Wednesday, April 17, 2013

To keep or not to keep

On a non related and yet related note, I am having a brilliant day. Why you ask? I bought new cleaners and disinfectant sprays last night. Sigh, nothing improves my mood more than knowing I am killing millions of germs with the touch of my hands. Muhahahahaha......

Today I would like to take a brief glimpse into some of my overlapping OCD symptoms. Strange as it is, I am a clean freak and yet I have a very small hint of hoarding  I am not one of those people on buried alive, but I do have my moments. I find it especially hard to let go of things that certain people give me. It doesn't matter how old the item is or if it is broken. To me that object is a representation of the love I feel for that person. I also am a hoarder of books.
I love books. I love the musty smell of the pages, the feel of the paper on my fingertips, the knowledge and stories contained within. To me they are little treasure chests that hold any life I want to escape into for a few hours. I don't read them , I consume them. Page by page. I managed to speed read and finish the last Harry Potter book in twenty four hours.
Three summers ago my husband asked me to get rid of some of my books. Mind you, I had a whole book shelf full and the others were piled up like in-tables on the sides of the sofa. I didn't want to. I wanted to keep them and was terrified of what would happen to my books if I gave them away. Throwing them away was totally out of the question. I found out that my local library sold used books to fund their summer reading program for kids. I was thrilled because if someone bought my books they were less likely to use them for kindling in their fireplace or something horrible like that. I did what the responsible person would do, I cried. I had severe anxiety but I really needed to purge these books. I didn't realize the huge problem I had until I went down to the basement where I located three more boxes filled with books. I added those to the library pile. Then I went into the kitchen to start dinner and upon opening the base cabinet, I found more stacks of books. Oh my God, I had a problem. I also found the same thing in my bathroom cabinets. In every room there books stashed and placed in places and somehow I would walk by them and not realize they were there. In all, I donated three boxes and three trash bags full of books. I had been storing books like a squirrel stores acorns and I had no idea that I was doing it. To end the possibility that I go back to my old ways, I have a kindle. I do not like the kindle. I also have a library card, that way the books are loaned to me and I have to give them back. It has been a struggle but I am aware of the problem , so I am able to keep it under control.
My best friend, whom I love dearly, and I rarely give each other gifts. We don't need to. We have been friends for over twenty years. Occasionally we go to stores together and buy things. We once went to a store closing sale and she bought me a votive candle surrounded a glass tube. At some point the glass had broken and I had the hardest time throwing it away. She would have been unhappy if she knew I had kept it even though it was broken. I could not stand to part with it. Finally I had to throw it away , and my anxiety was unbelievable. I cried and felt horribly guilty. I knew she would be proud. I did what I needed to. I purged and threw it away.
Somehow, certain objects given to me have become a symbol of the feelings I have for people. I am not aware when this started, but I am aware I have this issue.
I am a clean freak so my house is very clean and orderly. That is what I am told, anyway, because I feel that it is never clean enough. It is so clean you would never know that my closets are filled with disarray and junk. Apparently, I am just a clean freak in the obvious places you see on a daily basis. My dresser drawers and base cabinets are totally unorganized. It doesn't bother me because I can not see it when I walk into the room. So I am a clean freak and on a tiny level an almost hoarder. I have to work at it ,so as to not fall into habits that could make my love of keeping things, a problem.
OCD has so many symptoms. Many of us have several overlapping issues.
I understand the urge to hoard. To hold on to something or many things because they give you a feeling of safety. Because they give you a feeling of closeness to somebody that you dearly love. Because they fill a whole in your soul. It is not about being dirty or unkempt.  It is about trying to fill an emptiness that can never be filled with objects.
I now have a rule in place to keep me from my urge to hoard. If it has been out of my sight for two years and I haven't said where is this blah blah blah, then I don't need it and I throw it away. It is my own way of purging the things I do not need and do not want to clutter up my home. I just have to remember I may want it but I do not need it.

There is help. There is always help for our issues. I just feel that we have to be as honest as we can. We have to get the truth out there and spread awareness and understanding of why we are the way we are and why we do the things we do. There is nothing shameful in having a mental illness. [tweet this]. We have nothing to feel guilty about.
                                                Neurotic Nelly

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