July 27, 2010

Where my Stuffing got in the way of my Life

Every day we have the opportunity to look at life in a new way.

A couple friends of of mine recently posted disturbing videos to their Facebook pages. The first was a CNN piece about a woman who died in her house and had to be extracted through the roof because of extreme hoarding. The second was about a new show about people who hoard pets.

While recent media is highlighting the issue of hoarding (and I am very grateful they are) most people will look at the videos and say, "That is so sad." and then go one with the day.

I, however can't just move on. I have this thought process that stops me and asks,

"How does this apply to me?"

This is what I know:

Hoarding is NEVER about the stuff, animals, or whatever is being hoarded.

While hoarding is a compulsion, the compulsion is usually triggered through a life event. Hoarding is about trying to fill an emotional space, an unfilled expectation, or a need. The problem is that you can never have enough of what you don't really need.  When the person is willing to look at the thought process or emotion of that life event, then he or she can start healing and will find that he or she is not compelled to hoard as often.

This is how it applies to me:

While I am a very organized person, I stuff in other areas. Usually when I want to say something, but don't feel it is appropriate, I put something in my mouth so the words won't escape. 

All those eaten words have built up into a good fat layer all over my body. That fat has now made it so that I can't do all of the things that I once enjoyed. I am very self-conscious in social situations, especially ones involving swimsuits!

What I am going to do about it:

This is the hardest part. I get to be more social without involving food. Just typing those words makes me want to cry. When I have been blessed to work with people who hoard they say they feel naked when the stuff is removed. Am I willing to feel naked?

What are you stuffing that is getting in the way of your life?


  1. Great question!
    I have really gotten into this de-clutter phase lately. I'm reading a book that says aside from your stuff, other peoples stuff can be a drain on your life. It then asks "Are you a personal storage unit? I think not! If the things you are storing for family are not important enough for them to take, then they are not important enough for you to store." LOVE IT!!!! I'm thinking of mailing a copy of those pages to my in-laws. ;)

    My in-laws have lived with us on and off for 4 years, in between missions. Most recently they left for mission #3 in May. The day they left I was tossing their stuff in boxes and putting them in storage. They were causing me stress while they lived here and even after they are gone they cause me stress because their stuff was "stuffing my life". I speak my mind pretty freely, but with them I'm afraid to cause problems living in such a close proximity to them and making things uncomfortable. I also don't hide feelings well, so not saying anything didn't work too well. :)

    I have yet to tell them that everything they left in my house is now in their motor home that is stored down the street. I also have yet to tell them they are not welcome back here for extended periods of time with anything more then a duffel bag.

    So I've been eating my words with them for a VERY long time. We will see what happens when it all hits the fan in May when they are done with their current mission and need a place to live. AGH!!!!!

  2. I love you.
    I also love how sometimes you say exactly what I need to hear! One of the things that I am hoping to gain from my newfound desire to get organized is to have more control over the things that are driving me crazy. My weight is right up at the top of that list right now!
    So much of my life is amazing and wonderful and fulfilling and totally fabulous that it is making the things that I'm not happy with that much more obvious. I'm going to take your example and try to figure out what is causing me to continue to 'stuff' down myself...