"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: hoarding

awareness . . .

"everything's coming up roses!"

“everything’s coming up roses!”

The other night, we watched a dated movie (“Somewhere in Time” – 1980) of Christopher Reeve asking a stoical librarian to dig out old magazines in order for him to see a photograph of his old love. Now, we can “Google” topics, creating an instant research network for just about anything that we’re interested in learning more about.

After the first breakthrough a couple of days ago, I’ve had a few more. I had been reading about some OCD tendencies that I have myself. I was astonished to come across an exact description of worrywart anxiety that I have experienced for decades. Some companion behaviors were right there too. I was relieved to learn that there are some simple ways to smooth the rougher edges of OCD behavior. The basic one was awareness. A common, natural compound taken in moderate amounts might also help.

When I look around me, it appears that everyone has bits of something. There’s no longer a red line between us and those who are depressed, bipolar, manic depressive, Aspergers, OCD, borderline or are agoraphobic some of the time. Stress exacerbates behavioral oddities and normalcy reappears when things calm down. I wonder if this seesaw effect makes it harder to see patterns over time, especially if we think of ourselves as “normal.”

OCD is an anxiety disorder manifested by questioning relationships, constantly seeking reinforcement, hoarding, compulsive spending, a cycle of behaviors all directed at feeling less anxious. Like an octopus, tentacles of fear tighten so that anxiety becomes heightened, not decreased by OCD behavior. That’s an irony I didn’t understand very well until now.

At least, paring things down, turning off the spigot of spending (including food we can’t keep up with cooking before it spoils) may help. Relationships may be improved just by ceasing to question them ceaselessly. It’s a big sense of relief to think things through and finally make more sense of our world, such as it is. If you haven’t tried it yourself recently, I’d highly recommend it.

un-hoarding, part 2 . . .

I wanted to note that I’m writing this post on what’s called “Black Friday,” a day of shopping frenzy stirred up by merchants for us to acquire more and more things, hopefully ones that will make the recipients (including ourselves) happier. I’m not against shopping and acquiring stuff so much as I want to be more conscious and intelligent about my own motivations. That is why the book that I talked about in the last post has been so helpful towards developing these self-insights.

I found that I had to wade through half of the book, stories of hard-core hoarders and the author’s experiences with them before I came to what appeared to be the heart and nuts and bolts of the book. There Read the rest of this entry »

un-hoarding . . .

Yesterday, I read a column by Jane Brody in the NYTimes describing a book on un-hoarding that she said was the best self-help book she has read in forty-seven years. That’s a weighty claim to make by someone who dishes out scientific and everyday advice on a regular basis. This book supposedly approaches de-cluttering in a pragmatic way that also connects the reader with what is really going on underneath that accounts for us to hold onto things.

It could be an association or an obligation hidden in one’s psyche that one wants to memorialize. I’m not sure, but the book is due to arrive today and I’m looking forward to finally figuring out how to clear out the rest of my stuff. Read the rest of this entry »