Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Bit More on Hoarding

I recently wrote about Cynthia, a client who struggled with hoarding to the point it endangered her keeping her housing. The other day I watched a hoarding show to scare me a bit (can be found here). One person kept hundreds and hundreds of bikes in one room, another had shelves of boxes filled with objects from trinkets to hundreds of the same items. I watched as she sat on one chair and talked about her experience and was reminded of Cynthia. But when I write that I watched it to scare myself it's because I relate a bit to the hoarding experience.

I consider myself to be a mild keeper. I don't collect items religiously per se but I have a hard time throwing away papers and books. Not so much newspapers, but college papers, even articles I used for homework. I remember seeing other students throw books and papers without hesitation at the end of the semester and not be able to understand how they could dispassionately get rid of all of their work. Feeling some envy too at how easily they did it.

Already in my teens I started having a problem with holding on to some things. Similarly to now, it was school papers and such. But back then I also collected a teen magazine and eventually it wasn't me who threw these away but my mom. My explanation for my difficulty in throwing these items away is because my family and I moved around a bit while I was growing up. As I left friends and homes behind when we moved, keeping old items gave me some stability, even support. But it was even more than that -- the emotional connection to the things I owned.

What is that cliche, that belongings end up owning you? The best part is of course that I barely ever look at my college papers. I usually don't look at them until I try to throw them away -- then resisting the temptation of reading them is very hard. And as I go through the papers (as I did today with the hopes of getting rid of some) my brain thinks, maybe I'll need to look at this at some time again for when I go back to school. Maybe.. Maybe... And I weigh to myself whether I should throw something away or not and the idea of keeping it is so comforting. It's one long and exciting throwing away party.

Also see my post about Cynthia.

1 comment:

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