An Australian lady named Judy Nicholas had an achingly deprived childhood it’s hard to come to terms with. She had to take her baths out the back in the open until she was twelve. Things improved after her parents separated, and she had her own bedroom under her mothers’ dressmaker’s bench.
“I just accepted it” she told News.Com.Au six decades later. “It was incredible, but we didn’t know we were poor,” the 75-year-old lady told their reporter.
We Didn’t Realise the Influence of Growing Up with Nothing
Judy hitched up with a man with a similar background. He had grown up in a galvanised iron shed with a dirt floor and no electricity or running water.
“We didn’t realise that our past, and living without, may have something to do with the need to gather things we had never had,” she realized in later life. The couple’s hoarding began after they took refuse to the council tip and began scavenging for curiosities to take home.
They thought it was funny until it became a cluttering problem that affected their lifestyle to the point they finally separated, and Judy was alone. Before that though, there were other sad moments that may have helped drive her into depression.
The Dark Shadows in the Background Causing the Hoarding
Doctors told the couple they both had obsessive compulsive disorder. This condition displays as excessive orderliness, perfectionism, attention to details, and a need for control in relating to others. Hence they displayed their hoard neatly until it spilled over onto the floor.
Judy lost four babies. The two daughters that survived are mentally-ill, adding to the former aged-care nurse’s burden. Her former husband called her a toxic mother and blamed her for their misfortune. “How it took me 30 years to recognise that I had become a hoarder as a result of my unhappy marriage is unbelievable,” she says.
Judy Nicholas Turns to Retail Therapy in the Absence of Other Ways Out
Judy’s post-natal depressions drove her into tobacco, alcohol and coffee abuse. She visited second-hand shops where she selected five items for $20. Her clothes collection soon filled the wardrobes but no worries she just kept buying cupboards.
She began visiting garage sales and council clean-ups where she could get more things for nothing. “I loved old treasures that I could paint and make new again,” she told News.Com.Au. However, her relationship with her husband was deteriorating rapidly as a result.
Judy Realises Her Unhappy Relationship Made Her a Hoarder
In hindsight, Judy understands he love for things overtook her affection for her husband. “How it took me 30 years to recognise that I had become a hoarder as a result of my unhappy marriage is unbelievable,” she observes.
Judy still hoards after forty years. “The main problem is discarding. I’ve learnt how not to bring stuff in but the tears and emotion come to the surface very quickly when I have to make a decision to throw something out.
“There’s something about waste — a really strong desire not to waste and throw stuff to the environment.” She continues. “You’re constantly not wanting to waste things. Clothes are the worst things. I have trouble letting them go because I place too much value on them. You’re not very sensible.”
Judy Nicholas Comes Out with Her Problem in a Support Group
The seventy-five-year-old retired aged-care nurse has found likeminded people to share life stories. “People come out of the closet here,” she explains. “We’re facing with it, bringing it out into the open and destigmatising it.”