A Hoarder’s Dilemma
To Purge or Not to Purge — that is the question.
I have to admit it — I’ve become a hoarder. I’ve always saved things, but I usually have no problem getting rid of items. Lately, specifically the last four years, I’ve gotten rid of less and less and acquired more and more. Even when I do get rid of items, whether by donating or throwing stuff away, I go out and buy twice as much. It’s a problem that I want to end. But how to break the cycle?
I’ve changed dramatically over the past six years. There were issues before, but everything exploded when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That sent me into a spiral. I was not prepared for my body to betray me. That’s what it felt like — a betrayal. I thought I was healthy and my body told me that I wasn’t. It was a blow that I’m still recovering from.
That same year, my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. As I’m getting chemo treatments and preparing for surgery, my mental state was struck again by my mother’s medical news. I suffer from anxiety and depression and my life was out of control. I spent the next year recovering from my treatments and taking care of my mother. When she went into remission, I thought it was a sign that things were finally getting better. But I was wrong.
My mother died in June of 2017. Ever since her passing, I’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions. Some days I can function just fine. Other days, it’s hard to get out of bed. Coupled with a stressful job and an uncaring boss and it’s a recipe for a breakdown. But I didn’t break down — I started hoarding.
Every room in my home contains bags and boxes. My living room has been converted into a makeshift art studio where tons of art supplies and crafting tools wait to be used. I’ll start a project and then leave it unfinished, staring at it for days on end until something else distracts me. I’ve vowed to stay away from art and craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby until I’ve used up a good chunk of my current stash. So far, I’ve been so-so with that vow.
My love of fashion has left many rooms in my house looking like a clothing store exploded. Shoes and sneakers mixed with sweaters and dresses. Pants and skirts, collecting dust, are shoved into corners. Some pieces were worn and others have tags still attached. Some clothes are too big or too small for me to wear. Others are out of style. But I hold on to them because fashion is cyclical and things always come back into style. I need to stop kidding myself.
My anxiety and depression make it hard for me to do what needs to be done — get rid of stuff. Part of me worries that I’ll throw away something I need. Another part of me wants to sell the items to make money. But due to laziness and procrastination, nothing gets done. I just go out and buy more stuff. I need to stop.
A close friend of mine told me to assess what I have before I buy anything else. I want to do that, but where to begin? I am so overwhelmed! It’s my fault that I’m in this situation. My need for things is tied to a need for control. I don’t have control. My mother died. I couldn’t prevent her from passing. My job is stressful, but I hold on to it because of the money and the routine. I want to travel, write, and be a speaker. But I can’t control how that will happen, so I don’t make the leap. Taking risks means losing control. I want to take risks, but fear is stopping me.
Purge. I must purge. I must get rid of everything that is holding me down, holding me back. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of being stressed. I’m not enjoying life and creating the life I want to live. Hoarding is like a security blanket. But the blanket is keeping me from doing what needs to be done. I must purge. It will be hard. Baby steps. One thing each day then two then three until I see progress. I will do it. I must.