I've posted a few times on specific topics here - just found this board this month. I've been through a Move From Hell since the end of April. The bright side - the ensuing emotional meltdown served as my wake up call. I'm now determined to conquer this hoarding. But I know it's going to be a long, tedious, painful journey. Hoping to make some buddies here and share my ups and downs, and help others with theirs.
Basics - I'm female, early 50s, have ADD, OCD, PTSD, agoraphobia, and depression, and am on Social Security Disability because the combo of all those lovely conditions brought me to the point of being unable to find any job I could tolerate - or that could tolerate me for that matter. On the plus side, I'm creative, artistic, intelligent, compassionate, and able to think outside the box, for starters. I have faith in God that though I've allowed this hoarding and clinging to possessions to get on top of me, He knows my heart and willingness to change and will be my strength along the way.
I am an only child, never married, have no human children. I have 2 indoor rabbits and a tree frog for "kids." :) My parents are deceased and though I love my extended family, geographically and otherwise there's only limited connection there.
When I was a kid, I had social skill difficulties with peers and it was pretty inevitable that I'd turn to possessions for my warm fuzzies. Navigating the teen and young adult years as sheltered and naive as I'd been was no easy proposition either. And once I started earning my own money - guess what - I came to be a compulsive shopper. Later, I made the fatal acquaintance of credit cards and kept on going with money that wasn't mine. Even after a bankruptcy it has been difficult to rein in those acquisition tendencies.
Right now I'm staying with a friend. My small amount of money I'd begun to painstakingly build was eaten by automotive repairs (which I procrastinated on while merrily buying things I didn't need...) and by moving expenses. If not for the generosity of this friend, I'd be homeless. I have a jam-packed storage unit and my van is full.
My goal is to pare down the storage unit - I am okay with paying the rent on it to store the true valuables (family pictures, household stuff for when I am able to get my own place again, etc.) but the excess and the junky must go, and I must be able to walk in and out of it, take and put back what I will with ease. For example: the craft supplies that I deem worthy of keeping (I've already culled others and will continue that process) I would like to be able to use up. Say, go get the yarn and really make that afghan to donate to church. I want to learn to follow through with what I decide to do, which with the ADD has always been a struggle.
One thing that gives me hope - I'm a science geek too - is the idea of the brain's neuroplasticity. In other words, we CAN reprogram our brains - even if we're "hardwired" for hoarding, we can keep practicing new attitudes and behaviors and we can CHANGE some of that. We might always need to be on guard, aware, have accountability buddies, but we CAN do this.
One last word - I do tend to ramble - is that I'm an absolute fanatic now that HOARDER SHAMING MUST STOP in our society. All it does is compound the problem. We live in a materialistic society, so almost no one can make the claim that they are perfect about not having stuff they don't really need. We are hurting with this, and shaming us never helps, in fact, it tends to make us worse. So if anyone tries it, I'll call 'em out for it! I know no one here will, I'm referring to the rest of the world. I've seen it happen in my own family and in the world. And it's wrong. Okay. Stepping down from soapbox now. Glad to be here.