Lightbulbs and moving forward.

My mind has been full and time out is always a necessity. I even postponed a meeting with my psychologist last week until today. I am so happy that I feel OK taking time for myself, and just being in my own head space for a little while without even my wonderful psychologist visiting it.

I write openly and just tell it like it is and want anyone reading this to know the truth and facts of what my personal experience is living with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The many triggers, impacts and behaviours making up my life I also want to share the forward movement I am making towards managing living my life as a person with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD).

I had my appointment with my psychologist today. In the time she asked me to choose a verb to describe what I wanted my house to be. I could not do that. I was stumped.

I had been discussing how I had been working in the garden and creating/changing things about. I had discussed how after my partner had died a while afterwards I had the covered deck built on the house to make it more my house. (My partner had built this very unique home we lived in and it is always his house in my mind. Even though I own it now, and he has been dead for almost 10 years. I struggle with the inside of the house.

I feel fine in the garden as that has always been an area that it was easy for me to create and grow things. The deck also I feel comfortable to have it any way and how I like it. It is my space.

The inside of the house is a totally different thing.

This discussion between my Psychologist and me today and my inability to find a verb to describe how I wanted my house to be, took me to a place it has not been able to go to in our sessions very deeply before.

The more I work with my psychologist and become aware of the whys and triggers, the more I find myself opening up and finding things I have blocked ,hidden deep in my brain.

I have been moving forward. Constantly moving forward and yet I had begun to feel in the last few weeks I was stopping. I was not feeling that greatly for the last week. I cancelled my appointment with my psychologist last week, an avoidance tactic. My anxiety and fears overwhelming me by numbing me and making me feel I had, had enough of sharing my brains insides. I feel I knew that this was almost hallowed turf we were about to dig into.

The reason was My partner. I was thinking such a lot about things and missing him as anyone who has had someone they love die .Even after 10 years you miss them. That persons shaped hole will always be there, you just do not grieve with the intensity you have over the years. I do occasionally cry, and I certainly still miss him, the ever day touches his laugh, his smile, smell, presence. Ah but he is dead. I am not.

I instigated the conversation mentioning some things about my partner, Over the two years I have been seeing my psychologist, I have talked about him usually at a fairly superficial level. I dissociated on one occasion when It became to much for me. This was totally not expected by me or my psychologist at the time, but I am very grateful that it happened in her office in a safe pace.

My partner taught me what unconditional love is. He taught me what joy and contentment felt like. He made me realise that I had expected the previous partners/boyfriends I had been with and him to be able to read my mind. I was able to share with him and tell him what I would like for my birthday, Christmas, what ever, as he really did not have any idea. Not his fault he was wired differently to me. This was not new information I was sharing with my psychologist.

Back to the post..in the course of talking with my psychologist today I was asked why I did not feel the same way inside the house as I do in the garden or on the deck. I was able to see and share that it is because they are places I created. The next part was so could I describe why I could not change or finish anything inside the house. I went to say a word, and stopped. My psychologist looked at me, so I said to her, I was going to say I did not want to desecrate his house! I whispered that. I stopped and my psychologist looked at me with great compassion, as I began to talk more, and emotions raw emotions came to the fore.

After this session, I felt some more weight lift off my shoulders, and the beauty of the session was not just this revelation from deep within me. Was also the knowledge that in sharing what had been happening in my eyes such tiny things, me organising a neighbours kid(he is trying to save money and is only 13 ) to move some wood from under the house into my partners workshop, and the thought that if I put a door into that room from the deck I would have a place to put all my garden and items I keep currently on my deck. Oh and that I had been cleaning out the room that the rat had got into. Tossing stuff (everything has to go) out the window..and putting it in the bin for garbage truck to take away. All these small things were actually monumental and I was not stopping, I had not even paused. I was doing things in regard to the house, and now the discovery of my anxiety over desecrating my partners house to make it a place for me to be happy and alive inside the house as I am in the garden and to make it feel like my home as I want it.

I also shared how hard it was for me when I first moved into this house/home and it was a home when my partner was alive here with me. I had a fully furnished flat, and he had a fully furnished house. I was moving in , so my things, furniture, bed, lights, bookcases, side board had no place to come here. I loved my furniture. I had moved it so many times and it had moved to Tasmania with me and created my homes here. So when I first moved in it was my cat, clothes and some personal items, eventually my Cd Player and CDs, a few books, my dinning table (which has always been outside under cover, two bedside drawers and my table I used to use for painting moved down, all the rest went very cheaply to a second hand dealer, before the days of ebay and community pages.
In sharing this with my psychologist, I shared I was angry and frustrated by how little understanding my partner had, over my loss of identity and security. We ended up having a fight about it, and it helped. A bit.

Oh shit did I just tell my psychologist I was angered and felt frustration about this. I had never voiced any anger or feelings of frustration in regard to my partner in any sessions. Did this make my being loved unconditionally a lie? Nope it was my inner child just making the best out of a situation that I (adult me) could not control. It made me normal.

I wanted to paint our bedroom, he was not keen on the colour. I did paint some windows frames in the kitchen to lift it (in my eyes) I chose a colour he loved. He was not super delighted. Nor did her really like the colour I chose to paint our upstairs loo. Whilst he was alive that is really all I had been able to paint and I found some fantastic curtains at the tips shop plain cream, really well insulated for heat and cold enough for our whole house. ($20) He grew to appreciate them.

I realise now that even though we had a wonderful relationship and I was very happy, loved unconditionally and content. I felt a home was created for us both, even though over the 11 years of us being together the colours were consistent in the rooms. They favoured his preferences. It was his house but it was our home.

I never felt it was not a home for us, I love him, his house was where we lived together, and we created a home together.
He had created this his ideal home and it was just as he loved it. He had built the whole house he had designed it, it was his. I understood this, not overly fond of it, I chose to live with knowing this and accepted it. Rarely was it an issue. Though I discovered today that I did feel angry and upset by this. WOAH…I voiced those words about the man I loved unconditionally and he me. What did that make me… well normal that is all.

WOAh that weight, I had no idea that I had for almost 20years been holding onto this.

So

The word desecrate ‘to damage or show no respect towards something holy or very much respected:’ Cambridge dictionary.

No wonder I have not been able to move forward in regard to the house. I have over the last 10 years began to paint a wall, a cupboard, I just stopped. I felt so overwhelmed. I see why now.

When I add to that the feelings I have in regard to my hoarding and how the inside of the house looks, it seems ludicrous that I have desecrated the inside of the house in such a very different manner, yet I have not with hoarding actually changed any of the structure of the house, the colours of the walls, the small bathtub. Big breath needed here.

I had some control still, the hoarding is the way I changed the inside of the house. It also means no one is let inside and it keeps everything out. Another deep breath.

Shit our brains are incredible thins aren’t they.

Deep breath. So I have changed my place to begin, I am not sharing where, when or anything right now. I know myself too well. I know that it takes me some time to digest review and move through these AH HAA moments. The Light bulb is glaringly on no dimmer available. My mind works in mysterious ways, and my need to have control( a trait of my CPTSD), means I need to stop and switch off for a little while in regard to what has happened for me today. Just about the inside of the house and de hoarding.

I continue to move forward, seemingly huge strides today, yet I know for me they are really small steps micro steps required to go the distance. My head is clear, I have a lightness right now. Documenting this experience is a way for me to see in black and white how my progress is going. If it assists anyone in anyway, that is an unexpected blessing.

I am so thankful for today. I am so thankful to have access to a psychologist who is helping me so much. I am thankful that she has done everything to be able to keep me as a client and bulk billing me. I am thankful to those who read my posts, those who encourage and comment, those who like my posts.

blessings to You. Tazzie

Note from the Author
Copyright 2020 (All rights reserved)
Copying of the content and image is not permissible. A prior permission of the author of the blog is mandatory before using the content or the image (which has been created by the author of the blog).

Trials and tribulation of a hoarder

It has been another delightful Autumn day here in the Huon Valley. My dogs and I slept so well. Lights were off late, 23:30 better than I expected. I made a huge effort to get to bed last night.
I have showered today, having been working in the garden moving bark and mulched tree branches. Putting some lovely compost about some plants that flower and grow during our cool temperate winters.

I even spent a bit of time in my kitchen. I became a hoarder in the darkest period of time after my breakdown. My home has had periods of being OK since then. Though most of the time it is really bad especially the kitchen and living areas. I have written about this in another post.

Today I began to clean some of my stove top. It has been so revolting and it really has. I scrapped all the crud off it, and used hot water with some bleach in it. It was layers of stuff. I only did part of it. Yet it really made me feel good. Then ashamed. I felt the somatic symptoms rising. The knowing how revolting it was. How have I allowed it to be like this for so long. The answer is I have been ill.

Some where in my brain, and emotions overwhelmed, anxiety, fear, shame,and lots of guilt. Words from my past about how our home should look like this and everything needed to be perfect, and how cleaning should be done and how I was a filthy disgusting pig echo around my head as I fight myself. I was just not able to cope with it at all just basically caused me to disconnect with the concept of anything about the house.

I can work in the garden as freely and for as long as I want. There were no gardens when I was growing up. My garden is mine. Nothing in my head about how it should be. No somatic issues when I am in my garden. My garden is not a show garden, it is a happy and warm welcoming place. A sanctuary for wildlife, and me. Unlike the house!

The need to look neat clean and tidy always, the house so sparkling that even our bedrooms were meant to be on show at all times. The fights as a teenager ending in beatings and verbal barrages because my room was messy, and why could the door not just be shut! Why did it always have to be open! Who were we out to impress? Perfect house, perfect children. Oh I certainly did not fit that mould. The beatings and the verbal barrages that would come my way small child, teenanger, even as an adult, even when my partner died. Judgements were made on how the house looked and what would people think?

Yet I understand some of the reasons why the house has become what it has. Note it is a house…not a home.

It became a fortress, a safe place to barricade the rest of the world out. I had control of that. Whilst the rest of my life I was loosing control of everything else it seemed. Work, for a period finances, my brain, my emotions, my feelings, everything was slipping out of my control.

So today I cleaned a part of my stove. Their are jars and pots, plates, and cups piled about, There is crap all over the lovely timber floor. I hate it, I see it, and I want it gone. Today I cleaned a part of my stove. It is shiny and sparkling. It makes me smile, and it makes me more sad, and ashamed embarrassed at the rest.

Tomorrow I will wash up. In my sink that has no real spout, just a leaking copper pipe that swooshes out into the sink. (its more than many people have). I can not have a plumber in to fix it until I have cleared up and cleaned up more. Its been like this for a long time, it will get done eventually.

Yet even this idea getting a plumber, letting him/her inside my house, seeing how it is. That is bad enough.

I have really really serious trust issues. Regarding people coming into my house. Several trust issues have occurred that have made me like this. The last was a year or so ago. I had a leak into the kitchen from an exterior upstairs doorway.

The wood had rotted. I tried filling it, not fully stopped. So this man comes and says he can fix it. I let him in, the house was not as bad as it is today. I apologised, and explained my illness and hoarding. (bedroom upstairs is clean and tidy)So he was working up there. To cut the story short he did not fix it. He came back three times, and still had not fixed the leak. The leak is now worse.

I have to have a tarp over the door and deck area upstairs when it rains.

So having a plumber come into my house, into the kitchen( the worst area of the house) where two leaks are. Is a huge HUGE issue for me. I know that for some reason, my adult self is not in the management chair here. I know that my small me is. The rebellious small me, that says FU to how things should be! FU to people accepting me on how I look, live ect. FU to being in control of clean and tidy. Spotless and for the adult me often alphabetised and colour organised. Every thing labelled, and yes a bit OCD. For the small me it is all too much! Actually for the adult me it is too. Yet when I look with I guess mindfully and non judgmentally. It is messy and crappy dirty and yuck. Yet it is not as bad as or as big a mess as it seems. The small me just throws my hands up and says nah…it is too hard, and shuts down.

So today I cleaned a part of my stove. It is shiny and I can see it when I come down the stairs. I feel happy seeing it.

My aim by writing is similar to establishing my routine which has been so beneficial to me sleep, walk, eat healthier. To write about the hording and aim for one small area to be undertaken each week. (start small ) I then feel responsible to ensure that for my own benefit and concept of moving forward be committed. Be honest and say if I have achieved the small area. For the week or not.

So my aim this week until next Monday will be to keep my stove top clean and to wash up everything in my sink area and put them away in the cupboards.

My life with CPTSD is complex, yet I try to live a very simple life. I look about and gain so much pleasure now from all about me. Today listening to the birds in the birdbath near where I was working. Seeing a butterfly landing on the wall flowers. A frog hop when I disturbed his spot. The huge worm that a Kookaburra swooped down, grabbed in its beak and had for a meal.

It has taken me a long time to be where I am now. I just want to keep moving forward. No matter how small as long as it is always forward.

Blessings to you all Tazzie.

Note from the Author
Copyright 2020 (All rights reserved)
Copying of the content and image is not permissible. A prior permission of the author of the blog is mandatory before using the content or the image (which has been created by the author of the blog).

To Do or Not to Do

I am not encouraged to write lists by my psychologist as when I do they can become a fixation of all that is too do about here. Interesting not writing any list is actually achieving more than having lists. I see why my psychologist made this suggestion to me now.

Let me explain what I am beginning to understand happens for me when I compile a To-Do List. I write all I know that needs to be done for me to feel that my house, meets some unwritten expectation a standard of acceptable that is in my mind.

Then add to that expectation that is hidden, yes hidden deep in the recess of my brain my own quirky need to feel that the house is not completely finished until everything is alphabetised or colour co-ordinated. Wow heavy stuff there.

Not only can I begin to get a feeling why I am basically frozen in place in regard to getting the inside of my house completed, well lets be totally honest here begun. I totally understand where and why this compulsion to meet ‘OTHERS EXPECTIONS’ in what is ‘MEETING THE ACCEPTABLE STANDARD’ of how my house must be before visitors could ever come inside. Or I could possible be happy to live here.

Two things hit me in the face immediately having written this in black and white. Every time I have referred to where I live in relation to this is my house, and not my home. Ponder that for a bit…

Second thing where the hell and who declared that houses had to meet a standard of acceptable.

Family yep from my maternal side. Interestingly my Grandmother was a cleaner in Motels/Hotels for many years. (I have cleaned houses and government offices).
My mother has always been a snob. Her world was always about having only the best and she would struggle to save and get it, fair enough and then when my parents business grew successful it became a much bigger issue. It was also the times I guess too.
Both of my parents families were poor, and my parents worked incredibly hard to give us kids a very different life with opportunities they could never have had. I am exceedingly grateful for that.

The really interesting things I recall from my younger years is that both sets of Grandparents always seemed so much more content than my parents.

My fathers business was all about image. He lucked out with me I could not really care about how I look or appear. I did play the game for many years, until I realised that I was really miserable and dying inside. So in my 30s I began to live more a life I found was right for me.

I still struggled with my two worlds and the power of parental indoctrination and severe punishment towards me for not meeting these ‘unknown acceptable standards’ in how a house has to be have been a massive issue all through my life.

Strangely I could only begin to see this clearly once I stopped seeing and speaking to any of my family. That was not that long ago. It has empowered me and has been a huge part in my moving forward I know.

The time is right for me to let go of the shackles of indoctrination and it is not just from my family, but media, those home renovation shows, the how to be successful concepts, movies, and uuugh celebrities and stupid reality TV shows. Advertising real estate agents magazines the morning shows. Even shows where people are building their own homes create this expectation in I am sure not just me.

I know what and how my home is going to be one day. It will be clean but not sanatised, there will be dirty dishes in the sink, but just that mornings until I wash up after dinner. There will always be books and stuff by my chair where I sit, knitting or crochet projects near bye. Plants and seedlings growing on shelves and in windows, dog hair, dog toys and dog blankets about the place. My photographic items and my paint and drawing items, along with my meditation and relaxation items.

There may very well be some muddy doggy paw prints on the floor as you come in (if it has been raining). Your clothes if you visit will have dog hair on them when you leave.

It will not have a big screen TV or a incredible sound system (no judgement you make your home as you desire). It will most likely have bread or a bikkies ( biscuits/cookies) in the oven, a home made cake. Good coffee and tea, but very simple food. It will be eclectic what many would think of as bohemian, to weird to ‘um very individual’ it will be me.

You would not be stepping over stuff on the floor, or moving about things hoping you knock nothing off. As it is currently. I can live with how it is right now as I have but it is gnawing at me. There is an feeling of the time is coming to begin.

As I type that I feel tight in my chest and neck a bit nauseous. I know why I am reacting like this. I am growing more and more attuned to why my somatic symptoms occur in regard to my thoughts of the inside of my house.

It is not as over whelming to me these days, it bugs me,

There is a lot you may have seen hoarders homes on TV, mine is nowhere near as bad as many of them but it is medium level I feel. There are no tall piles of stuff. I did have a few spots where there were and over the past few months have been very mindful to just take some things out and put them in the bin. So they are gone. Brilliant.

My kitchen is perhaps the worst area it is pretty disgusting. No it is really disgusting. I am being honest here.

I did decide for some reason to bring all my clothes into the living area, and they had been sitting on the lounge for months. They are all clean. I would just wash my clothes and chuck them on the pile.

I decided last week to begin on the living room. I wanted to position my lounge so that I could see the view and watch the TV plus be fairly close to the fire, (I will need to redress this most likely but that is another story). So the clothes were put on the stairs, and I was going to fold them up. Well that did not happen, and so the clean clothes have been siting in a pile on the table and chairs oozing over onto the floor. But the lounge it clear and the dogs and I all can sit on it together. Priorities may be skewed to some of you, but this is my journey.

I did throw a few items of clothing away. Yeah! I also created a pile of clothes to mend. Sigh, I can mend them, but will I. I cant afford to buy new things and these mended clothes extend my choices. Stop StOP. do not think about that now.

Ooops I am begining to make lists, even here and then I tend towards over thinking and exhausting my brain as it all just becomes too much and I freeze again. We have come complete circle now and perhaps it is clear to some of you reading this that my mind works in a interesting manner.

I still have a sort of fluid list stored in my brain. It does not cause me distress or angst, and interestingly as I said in the beginning of this post, things are getting done.

I am proud today as I have noticed grass growing in several places of my guttering, for months today I decided it needed to be removed and I did it cleaning out the gutter and now the forecast heavy rain will not back up and flow over potentially into the house. I am smiling as I write this.

A simple and small step, as I keep moving forward. I have not walked today as I have been doing some things in the garden and the gutter in preparation for the heavy rain, I did take the dogs for a drive and they ran. I aim to go for a short walk up the hill. If I do not I will not beat myself up.

I am thankful that I will be able to relax now and not stress about potential damage from overflowing gutters. I am thankful for how much better I am feeling since following my routine of regular bed lights out time, exercise and eating healthier. I am thankful for the sunshine today. I am thankful that many of my seedlings on the deck are growing well and looking healthy. I am thankful for my physical health and the improvement in my mental health. I am thankful for clean air, clean fresh water, more than enough food to eat. I am thankful for the roof over my head, the ability to be warm and dry. I am thankful for all the insects and frogs in my garden. I am thankful to have seen some honey bees about the garden today. I am thankful for a reprieve from the wind. I am thankful for my neighbours, and you.

blessings Tazzie

Comfort eating. may be triggering

Comfort eating, and my CPTSD seem to go in hand in hand. I find it so easy when things hit me in the face and throw me backwards mentally or emotionally that I go shopping mindlessly and end up with a trolley full of sugar and chips. I have been working on it and up until recently this has been improving.

For example, I now buy 460ml of ice cream instead of a litre and eat all of that, with a small bar of chocolate you know the one strip bar. I would buy a small pack of chips. Where as before it would be the family block of chocolate and the big bag of chips and a litre of icecream. I would than go home and devour it all!!

The problem with this is the highly processed foods create the cycle of continuing to want them. So having just come through this comfort eating period and assessing what has worked for me most recently is to make things I enjoy at home.

When I am content and happy, doing stuff about the garden and a little in the house, (I am a recovering( slowly) hoarder(I no longer bring things into the house) so the house is a very slow work in progress and the garden is preferential but also um needing work.

I eat better and am far more conscious of nutrition. Yesterday, I was wanting something sweet, ( I do not have sugar in tea or coffee). When I am not anxious or triggered I am satiated much easier. The highly processed food after the first few mouthfuls does nothing, it just is something to do that I am unable to stop, and believe me I have tried every method to stop myself. It is just shoveling it in to fill a hole.

I have decided that I am not going to punish myself by not allowing myself to eat sweet food. Or salty food. I did that quite a while ago middle of last year. I have still had several episodes over that time where triggers have occurred that see me blindly go in and just buy junk food.

The impact of being annoyed at myself created me to me become bulimic, ( a fairly recent thing and not something I have shared with my psychologist or GP), which makes the whole situation worse. So now, I am aware and I try very hard to minimise the junk. Even when I do not as happened recently I just accept it, and look at what has kept the distance of these reactions to the triggers apart.

Me making a semolina pudding with brown sugar butter and milk, contains far less sugar and fat than in the ice cream, biscuits and chocolate I would buy. Having it when I have eaten a good nutrituous meal helps too and again I am content.

I have also found a wonderful thing called microwave mug cakes. Cake is one of my down falls, and this way I can make a home made cake and eat it all but it is only in a mug. Yes I do add delicious icing to it too. For example yesterday I made a lime (using limes off my tree) cake with coconut icing.

For brunch I had eggs on toast with a sausage and coleslaw I made with red cabbage a local carrot, and one of my apples. Delicious filling nutritious. Dinner was coleslaw and nuts with tomato (mine) on toast. I am having a hot chocolate with a teaspoon of my home made rosehip syrup in it. So delicious as I sit beside the fire with two dogs snoring. The rosehip syrup is sweet and it satiated my itch for a little sweetness today.

It is so hard when I am not well. As I do know what is best for me and what makes me function. The old retreat and overeat by self comforting is no longer what I want to be doing. I like knowing why I do, it you know having insight. I like that I have been able to adapt and make the choices smaller when I am triggered if I am able to. I am also OK when it is a full blow out and I am working on not punishing (throwing up) myself when I do either as it is really just another method of controlling my feelings and emotions.

I am not out for sympathy or rescuing please. I write these things down as it really helps me see my whole picture. Occasionally what I have shared has helped someone else. If sharing my own mental illness and journey honestly helps anyone for themselves or someone they love/know or care for, then that is good. I write though mainly for me, as often when I write, bells ring and things gain clarity.

The other positive in all of this is that I have now been walking my dogs all bar one day for two weeks. I have gone on one longer walk in that time, and my intention is to increase my walks to do the longer one at least twice a week. The interesting thing when You have dogs is that they get into a routine far quicker than you do. So now my guys make eyes at me when I am reluctant to go for a walk. They push all my buttons with their eyes, and rather than deal with that I get up out of the chair and we walk up the hill. We also go walking about the paddock everyday and about the house several times. So my phyiscal activity through walking has increased .

I am thankful for my dogs, for their needs outruling mine. I am thankful that I have insight in my mental illness and why I respond as I do. I am thankful that I have space, I am thankful for good neighbours, I am thankful for my governments work in stopping the spread of the virus, I am thankful that I do not find being at home isolation bad. I am thankful for all I have, I am thankful to have this space to write. I am thankful to other bloggers whose blogs make me laugh, inspire me, awe me, provide challenges for me, evoke responses from me. Who share their skills and own life journeys.

blessings Tazzie


Hoarding

There are many reasons that people become hoarders. For me it resulted after my mental breakdown, I always had more wool than I could use and material. After my breakdown things changed. I would buy cheap synthetic yarns and material I did not even really like. Of course it and all that I gathered was not used, and it just grew and grew. As I recover I have donated most of this to community groups who do amazing creative things with it.

For some reason and I am fairly certain if was something to do with my family realationships. I am sorry but I can not remember what happened or when. This is part of my Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have large periods of time, some times years that my memories are very uncertain.
Even today I can be confused and totally out of sorts as I may have lost a day, or several hours.

My home had a few issues that weighed heavily on me. A leak that was my whole focus for over two years, yet I was incapable of organising to have it repaired. It caused me a lot of anxiety and distress. I also damaged the copper pipe in my kitchen where the spout for the sink is attached behind the wall. So another leak. The leaks exacerbated my hoarding.

This also makes washing up really difficult. So my kitchen slowly has become and I am embarrassed to say this, a bio hazard in some ways. Another reason why I don’t let anyone in my home. As I write this I see that this also is a reason that I have provided to not deal with the pipe issue. It is another protective device to stop people entering my place. Now my somatic symptoms are appearing anxiety is increasing dry mouth I can hear my heart in my ears, and I feel nauseous. I also feel overwhelming tiredness. That is the strength of feeling that comes when I am triggered.

Anyone who has not had personal experience of a hoarder in real life, and not via say hoarder TV shows would not be prepared for the reality of extreme hoarding.
This house was not filled with rats feces or lots of dead animals there were obvious signs their had been mice and maybe rats. It was dirty and smelly from food and not being aired and heated. It was for a hoarders house surprisingly cleanish. Lots of dust and rubbish and news paper. It is a series on You Tube called The Potters House on Curiosity Incorporated You Tube Channel.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb4SpyeH5IQ&list=PLHs6JH9ueCokcP2hje8PVPPqjucNJFUvO&index=2&t=0s

The house belonged to a renowned Canadian Potter Mary Borgastrom known as a primative and traditional potter using raku style firing methods. It includes an interview with Mary and the Alex,who was looking for Antiques. She only died on 3 April 2019. Alex managed to have an interview which is recorded as part 9 with Mary and the uploaded date is January 2019. So a couple of months before Mary died. Mary was 103 at the time of her death.

To me as a hoarder and yes it is much easier to clean a Hoarders home out when they are not living in the home and can not come and be involved. Most people would do very little searching I imagine in this situation, they would just get in there and be tossing most stuff out. Yet in the same sentiment many people in Alex’s situation would do the searching for antiques or treasures in a very different manner.

This is a 28 part series, and it is really beautifully respectfully and totally non judgmentally undertaken. I myself am only up to part 11 but for me it is an intriguing look at a issue that is far more prevalent than anyone knows. The true hoarder, and the fascinating life that is unfolded as this home is explored.
It for me as a hoarder is a very caring compassionate and generous loving way the whole process was undertaken. I am addicted and will follow to the end.

To have heard Mary Borgastrom speak to Alex, was really special. I noticed at one point a brief look of shame cross Mary’s face, this would most likely have been missed by many people.

For me it just reiterates that you really never know the full story of why anyone becomes a hoarder and can live the way we do.

TV shows are written to entertain, as well as shine alight on the growing issue of hoarding have been important but they are TV and it is an entertainment and educational tool.
Of course there will be issues and possible scripted drama.
My own personal experience when a support worker believed it would be helpful for me to have someone come and help me clean my home was horrendous.

I was not mentally well enough to respond or say no. I did not have a psychologist at the time, and in the end it went belly up and I ended up basically getting worse again and not seeing anyone. The person who came to help was lovely, and really wanted to clean my house. She had no experience with a hoarder. I just went along cleaning, and chatting. Trying to keep my head together. In the end after two visits I had to say it was not working out for me. I was so sorry she was genuinely well meaning, she was placed in a difficult situation with no experience or apparent awareness or understanding of my illness.

I see what the person whose home is being ‘dehoarded’ on TV go through. Their responses are very genuine, and it may that situations are created by the Producer to create drama. If that is so that is really disgraceful but I have felt at time there has been pressure due to time restraints on those helping and recording the show, wanting the before and after pictures being placed on the person they are helping.

My personal journey is taking me a long time. Each day I may do something small, really small like pick up and decide if I am keeping something or not. than thinking will anyone else really want it, generally the answer is no, and it gets moved closer to the front door. In the morning or later in the afternoon, I will take it to the bin. That process can be arduous, and exhausting. I know that seems so strange to people who have never been in this situation, and even for those who live with a hoarder, they often do not really understand what has occurred and why this has happened.

I understand for many who do not understand how any one could live as I and many other people do across the world, across race, religious, gender and socioeconomic classes, it is not ageist hoarding.

It also demonstrates that their is always a person with a full life and history within the hoarded stuff. That what is seen by you as rubbish can hide incredible things. Or not.

I went through a time when I had a thing for cardboard boxes and had so many empty cardboard boxes in my home it was difficult to move. No logic no reason that I can recall. I am using them now to lay down to kill the grass off in areas of my garden. This may have been why I began to hoard them I do not remember.

For me I am so much more aware of my hoarding behaviour and the triggers. Back in December 2019 I purchased three large packets of milk powder and six 2 litre boxes of UHT milk. I realised a couple of days later that this was not OK. I looked about and noted one or two other things that I had seemed to have accumulated more than I needed for a while. 6 packets of Lindt 85& chocolate.

Four months have passed since I bought these things and I have used none. This may change in today’s circumstances.

So today when I went out shopping for my normal weekly shop I had to really be aware of what I was buying. I needed not a lot, I was a bit mortified when I got to the checkout and was told I could not have my two tins of black beans, my two tins of tomatoes, and my two tins of mushrooms. I had not read any of the information sheets about limits. Somehow thinking that the volume of 6 tins is basically a fortnight of some foods for me. ( I was hoping to make a sort of bolognese s sauce with mince to have for dinner and freeze. Makes a great base for spaghetti, tacos, toast, all sorts of things. I would have made quite a few meals for the freezer for me as things I could heat up easily if I was unwell for any reason.

I was told by the lovely woman at the checkout that I could only have two tins. I said I only have two. She said no just two tins out of the six? They were limiting tinned vegetables now. I really felt for the staff as they are telling nearly every person going through the checkouts that they can not have things. It is hard when the list is not at the area where the food I bought was, to me it would have been easier to just print only two veggie tins per customer regardless of what vegetables. Just add to someone else’s work I guess. Plenty of staff at our Woolworths lately, all checkouts open. Funny how the companies have found the money to be advertising for more staff. I also noted many items had increase in price in both Woolworths and my local IGA.

I am so appreciative that I can get fresh greens out of my garden, and I will hopefully have more broccoli, coming along, I have some seedlings of beetroots carrots, cabbages, and lettuces.
It is more about my dogs that I was thinking of food for them as they are on a raw diet that I mix veggies with a little rice or oats. I have enough rice for a while, and I have about 1kg of oats, along with a couple of frozen bags of veggies, that they get. I have their meat in the freezer. You can feed your dog spinach and silver beet, brassicas and I am making an assumption that would include leaves but I have to look it up.
Well I have broad tastes so I can live without many things and chocolate has many healthy things, such as milk, nuts, fruit. in it.

ooops off on a tangent again. sorry.

So the Covid-19 has introduced us to a new type of hoarder, the food hoarder and toilet paper hoarder. Is this person the same sort of hoarder as me and Mary? I can not answer that but it may trigger something more. Anxiety and fear are what triggers my hoarding so I am finding. It would seem to me that is exactly the same thing that is triggering this panic shopping/hoarding food and other things.

I really do believe that there will be a serious world wide spike in mental health illnesses in relation to the supply situation, the fear of financial and employment problems, and I really hope that the Federal Governments and State Governments are taking that into the forecasting of the aftermath of this. Added to the already distressed areas where people were impacted by the bushfires, and those who were fighting helping supporting and actually fleeing. Humans are resilient but we all can break. Mental health I for one hope is being seen as a huge impact in the current situation and outcomes.

Today whilst doing my shopping I noted that I was not at all anxious, I was very appreciative for all the staff were and are doing and dealing with. I did find it exhausting, but then lights, muzak, so much noise, and over stimulation make me tired. I can not go anywhere near the washing powder aisles or the room de-odorisers either.

Mary’s incredible story has been found and shared, because of Alex a caring respectful man who found a National Treasure, and was lucky enough to meet here and interview her before she died.

Lessons should be learned on just respecting the person who is ill and their home, and the label hoarder is not the reality of who that person really is.

I hoard but I am me, a person and that is what is important. I have carried great shame and mortification about this expression of my illness. Not everyone with CPTSD hoards. I understand it is for me a way to keep people out, when you have major issues of trusting anyone hoarding sort of makes sense. Its a barrier to the outside wall. I can hide behind it and be safe and no one can get me.

I am thankful that I was able to get food today, I am thankful to all the staff at all the supermarkets and shops selling food and things that people are panic buying, for the staff who are doing their best to keep shelves stocked, and help people out, I am thankful to Alex from Curiosity Inc, for his compassion and care, respect and non judgment and his generosity in rediscovering an amazing woman potter and interviewing her before she died. I am thankful that I can provide for my dogs, who are my family and who saved my life, I am thankful to all the health workers around the world working and trying to help in this Pandemic, I am thankful to nurses who have come out of retirement to help,. I am thankful for the internet, for the ability to blog and share with each other our experiences and feelings. Many of us who have CPTSD and PTSD , anxiety and depression often self isolate with no Pandemic about. I am really appreciative of those who find my blog and read it. I am thankful for my community neighbours, and wider. I am thankful I am so fortunate. I think of people who are poor who can not be 1.5meters or 2.2 meters away from someone else as their homes are in the slums and packed in tightly. My thoughts to all of these people and may they be being treated as equals to everyone else in care. I am thankful to Rupali who widened my eyes and mind to this situation.

Blessings to You all Tazzie




Musings from down under down under

It is really interesting, I kind of thought with my budget being so tight and me being more content at home not finding it easy to be around people even to just pop in on people who tell me too.
I have not been anywhere out of my home area, well the dogs walks and I have chatted briefly with neighbours, for a week. I imagine to many this must be such a strange thing and way to live. I do not believe I am depressed, as I am achieving some small things inside my home. On top of having been getting my veggie garden up and functional again this summer. My dogs make me laugh and I laugh at things I watch appropriately

I have achieved finding a new psychiatrist, but I had to do all the work and that really annoyed me and exhausted me. We have a company/organisation called Phscy 2 U. Which is supposed to provide people who live in rural and isolated areas the access to psychologists and psychiatrists. I have been seeing a psychiatrist for 7 months (need to have an assessment conducted to get a letter from he/she to apply for disability pension). I use the term 7months very loosely here. I saw this particular psychiatrist for five months and then I have been trying to find out why he told my GP I no longer wished to see him. (I never said that). So to catch to the chase. I had rung the organisation to find out what was going on and if he would see me but I needed a new referral from my GP which was sent on the 12 December 2019. They never got back to me. I rang again, to be told that they would look for another psychiatrist.
Never heard anything, and as it was Christmas time now there was no point trying again until the new year. So ring again I did. No he was not seeing me anymore, no reason. They would look for a new psychiatrist.

One week later I ring again having heard nothing, oh the Psychiatrist had been away on leave and they would imagine I would hear from him soon. Another week passes, I hear nothing.

I ring again to be told I have to wait for this person to contact me as I am on ADHD medication and he is the only psychiatrist who can prescribe in Tasmania. I say I am not on ADHD medication where did you get that information from it is incorrect. Oh. I say since I am not on that medication you could find me a psychiatrist who could see me. She says she will send some emails.

I ring back again 10 days later. No record of me not being on ADHD medication no record of the conversation I had 10 days ago and no emails sent to any other Psychiatrists. Me not so happy. Person I spoke to lovely and says she will send something of right now. Me great I have been waiting since the 12th December it is now 26 January, and I have rung several times to follow up and no one has ever contacted me. This is making me unwell having to chase all this up my anxiety CPTSD is not great.

I ask if I can speak to a supervisor, she says no one is available at the moment but someone will ring back. I ask today? Yes today. OK

I wait and wait, the office closes at 4pm I have heard nothing and it is 3.30pm so I ring. The woman I spoke with was no help I said I had been waiting for a call from the supervisor, she says did you want the office manager or the Head person, me I just want someone who can help resolve this. She then went on to tell me emails had been sent before, I said are you meaning the emails that were sent this morning? No before that. Really how come you are the first person to tell me this, as the woman I spoke to this morning said nothing had been sent and she would email them. So would you give me the dates these emails were sent please. She was reluctant to do this. I again asked for the dates, and said to her I felt that I was getting a bumsteer from this company.

I also found out that the actual second referral from my GP which was faxed on the 12.12.19 (I rang my GP to confirm) was not put into this companies system until the 06/01/2020. No explanation available as they did not close the office until 24/12/19

In the course of this conversation I discovered there was no record of one of my phone calls and the conversation from that date. I as an RN/RPN (no longer working) stated that legally that was a huge error. I had called and there was no record of it! I said in a legal situation the courts would say if its not documented it did not happen, and that is wrong in so many ways in a medical setting to not have a record of a clients call documented. I said I would be contacting the Ombudsman in regard to that. I also said I had a right to know when the emails were sent I did not want to know who too. Just the date they were sent. She then admitted they were sent that morning! UGGh! I was feeling so angry.

I was so fed up and I could feel I was being triggered and my anger was beginning. I hung up not expecting to hear from anyone today.

A few minutes later I got a call from the person in charge. I had managed to calm myself a bit in the interim time, but I just waited for her to begin the conversation as she had rung me. She begins with there is no issue about the phone call not being recorded. I disputed this. I also requested that I wished to make a formal complaint about the process and what had occurred with the documentation she refused saying that me speaking to her was dealing with it. I said NO I wanted it to be documented as a formal complaint so it would go to the governing body. or whomever. As medical notes had to be kept objectively and correctly again I stated that in a legal situation the fact my phone call and the information was not documented in my notes meant it did not happen. How many other clients were having this sort of treatment? She did not like my attitude. She then said my previous psychiatrist did not want to see me. I said sorry is that documented? Where did you get this information? She did not respond. I said he sent my GP a letter saying I no longer wanted to see him, and that was not correct, as could be seen as I had rung up (and fortunately that had been documented twice) to say I did want to see him.
If she had records saying he did not want to see me, than they should be sent to my GP, as the information she had was incorrect. As a mental health client that could go against me, if the Disability people thought I did not want to see the psychiatrist. I was so upset and my anger was rising. I just wanted to get an appointment with a psychiatrist, there are no psychiatrist available in the southern area of Tasmania that bulk bill. I can not afford to pay to see one at all. I was crying by this point and had to hang up.
She rang me back about 10mins later, saying she hoped I had calmed down…I really battled to not bite her head off.. I let her talk, she said she had tried to ring 2 psychiatrists but no one was answering. She had left messages. I said is that all? yes I hung up. I was drained exhausted frustrated and just shattered.

The next morning I rang and lodged a complaint about information not being documented in my records and asking for a copy of the information that says the psychiatrist I had been seeing no longer wanted to see me. Not that I did not want to see him. I wanted my GPs records to be amended. I had to do that on the computer which at least was not a huge form.

I just can not cope. I do but it takes so much out of me. I get fixated and then begin to think if I am struggling and I am sort of better than I was, in some ways, how would anyone who was more unwell deal with any of this, and like with my Centrelink ban, I think many people would just give up and try and struggle on.

The concept of these Skype meetings is full of good intentions. But having people who have no idea and seem to not want to know anything about you but just give you drugs, (and Yes the meds I’m on are helping my brain but other areas are blah..like constantly weary. I sleep 12+hours with some weird really weird dreams, for a week or more and then I have a few nights were I am up all night, It is part of the have a brain that is functioning, or not symptoms.

Yet when I create a post such as this I see my mind is a bit all over the place, and I really struggle with paperwork. I am so fed up with what seems to me having to resolve things that I as the person with a mental illness should not have too. I am exhausted by the dealings of it all and my reaction is to begin to close myself off again. Not look at the phone, not communicate with other bloggers, not go and get the food I need. It was really only because my dogs needed their food for the fortnight that I ended up going out today. Then I am out for so long as I usually run into people who want to chat. Even today, I had rung and ordered my dogs meat, on Monday, and the person who took my order did not get it right. I had a few kilos in the freezer at home which would have got me over the long weekend(which I was oblivious too). So I was able to manage the situation in a no major issue kind of way, which was positive.

I keep reminding myself to be aware and to breathe, to acknowledge the feeling but not let it rule me. I also am getting better at saying to my little me that I the adult person am in charge and will deal with it.
I am really happy to be finding so many amazing bloggers out there I especially love wordpress.com/read/feeds/36149739/posts/2580354980, Charlies writing and his artwork make me smile and light a spark inside me wanting to be creative again. Yet for the moment I have to put that on hold for a few days.

I am really thankful that as a hoarder, (I have not shared that here before) I actually am really conscientious about what I am bringing in to my home. For quite a while I was gathering boxes, so many boxes cardboard and today the dog meat came in two cardboard boxes, and I know that they will go out in my car port(now devoid of cardboard boxes) but I will use them and put them on the grass in my veggie area that I am trying to get rid of. I threw a fair few of the other ones away as it was very big problem into recycling. I was somewhere else today and I was offered a box to carry some things (breakables) but I said thank You but I won’t and explained that I hoarded them! Wow was I so happy that not only I said no, but I reiterated out loud the reason why I did not want a box. I knew I had two already. If I had a third that I could do without, and I said NO huge step forward.

As a hoarder I also have to look at anything I am bringing home in any multiples. For example I got several large bowls at the tip shop(which is where I was offered the box) and a few pie dishes all glass or pottery. Plus I needed to replace my microwave glass plate that spins having broken my 18 months ago. I was tempted by so much stuff, and the constant thing in my head was you do not need that you are trying to de clutter, and not hoard, you are hear for large bowels for bird baths and drinking bowls for wild life. (some of my old plastic ones are deteriorating and need to be replaced). So I came home with four bowels, on microwave plate and this was a near miss in the hoarder scenario, as I there were five different sizes and not being sure of the size I almost bought the five. Self talk and I looked at them all and from somewhere inside my brain, take this one and if it is not right I am sure they would let you do a simple swap next timer! YES wonderful. I got the one I chose home and it fitted. Yippee.

So along with the part of my brain that is not functioning well and the constant tiredness, some aspects are going well.

The other thing is I am doing OK. I do think some of my reactions in dealing with the psych 2 U people were anxiety driven, I am no closer to having my assessment for DSP than I was nearly 8 months ago which is frustrating. I was about to write that I was also worrying about the new person changing medications, and I could feel myself reacting, and my auto anxiety responses physical sensations begin, and into my head came…not much point worrying about that now, you have five weeks before your appointment.

I am thankful I have an appointment, I am thankful that I am on meds that have some positives that out weigh the negatives, I am thankful for the wonderful bloggers who I enjoy reading, seeing their creativity and learning and sharing experiences with each other.

blessings Tazzie

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