Anonymous asked in HealthMental Health · 6 months ago

Am I switching from one mental coping mechanism to another?

I learnt hoarding can also develop due to traumatic past. I grew up in an abusive environment, and even after my parents separated, I had few issues, such as oblivious of my surroundings, social anxiety, uncontrollable anger, and messy room. On top of that, I had a few childhood items I didn't throw away until recently; e.g. a money-box I kept for 15 years.

I'm 22 now, and threw away every item from my childhood (useless stuff such as a thread or even an old computer mouse I bizarrely didn't want to throw away.) My current philosophy is: something not used for two years, discard. Does that make me a hoarder?

Or is this new drive for cleanliness another form of coping mechanism? According to my therapist, I know exactly all that's wrong with me and I don't need psychiatric treatment, and yet I didn't realise how I was hoarding...?...

Can anyone guide me kindly.

1 Answer

  • 6 months ago

    Although hoarding can be some type of coping mechanism to a traumatic event, it is usually not due to abuse, but of a traumatic loss. Like if you lost somebody close to you, and then want to keep everything all the time, because you want to keep memories alive, whether it has to do with that person or not.

    Hoarding is also commonly associated with OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) and also ADD. The reasons for each is completely different though.

    OCD is when people develop obsessive activities as a coping mechanism to appease an anxiety.

    Hoarding related to having OCD, is due to anxieties of thinking they need it and fear if they get rid of it, then something bad will happen in the future and they won't have it then, even if this unknown future hypothetical event where they think they may need it, would never realistically occur, or even if it would occur, that things would be so terrible if they didn't have this item.

    If due to ADD/ADHD, then it could just be that they forgot why they don't need it, and are unorganized, and seems too much trouble to figure out whether they need it or not, so just keep it, to come back to later, i.e. because they are procrastinators.

    If you're now throwing things away if it hasn't been used in more than 2 years, sounds like you're just learning to make sure you are not keeping things you don't need, to keep your life and living space decluttered, so not sure why you would think that this makes you a hoarder, when you are doing the opposite, but if you're doing this because you have no ability to rationalize in any other way, so make arbitrary rules, maybe you still have a problem, and need to get to the bottom of it.

    Like, try and just make sure you rationally think about it. Like right now, your rule is if not used in two years, throw it away.

    Okay, well, are there things you may not use in two years, but are something you'd want to keep? Like is it expensive, and something that would not be obsolete? Like, my car has a spare tire. I have not had to use it in 2 years, but I obviously would not throw it away.

    However, it has a nice home under the floor boards of the trunk and is not cluttering up my trunk, and tires are expensive, and if I got a flat tire, it's good to have a spare. Or like a fancy tent. Maybe it was expensive, and maybe you didn't go camping in the last two years, but if you like camping, and do plan to camp again in the future, when you do want to go camping again, you'd have to have a tent, and if you throw it away, then you'd have to get a new one. And tents can be expensive.

    A computer mouse, is cheap, and technology changes, and laptops often don't need a mouse, and if you absolutely needed a mouse, you can buy one for cheap.

    So I mean, just make sure you're using your best logic. And bring others into it if you have trouble, like if you're not sure, just ask somebody. Like, do you think I should keep this? Or should I throw it away? But it sounds like you're already making changes already and using rational thought, and so I don't think you're a hoarder. But if you're worried about it, and/or worried you're prone to hoarding, you can always seek professional help if you need to, and go to a counselor, and talk to them about it. Good luck.

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    • Cherry blossoms
      Lv 5
      6 months agoReport

      I was mature as a kid, but since teens regressed into childish with tantrums; been trying to change that (22 now) but habits like these are really bothering and concerning me. No money for counseling RN, so seeking help online. I honestly have no idea what to do, &given my age, depresses me further.

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