Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I was talking with a friend about yesterday's post. The part about me giving up some of my dreams. While talking with her, I realized that it's more than just giving up the dream of having fun moments with the girls creating things and playing games. It's having to give up a little bit of hope.

Fifteen years ago, I almost fired the girls' physical therapist, because she made me feel as though there was no hope. I would tell her what the girls had accomplished since she saw them last, and she would proceed to fill me in on all they couldn't do. After she finished telling me everything my girls couldn't do one particular day, she went on to tell me a joke. I could hardly even muster a smile. I don't even remember the joke. I just remember being crestfallen at her criticism of my babies.

She realized something was up, and she asked me, if anything was wrong. At first I protested and said, "No." But somehow, I stopped myself. I said, "Actually, yes. Something is wrong. Every time you come to our house for physical therapy, and I tell you what the girls have done, you counter by telling me everything they can't do. Don't you think I KNOW what they can't do?? I see it every single day! But I can't focus on that. If I do, I'll drown! I will have no hope. And I can't live without hope. I have to celebrate even the smallest accomplishments they make, because they work SO much harder than the average kid to do the smallest things. Please don't end every session by telling me what they can't do. I can't handle it." And I started crying.

I don't cry a lot. I didn't back then either. I think that somehow I was afraid that, if I started crying I wouldn't be able to stop. I didn't want the girls to pick up on that crying and think that somehow they, simply by being who they were made to be, were making me unhappy. That somehow they weren't enough.

The therapist ended up apologizing profusely. She said she'd never realized that she'd been doing it, and she'd been doing it for years with all of her patients. She said she learned a lot with that conversation, and she was going to do what she could to implement a more positive approach with all of her patients, and she thanked me for bringing it to her attention. She ended up being wonderful with the girls, and I'm so glad that somewhere I found the strength that day to say exactly what I needed to say instead of stuffing my feelings.

I've always had hope for our girls. Even when our youngest weighed 21 pounds and couldn't sit up without being propped by tons of pillows stacked around her when she was almost 4. Even then, I held out hope that she would walk. And she did!! She does! She can! And while I know that I'm not the reason that she learned to walk, I hope that somehow she knew I believed in her. That I believed she could do it. And that maybe it inspired her and helped her to not give up.

But soon, I must face reality. I must let go of some of that hope, as I eventually sort through those board games and crafts and part with those that are above the girls' abilities. I have to allow myself to let go. I have to make myself face what the girls aren't capable of doing. One of the things that I hate most of all.

Most of all, I must remind myself that they are, always have been, and always will be.



  1. It's easy to focus on the negative in therapy when you don't see a lot of progress. Thanks for reminding me to remain positive.

  2. What a lucky family you have ! such a strong mom! your girls are blessed to have you !And you them

  3. "But soon, I must face reality."

    The reality is that you have three beautiful children who are so very lucky to have the parents they have.

    And you know, we all have limitations.
    They do. I do. You do.

    It's all relative.

    And look at what they've done!
    You were right to hope and to have high expectations.

  4. Thank you for realizing that it can be easy to overlook the positive, BN.

    Thank you Fern & Ami.

    I am so very thankful we have had hope over the years. Letting go of some of that, though, is going to be difficult. I firmly believe that's part of why I have hoarding issues...not wanting to let go of that hope. However, I'm hoping that I'll be prepared by the time I get to dehoarding those things to actually let go gracefully.

  5. Oh man, I totally understand! My youngest spent 3 weeks in the NICU and it seemed like he was constantly taking 1 step forward and then 3 steps back, and there were lots of tears shed over what he couldn't do. I often felt like they were just trying not to get my hopes up that we were getting closer to taking him home, but we were able to... Way to stand up for yourself and your children, it can be hard to do sometimes..


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