Authors: Judy Nicholas, NSW
Event: 2011 TheMHS Conference
Subject: CONSUMERS, SERVICE-USER, lived experience, personal stories
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: My husband and I were both diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 40 years ago, which is often associated with compulsive hoarding. As problems emerged in our relationship I came to increasingly acquire clothes, decorations and appliances. Shopping sprees gave me an interest, brought me joy and buried my depression about my failing marriage. Over time the clutter grew to bulge out of cupboards, block passageways and make whole rooms unusable. I no longer invited visitors to the home, which impacted on my quality of life. I was in denial for many years, until finally I appreciated my husband's frustration and agreed to join a specialised treatment program at the University of Western Sydney. Initially I was horrified and confronted when my daughter took photos of the house to show the psychologist. However, the psychologist's empathy, explanations and guidance reassured me and I set about de-cluttering gradually, room by room. I found it easier to part with belongings when I passed them onto someone who would use them. Two years later I continue to de-clutter and am pleased with the progress I have made.