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Emails to my Therapist

Hoarding: the Opposite of Bold

You may have run across that TV show Hoarders: Buried Alive on TLC, the one where a therapist helps someone dig out of their junk-packed rooms.   Most Americans seem to wrestle with clutter these days, at least judging by the number of businesses and magazine articles devoted to solving the problem.

Hoarding goes beyond messiness to, for example, rooms packed shoulder-high with stuff.   An estimated 1.5 million people in this country are "buried alive" to this degree.    It's a difficulty linked with obsessive-compulsive disorder, which I write about on this blog.  (Personal disclaimer:  I do have OCD, but am not a hoarder.  In fact, I'm fond of getting rid of stuff.)

Hoarding seems to me the opposite of bold action, in that it's wildly excessive preparation for the future to imagine that:  I might need this some day!  It's untrusting of one's resources, inner and outer, to keep a garage full of scrap paper that could come in handy if there were ever a shortage.  I know that that's not necessarily the conscious thinking involved; but it's what the end result says to me.  The message:  I'm scared I'll run out.  

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Categories: bold living, obsessive-compulsive disorder


  • Tam
    July 10, 2011 at 8:30 am Reply

    Great thoughts, Peggy!!  I am probably a member of this family . . on the other hand . . now I am freaked out when I want to throw stuff out . . should it be recycled?  where?  Will God get me if I just toss it in the garbage?  Oh so much guilt!  
    And I grew up with parents who were children of the depression . . they did not toss anything . . you know keeping the ball of string, and wiping down aluminum foil for reuse . . and you know all the lessons they taught us were not all bad . . today we are such a throw-a-way society, so wasteful!  So where does one draw the line?? How to get rid of the guilt????  These are the questions!

    • Peggy Payne
      July 10, 2011 at 10:58 am Reply

      Hey Tam, nice to see you here. You’re sure right about the Depression lessons; lot of good there. I’m happy that I have the county recycling spot (fondly called The Dump) and can take anything remotely usable I want to be rid of to the trading shed there (i.e. take anything you want and/or leave anything you don’t want)

      I don’t think God will get you for dumping any stuff, just a guess. I’ve taken to when-in-doubt-throw-it-out. And I read somewhere that the resistant part of us will immediately trump up some need for it as soon as it’s gone; so just expect that to happen and ignore it.

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