By Peter Murphy
As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” neither can one’s challenges with hoarding and cluttering be overcome quickly. First, it takes acknowledging that there’s a problem, and then looking for help.
This process itself isn’t simple or easy for most of us with hoarding and cluttering challenges. Like other obsessive activities such as drinking problems, gambling issues, compulsive eating and drug addiction – individuals without the problem are left asking, ‘why would someone choose to live this way?’ This isn’t a choice. There is no simple answer. Personally, I spent a lot of time trying to understand my unhealthy behavior and impulses, before I was willing to do anything about them.
For those without hoarding and cluttering challenges, it may seem simple – just clear out the items! I have been involved with helping others do this, and had clean-outs myself. Maybe Rome can be dismantled in a day? I have seen these clean-outs provide some temporary relief but not long-term recovery, which is an ongoing process. Becoming discouraged in facing the challenges of hoarding and cluttering is very common. Most of us have tried, on our own, to deal with our overcrowded spaces, and de-cluttering our lives. Reaching out for support, and seeing that we are not alone is a huge step in finding recovery. Even with the support, becoming discouraged is not uncommon. The dynamic between continuing to acquire, and needing to discard can remain problematic.
This leads to the concept of resilience and overcoming hoarding. One of the highlights of this year’s conference will be the presentation by Dr. Satwant Singh, Nurse Consultant in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Clinical Lead for a primary care psychological service in London. He has co-facilitated the London Hoarding Treatment Group since 2005. He also co-authored Overcoming Hoarding: A self-help guide using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques. This work is a comprehensive guide to all the stages of dealing with the challenges of hoarding, including determining if one has a problem, finding support and motivation, and taking action to make progress towards recovery. Dr. Singh’s work seeks to empower the reader, and frequently uses the expression “reclaiming your space and your life.”
While Dr. Singh is an expert in the field of hoarding and cluttering, he has chosen to focus on resilience and overcoming hoarding for his presentation at this year’s International Conference on Hoarding and Cluttering. Maintaining gains, and preventing relapse will be discussed in Dr. Singh’s breakout session, as well as ways to remain hopeful and resilient throughout
the process of recovery. It’s very exciting to have Dr. Singh join us for this year’s conference and to provide his perspective based on his years of experience. The study of hoarding and collecting behaviors is relatively new. This is a great opportunity for us to learn from Dr. Singh and explore this new topic of resilience. Personally, I am hopeful this presentation will help me in my ongoing recovery.