It’s okay to feel bad about hoarding and living in a messy house. Shame and blame are yesterday’s news. And lots of people have extra stuff they don’t need. If you have clutter whoop diddy do.
Feeling embarrassed and ashamed is doesn’t fix anything. And ignoring the clutter isn’t going to make it go away.
Time to get out the magnifying glass and look clutter and hoarding in the eye and together we’ll take this head-on.
Embrace Your Feelings
Did you know that it’s okay to feel bad about hoarding and having a messy house? Because when we feel bad, we’re acknowledging our feelings. And when we acknowledge our feelings, we then have a choice of what to do next.
I want to differentiate feeling bad from the blame and shame that comes with being a hoarder. What I want us to do is embrace the feeling, not get rid of it. When you embrace negative emotions, it increases your well-being.
I Had Migraines
Now, I discovered the concept of embracing my feelings early in my career. I’ve had a cleaning business for about 30 years, but I figured this out when I had a series of migraine headaches. Every day, I would wake up with a massive pounding in my head.
I couldn’t figure out what it was, but my first go-to was annihilation. What I was trying to do was mask the pain so I could just get through the day. We do that a lot with hoarding.
Masking the Bad Feelings
We have clutter and stuff in our house, and we don’t like the way it makes us feel. So, we try to get rid of that feeling by going out and about. And when we go out, that puts us out in society where there’s shopping and fast food. All these things only contribute to making us feel good for a short time, but it doesn’t cure the problem.
Now, in trying to stop my headache, I took over-the-counter medications like Aleve and ibuprofen. But these just masked the pain, it didn’t make the pain disappear.
I Didn’t Function at 100%
And so, I wasn’t 100% on my A game. In fact, it was only like 50%, even with the masking of the pain. When I looked at my sleeping patterns, I realized I’m not sleeping well when I have the migraines. I’m not creative. I’m not able to write books or make sales calls or those kinds of things, because I just don’t feel well.
When my head is just splitting, I can’t exercise or do activities that should make me feel better. I don’t feel like going out or socializing or hosting parties and having friends over. I didn’t feel like I was fully living when I had the migraine headaches.
Permission to Feel Bad
So, instead of just masking the pain and hoping the bad feelings go away, I gave myself permission to feel my negative emotions. What happens if I feel the pain and I feel the headache?
Well, now I can do some research on it and be like a detective to figure out where the pain is coming from. This is where we say, “It’s okay to feel the pain of being a hoarder or living in a messy house.”
It Wasn’t Sleep
When you feel the pain, now you have choices. Instead of just trying to make it go away, what we can do is find solutions.
So, with the headache, I asked myself, “Is it my sleep?” Because this is affecting my sleep.
Well, I changed my sleeping patterns and started going to bed and getting up earlier. But I still had the migraine headaches, so it wasn’t my sleep.
It Wasn’t Stress
Then I said, “Maybe it’s my stress levels.” So, I started looking at my stress levels in my business, and I started outsourcing some things.
But even though I changed my business structure, I still had the migraine headaches. And I thought, isn’t that peculiar? I thought it was one of these two things, but I still felt bad.
It Wasn’t Exercise
And so, I said, “Well, maybe if I just exercise and I power through this, then that will make the headache go away.”
I tried running and getting my body moving. It didn’t work. I still had the massive splitting, pounding headaches.
So, next I said, “Maybe it has to do with something I’m eating.” And I discovered that the headaches lasted about 24 hours before they wore off. But they would come right back.
It Was My Diet
So, I stopped eating everything that I was eating and I ate some new things, and the headaches went away. “Wait a second. There’s something in my normal pattern of eating that’s triggering those headaches.”
I started to reintroduce small traces of things back into my diet. Then I narrowed the problem down to MSG, a food enhancer that comes with many processed foods.
MSG Caused the Migraines
When I get enough MSG in my system, it triggers a migraine that will give me 24 hours of massive head pain. My life just shuts down. And I said, “Well, isn’t that interesting?”
And now I have choices. I can still eat the food, but I have choices. My choice is to feel good every single day, so I have to avoid foods that have MSG.
Don’t Avoid Feeling Bad, It’s Okay
Now, what does that have to do with hoarding? Well, you can’t just get rid of the hoard by masking it and saying, “Oh, I’m not going to go home to my house.”
You can’t say “I’m going to just watch TV,” or “I’m going to do things that make me feel good.” That won’t solve the root of the problem.
You can’t ignore it and hope the hoard takes care of itself. That’s like me taking the ibuprofen or the Aleve. All that does is mask the pain for a bit, but the we’re not living life to the fullest. Remember, it’s okay to feel bad about hoarding.
How Does Hoarding Affect Your Life?
I want you to stop for a second and look at the same scenarios. How is hoarding or living in a messy house affecting your sleep? How is it affecting your relationships?
Do you want to hang out with other people, and do you want to invite them over to your house? How is this affecting your creativity? Are you able to do the arts and crafts and writing and other things that you enjoy, or is there an obstacle?
Just stop for just a second and say, “I’m going to give myself permission to feel the pain of what my lifestyle is causing me.” Then you have choices.
Feeling Bad Gives You Choices
Now, you can continue to live the way you are. That is a choice you have. Or you can be a detective and start changing things to find the root of the problem.
Start making small changes that might make an overarching change in your life. It’s like that big, massive headache that once you feel it and get inside of it, you can start looking around at the different elements of it. Then you can say, “Wait a second, this is not serving me well. Therefore, I would like to make a change.”
So, I don’t want you just to run away from it and pretend it doesn’t exist. And I don’t want you to just to hire somebody who’s going to come in and move all your stuff. Because if they just move your stuff, that’s like taking the ibuprofen. It’s going to mask the pain for a minute.
Find the Root of Your Bad Feelings
For a minute, you’re going to feel great. You’re going to go about your business. You’ll be able to function at 50%. But it’s going to come right back because the root of what was causing it in the first place was never cured.
So, it’s okay to feel bad about hoarding and to have a messy house. And once you are aware of what is going on, you are then able to ask different questions, and then you have choices.
If you want some support, join our Facebook group called Hoarding World. There’s a bunch of people who want to help you on your journey through your stuff. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.
Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hoardingworld
Reclaim Your Life From Hoarding: Practical Strategies for Decluttering Your Home – https://amzn.to/35R1zIU
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things – https://amzn.to/2SXEeme
Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding – https://amzn.to/364zyxT
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Therapist Guide – https://amzn.to/3jdbUqn
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Workbook – https://amzn.to/3wUQse7