My hubby and I were discussing yesterday's post over at If I Were a Hoarder shortly before bed last night. In the post, Zoltana quoted Randy Frost and Gail Steketee's work, Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things. In it they discuss Impulse Control Disorder and how many hoarders have it but don't have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, even though the general thought is that hoarding is connected to OCD.
I apparently had this on my mind, as well as this post from StuffProject.com because I had the most bizarre dream before I woke up this morning.
I was at one of the many stores where things cost a dollar. I had filled my shopping cart to overflowing with stuff from the aisles of junk. Stuff like the lotto pen and the grocery list and the denim paint that were all part of The Purge of 2010.
In my dream, I got up to the register to pay for a cart heaped to overflowing full of impulse buys, and the manager of the store told me that I was not allowed to do this every day. I thought he meant I wasn't allowed to come and shop at his store and line his pockets anymore. His complaint was that I was holding up the line with all my purchases. It didn't matter that I was apparently dropping several hundred dollars a week buying junk in his store. I was holding up the other customers in the store who only had 1 or 2 items to purchase.
So I got irritated with him, and after I'd paid for everything, I painstakingly went through each and every purchase and sorted out what I really wanted to keep. I suddenly started seeing the items through the eyes I've been looking through the last few months. I was shocked to see that I had gotten an entire pile of notepads that weren't even cute, junk like the lotto pen, and like the massive amounts of stuff I've sorted through and thrown or given away over the last several months. I think I kept a couple of things, but I came to my senses and was returning everything else when I woke up.
I do know that compulsive shopping years ago added to the mess I'm trying to dig my way out of now. I had very poor impulse control for years. I only bought stuff that was deeply discounted on the clearance endcaps, but if there was one thing I liked, I got one of every color offered, or I got one for every person I knew that might appreciate it. I spent way too much money on things that have been ruined over the years or that have been wasted in some other way.
I feel horribly guilty over the waste I've contributed to in the 25 years my husband and I have been together. I think of the money I could have saved, the stress I could have prevented, and the life we could have had as a result. But you know what they say, "Hindsight's 20/20", and I can't live in the guilt. It's part of my past, and I want it to stay there. I can only live consciously and not add to the clutter and do my best to dig my way out.
Sounds like a plan.
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.