End of my tether (hoarding related)(12 Posts)
My best friend has a big house that really could be lovely. She's a lovely person and suffers from bouts of depression which she puts down to having a house full of clutter. I took the day off work today and tomorrow and she hired a skip but she just can't let go of stuff and keeps making piles of rubbish to keep that then get kicked over. I managed to prize some stuff off her and into the skip but I've honestly lost the will now and I don't think I can go on tomorrow. I'm not exaggerating I know I could chuck 80% of the stuff straight in the skip and she would not ever need it again but it's honestly like banging my head off a brick wall. I want her to be happy but I just don't think I can go on! It's honestly more draining than anything I've ever tried to do and I just don't know where to go from here.
It's unlikely that you will get anywhere, don't let this spoil a friendship. To really help perhaps you can encourage her to access professional help to combat the root of the problem? You're a good friend for trying though.
Hoarding is an illness. she has no more control over it than having a broken leg. if you think it is affecting her health then suggest that she speaks to her GP and gets some MH support to deal with it. similarly if you think its a fire hazard / health risk (due to rats, mice cockroaches etc) then you need to speak to Env health again to get her the support.
it is much much more common than you would think. Most hoarders do just enough to keep it under control but then many of them don't have close friends and become reclusive.
hope she gets the help she needs.
Sounds exhausting and frustrating but however hard it is for you it is much much worse for her.
Agree that maybe encouraging her to get some professional support is the way forward.
Does she live in London or the South East ? If so I've heard amazing things about these two ladies www.declutterdivas.co.uk. They specialise in helping people with compulsive hoarding disorders.
Does sorting help? Has she got storage?
If she won't throw away, a massive tidy up/ sort/ store might help.
Take clothes for example, a massive pile of clothes in the corner of a room miraculously shrinks when washed & folded. Piles of books, CDs also seem to look less overwhelming when arranged on shelves.
What's her storage like?
I agree that this isn't something you can really tackle. You've tried and it hasn't worked. First she needs to want to change and stop hoarding. And second she needs help from an expert.
Echo the above - not a chance. Cancel the skip, sadly she has a mental health problem not a tidyness problem. I do sometimes wonder at those TV programmes where they go in and sort out a serous hoarder’s house and the hoarder comes back again - would be very interested to see the homes a year on.
purple when I worked in env health we dealt with lots of hoarders. invariably within a matter of months they had started up again. it was a constant battle. without mental health support and some CBT they just carry on, they cant help it. some people hoard specific things others more general. have dealt with a cat hoarder and also a bird hoarder. never seen so much guano in my whole life. but 4 months after we had dug the shit out of the house and reduced the numbers he was back at it again. only solution was to move him to a remote area as he wouldn't accept help.
its heartbreaking if you are the person on the sideline as the OP is. because you can clearly see the detrimental effect and the person suffering will often say they cant stand it and want to do something about it. only when it comes to it they just cant.
It's actually really useful to see it from the perspective of it being a mental health problem. I'm just really worried about a) offending her. How do I present it to her? And b) the mental health services in this area are crap and I mean REALLY crap. I've known people in really horrendous circumstances not be given any access to mental health services and when they do they're given six cbt sessions which don't even touch the tip of the iceberg.
The other problem is she presents so well I feel like people including herself would find it hard to believe she has an illness. But honestly if you saw some of the stuff she refuses to let go of you would understand it is a serious issue.
It's made me feel really sad. I had such high hopes that we would tidy it and she would feel so much calmer. I feel like I've really failed. I just wanted to really transform her house and now I feel helpless.
I am afraid, hoarding is a psychiatric problem and needs specialist help. Hoarders are irrational and it is their fears or things they can't face and deal with which cause the hoarding behaviour. Your friend is not going to see your point of view. She physically cannot part with anything because then, when it's gone, instead of getting het up about the clutter, she will have to face the real issue. And it is too hard for her.
We have relatives who are terrible hoarders - think the TV programme material. But we have stopped saying anything or trying to get them to do smth about their hoard, as they only get upset with us and angry. Quite hard to reason with them, as they maintain there isn't a problem!
The other problem is she presents so well I feel like people including herself would find it hard to believe she has an illness
I knew a lady like this. Always immaculately dressed, lovely makeup, well groomed, very bubbly, etc. The first time I visited her house I wasn't surprised to see that the front garden and front of the house were also immaculate. Imagine my utter shock when she opened the front door and it was like something off a hoarder show. I had to side step down the fairly wide hallway as it was filled to the brim with "stuff' (and I'm not a large person by any means).
I think it's very hard to imagine the reality of these sorts of houses unless you can see it for yourself. I was trying to describe it to my DH afterwards and I just don't think he "got" it.
It's definitely a mental health problem. Looking back now, and taking into account other factors in her life, it was fairly obvious this lady was suffering depression. Without the underlying cause being acknowledged and/or treated, it's pointless trying to tidy hoarders' houses up. It'll be back to square one in less than a year.
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