I have been asked to talk to a women's group later this month and address the question...."Are You a Hoarder?"
Funny that this has happened right now in my life and business. You see, I am actually dealing with a hoarder situation, with a family member. I'm experiencing first-hand not just the "mess" that is left behind of the hoarding but also how it affects the family in general.
According to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), Hoarding is the persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. The behavior usualy has deleterious effects--emotional, physical, emotional, physical, social, financial and even legal--for a hoarder and family members.
So here is the question of the day:
"What is the difference between a person who is a "collector" and a person who is a "hoarder"?
According to the International Association of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)...
- In hoarding, people seldom seek to display their possessions, which are usually kept in disarray
- In collecting, people usually proudly display their collections and keep them well organized.
Who struggles with hoarding behavior? *Hoarding behaviors can begin as early as the teenage years, although the average age of a person seeking treatment for hoarding is about 50. Hoarders often endure a lifelong struggle with hoarding. They tend to live alone and may have a family member with the problem. It seems likely that serious hoarding problems are present in at least 1in 50 people, but they may be present in as many as 1 in 20.
This is a pretty scary fact. As a matter of fact, it wasn't until this family member's situation elevated to the current level that stories started surfacing about family members from previous generations who suffered from the same hoarding tendencies.
I've worked with a variety of hoarders in the last 8 years and am sure that each of them have their reasons for what they hoard (and how they hoard it). I know that they love to share their stories and enjoy talking about their lives. They have lots of memories - but are usually pretty embarrassed about inviting me into their home.
One of the main reasons that I wanted to write and share a little about my experience working with hoarders is that I feel that everyone deserves to have someone to talk to - someone to lean on - and most importantly, someone who does not judge them for their decisions.
To wrap this up let me ease your mind by saying....
It is ok to be a "collector" as long as it does not interfere with the function of your daily life and that it doesn't define you as a person. Let what you do, how you act (and react) and how you treat others be your defining identify in your life. Possessions do not define who you are.
*According to the ADAA
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