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Affected persons Hoarders’ Helpers

People affected by Hoarding Disorder – Clients

Text of a client from Southern Germany:

... about my fears. “Sure, fear was my constant companion. Only this year I heard the phrase that the opposite of love is not hate but fear. How true. And in this fear, one is no longer worth anything to oneself, is bashing oneself, feels like a failure, places others on a pedestal. The fear of being discovered as a hoarder. Sometimes the fear was so strong that I got sick, I could not get up, was stripped of all my strength. Already in August I was afraid of the next January, because that’s when the radiator meter-reading takes place. I have not opened my door whenever anyone rang the bell. My biggest panic would occur when I thought that someone would have to come into my home, for example, due to a water main burst. But also that I would need someone’s assistance. A few times my toilet has continued to run after I flushed it. It only stopped with turning off the cold water main, but this way I could not do any dishes, which I then also stopped at some point, nor could I do any laundry. But for some reason, the toilet flushing mechanism somehow stopped again at some point. My fears grew bigger and bigger and my door bell was also ringing quite often, which then caused me to seal the spy hole, so that one could not see light in my appartment. Last winter, I often sat in the dark, so that no lights could be seen from outside the windows. For a long time, I was not "alive" in my apartment, because I completely filled myself up with wine within a short time. Usually I drank my liter of wine from 6:15 to 8:00 p.m., in the end even more, "filed" the empty bottle on the mountain of stuff around the couch table, and then went to bed. On the weekends I took care of my mother, went shopping with her, then sometimes even cooked for her and then came home around 2:00 p.m.

Since the shelves in the kitchen and the table were stacked (trashed) with stuff, I simply put my shopping bags on the floor without unpacking them, thus the food spoiled in said bags on the floor ... week after week. ...

I then sat down on the couch or in front of the computer and started to drink ... Even when I left my apartment, I first listened outside if I heard someone. Over time, I knew when my neighbors left the building. I had a little more contact with one neighbor. She realized at some point that I do not open the door, so she just called me or wrote a text message when she wanted something. In the end my apartment door would not fully open for a long time, so I had to push myself through a gap to get out and come in.

Of course, the stench was awful too--sometimes more, sometimes less. At some point I started to try out all the artificial sprays. Late at night when no one else was awake, I opened the appartment door and sprayed the door frame with the "stuff" so that the stench was more or less covered. My work ... I only managed because I had so much routine and I hope with all my heart that I never made a mistake ...

When someone called to see if he could stop by, I immediately had some flimsy excuse. If one does that for many years, nobody asks anymore. I often canceled appointments, movies, trips to the theater, because I could not get up, also because of the alcohol, so a lot of people surely did not want to ask anymore whether I would go out with them.

One of the first sentences Michael Schröter told me on the phone was that a reason for compulsive hoarding/trashing is social isolation and he was right. I had had a circle of friends and acquaintances, but almost all of them had become parents within a few years, and then one is no longer part of said circle as a single.

I'm not blaming anyone, that would be stupid, but it was just one of many pieces to the puzzle of how I got this way. This is also something that I have now tackled again after the cleaning, to "resurrect" social contacts, to meet people again and not to cancel appointments. And that’s doing me good.

Text from a client from Bavaria:

“My apartment is fine. I "nip things in the bud" as one says. I clean the apartment and now pick up every little piece. I take the garbage down daily and will never again let it pile up like it used to. The fridge is also empty and even cleaned. A new one is bought and will be installed tomorrow. Besides, I engaged a cleaning lady from next week on who will ensure that the apartment remains clean.

But thank you once more that you and your team have enabled me to start a new life.

Thanks to you I have now again won the joy of life. I am looking forward to my "new" apartment every day after the end of my working day and will never let the compulsive hoarding take over again. The thing that helped me the most was when you told me that you and your team said that it's sure worth it to declutter here, because you thought I would make it!! That’s all the incentive a hoarder can ask for.

Again thanks a million and I am forever in your debt.”

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