I grew up with a grandmother who is a hoarder. She’d come home bringing stuff like scraps of fabric, bottles, plastic jars, etc. and we would all wonder what she’ll do with them. Whenever you enter her room, you’d no longer recognize where her bed or comfort room is because of all the storage boxes and cabinets full of I-don’t-even-bother-asking stuff. We wanted to help by cleaning her room out but she wouldn’t let us do that unless she does so herself. She also has a tendency to keep what seems like trash to others but is a treasure for her. This has been going on and on for years already. After she was diagnosed with mild stroke, she had no more reasons to argue with us about cleaning her cluttered room from top to bottom.
I remembered this when we were watching a show earlier about hoarders and how they were seeking for professional help. I had no idea this was a serious problem. And it hits me. Yes, it actually is. It has something to do with a person’s psychological thinking. Hoarding is much like when a person is depressed, he/she shops. It’s like a coping mechanism. Many hoarders are perfectionists. They fear making the wrong decision about what to keep and what to throw out, so they keep everything. Hoarding often runs in families and can frequently accompany other mental health disorders, like depression, social anxiety, bipolar disorder, and impulse control problems.
“Hoarding can be more about fear of throwing something away than about collection or saving. Thinking about discarding an item triggers anxiety in the hoarder, so she hangs on to the item to prevent angst.” In the show we watched, whenever this particular hoarder sees an item thrown by other people in the streets or elsewhere, she picks it up and brings it to her apartment. She confessed that she feels that item needs “saving”. She has been hoarding stuff for years that her apartment full of clutter isn’t anymore safe from fire and other emergencies.
I hoard stuff too, like books and planners but now, I’m starting to train myself to not give into the temptation of buying things I don’t necessarily need. But whenever I surround myself with the things I hoard, I feel safe and secured. I get what hoarders feel. I’m emotionally attached to my things as well that I find it hard to throw them away. I may not know it but there are times when I find something i hoarded before in my room, I have a hard time remembering how and where I got it. But if it’s already starting to cause some problems for me and the people around me, I’d say it has to stop.