Updates and Carry Ons

I should note, first, for the record that I'm back. Second, I must say thanks for all the kind thoughts and support, which did help more than I can adequately express.

I did what I could, which wasn't as much as I would like. And then I left, knowing that what was left to be done had to be done by my parents, that it would require them to want to change things themselves. I do not have high hopes for these changes to ever happen. The last visits to my mother in the hospital were tense. On multiple occasions, they devolved into arguments at the thought that some her precious things were being moved. Worse, that some of them might simply not be there.

There's something to note about the logic of hoarding that allows it to completely ignore considerations of the laws of thermodynamics. Somehow, it seems to say, that if you just twist things the right way, everything will fit even though there's only a prescribed about of volume to be dealt with.

I brought back with flea-bit ankles, smoke-filled clothing to be washed, a sense of guilt that I was abandoning my parents - particularly my mother who will have to use a walker for quite awhile - to an inevitable accident, and the secret fear that I'm becoming a hoarder, too. Do I need all these books? These CDs? Is the comfort I take from old photographs just the start of these things? Or am I just a slob? There's a feeling of lingering depression, too, that I can't quite shake. I feel like I'm going through the motions at the moment, and little things that I can usually shake off - like someone pointing out that my eyes shake, particularly when I'm especially focused - cut me to the core.

I've taken the weekend to focus. No work: just visits with friends, swimming through the humidity, sleeping late in bed, reading and listening to music. Thinking about what I can possibly throw out. Do I need a couch? Is there a reverse condition to hoarding? I remember thinking at some point that there should be opposites to every medical condition. I wish, for just a moment, that I had the opposite of hoarding. That I needed more space around me. But then I think that's probably how people wind up in cabins in Wyoming or Idaho, and that's never a good way to start.


5 Responses to “Updates and Carry Ons”
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It's good to hear that you're back, and I'm sorry, again, about what you're going through. Having done it myself, I'd say the depression and sensitivity are pretty much par for the course. They suck, but maybe knowing that other people have been through it could help a little.

My captcha is "crali." Like your ankles.

June 21, 2010 at 11:37 AM
Anonymous said...

You did what you could -- you did more than a lot of other people would have done or could have done. That's really something -- a real act of love, even if its wrapped up in many other emotions.

Give yourself some credit -- and some time to recover.

June 22, 2010 at 6:13 PM
af said...

I get the desire not to hoard; a few weeks ago I went to an estate sale and came home determined to throw away everything that no one would want after I'm dead.

Right now I'm on an archives trip, living in a dorm room with minimal stuff. I recommend it as an experiment in the anti-hoarding life. It's rather freeing, but can also be annoying (e.g., where's the sharp knife to cut my bread?)

Good luck readjusting to your own life back home; it always takes a while.

June 23, 2010 at 12:33 AM
Notorious Ph.D. said...

Doctor, I was browsing Favorite Bookstore today, when I saw a just-published book called Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things. I immediately thought of you -- or your parents, to be precise. And as I sit in my own parents' shrine of useless junk, I also think of this, and shudder, because I know my parents have named me as executor for their will, so some day, all this will be mine (to deal with).

Good luck to you.

June 23, 2010 at 9:48 PM
Anonymous said...

I'm back from Mexico and although it's nice to have a larger place to live - I have a living room, which I didn't, and a kitchen I can really cook in - but I am feeling stressed out by my stuff.

And I don't even have that much stuff! But really, the two suitcases I had in Mex. contained everything I really need.

June 28, 2010 at 10:41 PM