthing and, because of fear, that became ingrained in their thinking.)

 

There are many reasons for hoarding...but, no matter why they do it, it IS a mental illness and they are not capable of curing themselves without help. If you just go in and clear it all out, they will simply work real hard on accumulating more as quickly as possible. Believe me, I tried it with my ex. He'd bring it home, I'd toss it out, ...or not even let it into the house at all...and the fight would be on.  It just didn't work. He  couldn't help himself and I got sick of doing constant battle over it...AND it only got worse as the years passed. Even after we split up, he continued to fill up his own place...and his van..with crap until he died. 

 

This is the reason Dr. Phil didn't just go into Nancy's home and clear it all out all at once; she's allowing it in stages...which is progress....and it will take some time. She has several issues that must be dealt with first.

 

I feel sorry for all those who live with this chaos in their own lives and homes, and I wish them well.  

 
October 18, 2008, 8:23 pm CDT

Thanks Nancy

My Mom has been hoarding for 30 years, since my brother died of cancer, when we were children. She has always refused to admit it is a problem and get help. She's suffered other traumas in her life since, and the problem has gotten prgressively worse each time. Years ago my brother and I stopped visiting her home, we just couldn't take it anymore. She's spilled out of her house, and into her yard. Rodents have become such a problem that the neighbors complained to local authorities. They are poisoning them, and agreed to let me try to get her into therapy and help her clean out the house. If she doesn't demonstrate significant progress, they will evict her from the property, and clean it out for her. The cost will be added to her tax bill, and if she can't pay it, she will lose her home. She is seeing the therapist, but hasn't really admitted that the stuff is the problem. She thinks the county is just picking on her because she's poor. That is why she says she needs all that stuff, because she has to buy it at yard sales and such, because she is poor, and she might need it one day. I'm working hard to try to get it cleaned out, but progress is very slow. She wants to argue to keep everything, and  I have to remind her of the consequences of keeping it all, which stresses her more. Almost every room is pretty much packed floor to ceiling. The filth is overwhelming. The waste is so depressing. I'm losing steam here, Does anyone have any tips on getting her to recognize the stuff is the problem?

I had her watch Fridays show, and she did comment on how much happier Nancy looks now. Thanks Nancy! I think you helped me out a little here. You're in my prayers! Keep up the great work!

 
October 19, 2008, 4:30 am CDT

Change

First: I'm sorry if my earlier post sounded too simplistic. I meant it to be very straight forward because I realise that hoarding is a mental health issue and that hoarders are masters at complicated reasons for why they can't part with anything.

I know it's a complicated problem, but that's why I think it's helpful to some people to have a few simple rules as a starting point.

I've been there with my father. I've stood with him next to the trash pile and argued over whether or not he needed to keep old torn envelopes and carboard juice cans. I've been with him when the moving van arrived to take his things to his new 1000 sq ft house and he hadn't parted with a thing from his 3000 sq ft house.

I've sympathised with his constant stomach aches, although I knew he was eating out dated contaminated food prepared in a filthy kitchen.

He would not let me clean for him and became furious if I even did the dishes. If I waited until he was asleep his dog would snarl at me if I touched anything.

Yet his problem wasn't a quarter as bad as some of you describe. He didn't have things stacked to the ceiling and no rats or indoor dog mess.

With old people like my 87 year-old dad, I think we just have to let them live out their lives and deal with it all afterwards but with people like Nancy, I do think some tough love is in order.

Nancy has had more help, psychological and physical than most people ever get and still she's blaming everyone but herself. Her children don't have a bed to sleep in or a clean place to eat a bowl of cereal. Kids in third world countries live better.

Nancy publicly ridicules her husband and puts her son in the middle of adult problems. I would have much more sympathy for her if she had any sympathy for others. Keeping cooking wine around when you have an alcoholic husband is sabotage. Filling the new condo he bought you with trash is pretty ungrateful, too. Everyone is saying she should kick him to the curb but I think his sitting in a chair drinking is less abusive than her creating a swamp for the family to have to live in.

Dr. Phil tells people to step up to the plate and demand more of themselves and I think it's time for Nancy to do that. No I don't think she's a bad person, but I do think she's capable of change and that she won't make the effort unless someone calls her on her denial of responsibility for that mess.

 
October 19, 2008, 8:03 am CDT

just keep at it.

Quote From: lauralouinmd

My Mom has been hoarding for 30 years, since my brother died of cancer, when we were children. She has always refused to admit it is a problem and get help. She's suffered other traumas in her life since, and the problem has gotten prgressively worse each time. Years ago my brother and I stopped visiting her home, we just couldn't take it anymore. She's spilled out of her house, and into her yard. Rodents have become such a problem that the neighbors complained to local authorities. They are poisoning them, and agreed to let me try to get her into therapy and help her clean out the house. If she doesn't demonstrate significant progress, they will evict her from the property, and clean it out for her. The cost will be added to her tax bill, and if she can't pay it, she will lose her home. She is seeing the therapist, but hasn't really admitted that the stuff is the problem. She thinks the county is just picking on her because she's poor. That is why she says she needs all that stuff, because she has to buy it at yard sales and such, because she is poor, and she might need it one day. I'm working hard to try to get it cleaned out, but progress is very slow. She wants to argue to keep everything, and  I have to remind her of the consequences of keeping it all, which stresses her more. Almost every room is pretty much packed floor to ceiling. The filth is overwhelming. The waste is so depressing. I'm losing steam here, Does anyone have any tips on getting her to recognize the stuff is the problem?

I had her watch Fridays show, and she did comment on how much happier Nancy looks now. Thanks Nancy! I think you helped me out a little here. You're in my prayers! Keep up the great work!

I think what you're doing is great. Just keep in mind that each and every bag of garbage you remove is an improvement. You're mom is so lucky to have you and your help. I understand it's hard to see any improvements when everything is floor to ceiling but where would your mom go if she got kicked out? Her getting kicked out would be the worst possible thing that could happen. It's clear that you love your mom very much so just don't give up on her or the mess. Take a deep breath and take joy in every bag you get out of there. Maybe tell her how much you will enjoy coming to do nothing but visit when it's all done and the hard work is over. Just don't give up it will be worth it in the end.
 
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