Hello everybody, I think I'm also struggling with hoarding and OCD. Last year I started watching a lot of those tv series about compulsive cleaners, that helped me to change my perspective and gave me the motivation, I cleaned a lot in my house and get rid of some junk. I also have a pile of things that I borrowed from friends I haven't seen for years. I piled them together, I know exactly where each of them is from, I remember all the memories. Just waiting, one day I will make the effort and return all of them. I also remember what each of those friends have from me. Should I remind them? Speaking about Monk, I think I have great memory, just like him, I can remember really tiny details like clothes I was wearing particular day. I can also remember strange dates like birthday of a friend of a friend.. or some special party I attended or some event in my life (plus, I keep a lot on my social media). I also remember phone numbers of my childhood friends. I want to make some space in my memory for present life and future, for some more useful knowledge, but I am also afraid that I would lose my abilities, just like Monk, my memory gave me great results in school and university life, I am afraid that after curing my hoarding I will lose what I learned. Does it make any sense? On the other hand, this "great memory" makes me use old conversations to argue with friends. I am referring to past events during conversations and that annoys people a lot. I have difficulties to speak spontaneously about present events as I always think people are also referring eg. to our last conversation. That is a huge problem for my social life. Because of that I try to talk more to strangers and new friends that I do not know so well yet and can not use any of our past memories. Please let me know guys do you have situations like that.
Posted: 27 March 2014 - 11:55 AM
Oh I didn't take it that way at all! I thought your reply was very sweet and I want to thank you for taking the time to write out such a thoughtful response :)
I have never seen Monk but now I want to lol
As for finding someone with similar fears, I learned a while ago before I had a name for the problems I have that my friends and family love me but do not understand. We do not have this stuff in common. It's up to me to branch out and find people that understand me so that we may help each other and support each other, sometimes just by knowing that we're not alone. This site has been such a healing place for me for that reason among others.
When I read in one of my books that it is common for OCD/hoarders to keep items that are lended to them I cried. It meant something to me that there was some sort of reason I do the things that I feel so strange and guilty about. It helped me start to correct it.
Posted: 26 March 2014 - 05:00 PM
Jess... I just saw a post of yours on one of the other threads. I want to be sure I'm not sounding like I'm making light of OCD. I didn't know for sure you had it until I saw that post on the other thread. I know it can be very debilitating. I have a lot of my own OCD-ish issues. Really runs on one certain side of my family.
Posted: 26 March 2014 - 03:33 AM
Jess, although I don't have specific fears about giving things back, I relate to a lot of your emotions and anxieties. I especially relate to the "what is this person thinking" or "what do they think of me" part. I can do that in all kinds of areas of my life. I can create all kinds of scenarios in my head...invent all kinds of stories...about what someone is thinking of me or feeling toward me. Truth is that I think more often than not (and this is not meant to sound negative about people), people are much more likely to be thinking about their own lives than they are to be focused on us. But those stories we can create in our own heads about "what someone else is thinking/feeling about me" can be powerful forces.
Doing things "the right way" can also be an issue for me, although again it doesn't usually have to do with borrowed items.
Ever watch the TV show Monk? If not...it's a funny (and sometimes very moving) detective show about this obsessive/compulsive homicide detective. The down side of the show is that most of the shows start off with a homicide, which can be a bit much for me. But the portrayal of this guy as obsessive/compulsive strikes a chord with me and a lot of people I know. That part (the portrayal of obsessive/compulsive issues) is very well done.
Monk (Adrian Monk, that is) notices all kinds of details no one else would ever notice (which is part of what makes him an ace detective). (He is also compulsively neat and orderly, so he would freak out in my apartment!) In one episode, he goes to the cleaners to pick up a shirt. He sees that something is different. The cleaners confessed they had knocked off a button and had to sew it back on. Monk sees that they stitched it back on with stitches that are going in a different direction than the stitches on his other buttons. No time to fix it. He needs to put on the shirt and go investigate some crime. All day long when he runs into people, he is convinced that they are noticing his "obviously wrongly stitched" button and that they are focused on it. He feels very self conscious and embarrassed. It's very funny, because as the viewer, you know that absolutely nobody but Monk would even begin to notice a think like that.
I think the example is a good one when it comes to the idea of what we think other people are thinking.
Sometimes it helps me to talk about things like this (fears of what others are thinking about us) with a friend who has similar fears. This particular friend of mine and I can share these stories we make up in our heads with one another, and we've eventually come to see the humor in some of our own stories. It's easy for me to see how imaginative (and unrealistic) her stories are, and then that helps me see how unrealistic my own stories often are. It helps take the "power" out of them for me. Naturally, this didn't all just happen overnight. The friendship and the confidence in one another built up over a period of a few years. It is one tool (talking things over like this with my friend) that helps me with some of my hangups and that helps me take myself and some of my fears a little less seriously.
In general, it is often helpful when I find someone else with the same fear I have (who is willing to talk about it). Sometimes, we can help each other get to the root of our fears or encourage each other. Sometimes, just knowing someone else has the same fear I do, struggles in the same way I do, is helpful. Sometimes, fears are bssed in some kind of real-life incident in the past. And sometimes they may be just "all made up." Sometimes we may never really understand their origins. Regardless, it can be helpful to share them with someone else, I find. There are other good tools for dealing with our fears, but this post is long enough, and I need to get back to sleep! (It's 3:30am my time.)
Posted: 19 February 2014 - 08:39 PM
I don't think I'll get past it until I send the things back and own up to my mistakes. Like I said, I never kept an item just so I could have it, it's just this weird guilty fear thing that makes me avoid giving it back. But I feel awful about it. I want my respect for the owner to outweigh my issues.
Posted: 19 February 2014 - 06:56 PM
That's a Mahatma Ghandi type of reaction. I don't think I'm there yet!
Posted: 19 February 2014 - 01:01 PM
I lent a young friend my beloved boxed set of JRR Tolkien's "The Lord Of The Rings" that I had owned since 1968. After a long enough period of time I asked him "will I ever get my books back or should I just consider them stolen?" He told me that he really liked the old artwork on the box and book covers and that they were old well read copies and I should just consider them stolen. I then had him drive me all the way into the big city to the book store that I had a gift card for and bought myself a new boxed set of the books. I was happy that he appreciated the books just as much as I had. :D
Posted: 19 February 2014 - 12:20 PM
I had a situation where a friend had loaned me a designer dress that I didn't ask for. She thought I needed some spiffing up which was very thoughtful of her. But our styles are totally different and it was horrible and ugly and I never wore it or returned it. She never asked about it. But I felt more and more guilty; I couldn't throw it out or donate it.
So I folded it very nicely, wrapped it very carefully and mailed it back to her with an apology note for keeping such a lovely dress so long.
I never heard from her. Our friendship had been fading due to my increasing isolation. But I felt better returning it and apologizing. Admitting my error and doing what I could to remedy the situation was the right thing to do.
I miss the friendship but it was time to let that go too.
Posted: 19 February 2014 - 11:56 AM
I've always had a problem returning the things I borrow from friends and family. I would become obsessed with returning the item "the right way" and would get hung up on if the shirt (or whatever) was clean enough or folded right or if I should mail it or bring it in person. During all of that some time would pass and guilt and shame would start to build. Has is been too long? What does this person think of me now?
I imagine those people have talked about my tendency to keep their things and that they think I'm a thief or careless or greedy.
I never throw those things away, they just stay in limbo while I try to decide what to do. The shame just grows. I have in the past avoided a friend to the point of ending the friendship. Over a book.
In my quest to clear out my worst closet I have found several of these items and grouped them together. I get overwhelmed when I look at them. I still am unsure if I should mail them back to the owner with a polite apologetic note. My guess is that they would laugh it off and say that it's okay but I also greatly fear other reactions. Even a simple comment about how they figured they'd never see the item again would probably reduce me to tears. Or if they comment on how long it had been and that they'd forgotten. I just feel so much shame.