Choice? Or Compulsion?

It has been a long time since I have posted on my hoarding blog.  I wish that I could say that I have been spending the time decluttering my house.  I can’t.

I wish that I could say that my paths were wider.  I can’t.

I wish I could say that I am bringing less things into my house.  Well, maybe.

But maybe not.

I think that I am, maybe, getting rid of at least as many things as I bring in.  The piles of stuff, for the most part, are not getting bigger.  And I know I have been putting more things in the trash.

But I want to do so much more.

Or do I?

I was talking to a friend about something last night.  He said that he couldn’t do a certain something.  I replied that it wasn’t a matter of “Couldn’t” it was a matter of choice.  He was choosing not to do something.  I truly believe that.  It is a choice that he has decided to make.

But ever since that conversation, I have been thinking about my own hoarding issues.  Is my hoarding, are all these piles of junk in my house – is this a choice?  Or is this a compulsion?

I believe that it has been a compulsion, for years.  However, it is a compulsion that I am working on changing.  Although I haven’t been posting on my hoarding blog, I have been talking about hoarding to a counselor.  I have been working even more on understanding my compulsion to collect and save.

As I understand my compulsion to hoard, I am working on changing that compulsion.  My counselor commented a few weeks ago that I don’t refer to the excess things in my house as treasures anymore.  It has become “stuff.”  And even more often, it has become “Junk”  or even “Trash.”  I look at my house and I think “I don’t want to live like this anymore.  I want my house free of clutter, free of junk, free of trash.  I want space and beauty in my life.  I want this to be a home, not a junkyard.”

And as I work on the compulsions to hoard, I am trying to change the compulsion into a decision.  One of the trademarks of hoarders is that they have a hard time making decisions.  It is hard to get rid of things because there are so many possibilities for each item.  It is hard to decide what is best to keep, what is best to discard.  One time, I cleaned out one of my kitchen drawers, and found four or five working cheese cutters, and two broken ones.  I threw the broken ones away, kept two, gave my dad one, at his request, and put the rest into a get rid of bag.  And as I did that, I asked myself “why did I keep the broken ones, when I had several good ones?”  It was “Just in case.”  Just in case the broken parts might be used to fix other broken ones.  Did I keep those broken ones by choice?  Or by compulsion?

Choice?  Or Compulsion?  I believe it has been compulsion.  Subconscious mechanisms to protect a wounded heart.  But the protective mechanism of hoarding ends up hurting even more, in other ways.  I am tired of hurting from my hoarding.   I have been working on changing the compulsion to choice.  Why?  I can’t do a lot about compulsion.  But choice?  I can choose to make a different decision.

And while I have been pondering that conversation I had last night, and while I have been pondering the differences between choice and compulsion, today I have put away some stuff that was just lying around, I have thrown away some old mail/trash that was cluttering up the place, I have sorted through and emptied three boxes, and I have filled three bankers boxes, and started on three more.  They are labeled Misc., Kitchenware, Clothes, Kids stuff, SCA interest, and Books.  I plan on labeling more, as I go through more of the piled up boxes that are in my living room.

These boxes are full of items that I am choosing to let go.

My hoarding might still be a compulsion.  But I am slowly learning to make the decisions, like starting counseling, that I hope will turn compulsion into decision, and decisions that I can choose to change.

I can decide to make my life better, one step, one box, at a time.

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