On yesterday's post, I received the following comment:
BinaryPhoenix said... I'm late to the party - I found your blog a few days ago, and it's taken me a couple of days to read through and catch up to this point. I just have to say, that you are an amazing inspiration to more people than you know.
I thought you might find it interesting that I was referred to your blog by someone I met through www.flylady.net. Have you heard of it? It is an entire site dedicated to decluttering and establishing daily habits and cleaning routines. The friend that referred me forwarded your blog to several others in my area who are members of the site, and I thought you might enjoy checking it out. I've been a member for several years, but I've never found the inspiration there that I've found right here on your blog. While I myself am not to the point that you are at, I have noticed hoarding tendencies in myself (lets just say I have to force myself to stay away from craft shops and pet shops), and you inspire me to do better at keeping junk out of my house. So thanks for that.
I left off the last little bit of the comment to keep it relevant to today's post.
First of all, thank you for your incredibly kind words and for taking the time to read through my entire blog! As far as long comments? They're not a problem at all! I appreciate it, and if it were not for the support that I've received from people who have left comments and have followed me for so many months, I don't know how successful I'd be in this journey. Don't get me wrong. I would still work as hard as I could, but I can't explain how much the support I've received buoys me, so I wonder, if I would be able to push myself as hard, if it weren't for all my cheerleaders.
At the same time, I am writing this blog for myself, because it is nothing short of therapy for me. I often don't even know what I'm feeling until I start writing, and I owe it to myself and my family to write for me. It's the only way out. And I know that my supporters all know this, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you!
On to today's post...
I've had several people ask me, if I have used flylady, and I have in the past. However, I do not currently subscribe.
I think it's an amazing tool for those with general organization and clutter issues, and for cleaning tips. But for me, it was absolutely overwhelming and stressful.
I was receiving email upon email that told me what I should be doing, and over and over I felt like I wasn't living up to expectations. Granted, they weren't expectations that my family had placed on me, or that I had intentionally placed upon myself. But I felt the full weight of those expectations as certainly as I would feel a 100 pound bag of rice draped across my shoulders. I felt like I literally couldn't breathe from the guilt of my failures.
Early on in my blog, I touched on how too many emails were cluttering up my mind. That they were hanging over my head. And as odd as this may sound, I literally felt them over my right shoulder. It's peculiar, I know, but when I think of emails, they're always over my right shoulder. When I think of laundry, it's usually down in front of me on the floor ready to trip me up. Going out of the house for shopping, doctor's appointments and the like is always over my left shoulder. Birthdays and other important dates are directly behind me.
The hoarding has always been a huge, thick, dark gray cloud hanging over my head. It's enormous, and I could hardly see the edges in the far off distance. There were no rays of sunshine or hope making their way through little openings in the cloud. It was an ominous presence that loomed at all times.
I think it's probably odd that when I think of certain things I feel them in certain areas around my body. I've never asked anyone else, if they feel the things they're thinking of in a physical sense, but it can be exhausting feeling boxed in. Every single time I got a new email, the load over my right shoulder got a little heavier. And the emails I received from flylady added to the oppression.
Being a hoarder, I have always had such a problem getting rid of things I might use at a later date. It's a common thing. So I had the hardest time in the world deleting the flylady emails, because I knew that I really should be able to use that information to help me get my act together and get my house cleaned. So hundreds of emails piled up in my inbox and the weight upon my shoulders got so heavy I couldn't think straight.
One day, in a moment of clarity, I realized flylady was not helping me but was instead crippling me. I unsubscribed from the local and national groups and proceeded to delete the mountains of emails I had accumulated. It is not that I found no worth in flylady, but that I found too much. Eventually, I will likely find my way back to flylady but not until I have finished dehoarding, and only if I find that I need it at that time. If it feels like I'm spending more time sorting through emails than implementing the advice, I will once again walk away.
Although the hoarding cloud still looms to this day, I've noticed that the periphery seems closer than it ever has before. The cloud is not quite as dark as it's been in the past either.
And every once in awhile I see the occasional ray of sunshine filtering through.
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.