“The thing you really fight with the most in a hoard is not the objects (well, they do put up a hell of a fight but that is another blogpost, a lot of other blogposts,) but rather the guilt. For the sake of household harmony you learn not to lob stuff in a bin without due care and attention.” (Secret Dragon Hoard more)
Much of the writing on this blog has focused upon the mental state of my mom and aunt as they traversed through: cancer, chemo, transfusions, hope, reality, hospice, dementia, injuries, surgeries and, of course, their resistance to anyone moving their stuff. Only infrequently have I mentioned us, the care giver’s mental journey (particularly with the dementia frustrations).
There are so many twists and turns with all aspects of this journey, but let’s just deal with the hoarding cleanup. Yes, it is beyond daunting when the hoarder is in your midst. We had that with my mom and my aunt. Frankly, we never really got that far and when we did make any significant gains, as with my mom, she wouldn’t speak to me for weeks on end. In effect, I made decisions against her will and she hated me for it.
But, how about when you are cleaning up the hoarding mess without the hoarder? There is also mental gymnastics even without the hoarder there. Guilt, anger, dread, amazement, procrastination, disgust, regrets (closely tied to guilt), humor, the deepest sadness….on and on it goes.
Care giving &/or hoarding cleanups both take a toll on your mental health if you are a decision maker. Even Team Members that waltz in and out of the projects or care acknowledge they pay a price. It is not a bad idea to debrief each other now and then when there is a lot of silence or head shakes.