Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, September 08, 2016

I am uncharacteristically

home and ready to tackle a few things. I'm going to keep it pretty simple; I need to do the following--
  1. Water the plants inside and out.
  2. Work on the living room.
  3. Work on the kitchen.
That's it. I'm not saying I'll get the living room and kitchen excavated, but it's more reasonable to think I can work on them without pushing for that goal, so I don't fail. The plants are pretty straightforward, of course. At the moment I can't really sit down at the computer or watch TV comfortably, because there's stuff strewn everywhere. Nor can I do much in the kitchen.

You probably figured it out, a long time ago, that I am a hoarder. I go through bouts when things are in place and neat, but inevitably they slide back into disarray. And it's not just messiness; I have trouble letting go of things that 'might be useful', I 'might read', and there's the need to acquire things, not so much by going out for retail therapy; it's often taking home things I feel are unwanted by others. Yeah, there's no emotional red flag on that, is there?

Anyway, lately things have been bad again, enough that I can't have my friends over (although when things are clean, I'm still anxious about having people in my house). And it's driving me crazy, because for all my clutter, I prefer things to be in their place. At work, my desk is almost always neat and nearly spotless. I hoard at work, true, but it's all in closets or the attic, for the most part, something I'm going to have to let go in the coming months, although it's not nearly as bad as the house. People say their houses are a wreck; I have a lot of stuff crammed into 750 square foot of space, and it comes to at least twelve full-size bookshelves plus an entertainment centre just for the books alone--and acquiring the 'newer' collapsable shelves actually helped. Before that, things were piled everywhere. But my clothes, clean and dirty, are in piles on the bedroom floor; there's stuff on the loveseat, on the dining room table, etc. It's time to tackle things again.

But I need help. I can clean, I can conquer the overwhelmed feeling I have right now, after the tipping balance is reached and I let things slide, but no matter how decent I get everything it's going to stay like that for a few months at the most and start over again. YKWIA and I were talking the other day and he said that in the time he'd known me (29 years or so), it had always had the same pattern. If I want to really do something about my life--and the house is really just a symptom--I need to break the pattern. I'm reading some books on treating hoarding, doing some research, and I also checked out therapists in the area. There is one person who does handle obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders, including hoarding, and while he is a social worker (I haven't had a lot of luck with them, as they usually just do talk therapy, which is nearly useless for me), he does cognitive behaviour therapy, which is the only real thing that's particularly effective so far in hoarding therapy. I haven't done CBT, but I have done dialectical behaviour therapy, which is a subset of it, and it was much better for me. I need the 'homework', the practical work. He's also got over 30 years of experience and has undergone special training in dealing with anxiety disorders. His office is near my house, and he takes my insurance. I'm going to call tomorrow to see if I can get in. In the meantime, tonight I'm going to try to get things a little more livable in those two rooms. I'm tired of camping out on my bed (I've done all my computer stuff of late there, which isn't great for my back, and have been sleeping with the laptop and my book bag, and books, in the bed.)

Okay, it's time to get started. I have my wireless headphones on with peppy music playing, so I can go from room to room with no trouble. Wish me luck.


Bob said...

Good luck with it, Eilir. If I lived closer to you I'd be happy to help.

Eilir said...

Thank you so much!

Eilir said...

Thank you so much!