WOW! That's a lot of questions. Here goes:
1. How old are you? 60
2. How long have you been hoarding? I think I always had tendencies, but it became a problem when I went into severe depression 7 years ago after the traumatic death of my husband.
3. What types of things do you hoard? Books, dog training supplies, teaching materials
4. Why is it difficult for you to part from these items? I love to read and learn new information; I used to compete in dog activities; i have taught many subjects and age levels
5. Has hoarding affected your relationship with family and friends? If so, please explain. My family does not visit me. I have to travel out of state to see them.
6. What does your family and friends say about your hoarding? They don't know the extent to which this has become difficult to manage.
7. Are you married? If so, what does this individual think about your hoarding? I am widowed. Both of us had a tendency to hoard things, especially books, but worked together to keep a clean, orderly house for 24 years. We had a great supportive partnership marriage.
8. Does your hoarding affect your ability to go into certain rooms of your home? If yes, please explain. I have closed off his office and have avoided clearing it out. When I have other thing that are difficult to deal with i put them in there and shut the door.
9. Does your hoarding affect your ability to sleep? If so, how? I sleep in the living room on the couch.
10. What do you enjoy doing on your leisure time? Has this been effected by your hoarding? I used to enjoy having a home where people felt free to drop by and visit. I can't do that anymore.
11. Do you cook? Has this aspect of your life been effected by your hoarding? I do like to cook, but it is much more difficult to cook for only myself. There was a time last fall when I could not cook or eat in th kitchen because of the clutter---dirty dishes, empty containers, etc.
12. Do you have visitors come to your house? If no, is it due to your hoarding? See number 10
13. Is your hoarding contained within your home or do you have storage units outside your home that your store items in? I have a storage unit for Christmas and seasonal items. I have no attic or basement in this home. The unit is only 1/3 full.
14. What do you do for a living? Are there any aspects of your job that are affected by your hoarding? I retired from teaching in December. Teachers spend, on average $1000 a year on supplies for classrooms that school budgets do not cover. I purchased craft items, games, bulletin board materials, books, etc. Since I taught K-12 and different types of classrooms, I have a huge variety of materials. Most are organized in tubs by subject and age level.
15. Do you care for any individuals? Has your hoarding affected your ability to take care of them? I live alone with 2 dogs and 1 cat.
16. Have you ever had complaints from neighbors because of your hoarding? How has this made you feel? No. My yard is neatly maintained.
17. Have you ever been treated for hoarding? If so, what was the turning point and what did you take from the experience? I was treated for the depression and am receiving periodic followup care. I have had to educate my counselor on hoarding. Since she has worked with me, she is more aware of the behavior in some of her other clients and is more conscious of what questions to ask in order to discuss the issue. Many clients avoid bringing up the issue and keep it separate from their mood and relationship issues.
18. Are you a part of any support groups? If so, how long and have they been helpful? I am presently working with the mental health association in my county to try to start a support group.
19. What do you find is the most difficult part of your day as a result of your hoarding? Losing things.
20. Are there things you are unable to do as a result of hoarding? If yes, how does this make you feel? See number 10. I feel lonely, isolated, and sad.
21. Are there any parts of your home you are unable to use due to your hoarding? If yes, please explain. See number 8.
22. What types of things would you want others to know about hoarding? We are not uneducated, stupid, lazy, uncaring people. The tendency to hoard is a continuum and all people fall somewhere on that continuum. Life events can push us into the extremes. Shame and guilt and blame does not help. But with the right resources and support we can turn this around. We can regain control of our lives.