Self-isolating for Covid-19 – and perhaps working from home – gives a fresh perspective of what it means to be caught in a bubble of time. The world beyond becomes less relevant, until we no longer feel like contacting friends.
Our own private rituals become more important instead. If an email drops into the box we prefer to finish what we are doing first. This could be a defining moment for understanding why compulsive hoarders resist a hoarded house clearance as strongly as they do.
Introverting Personality while Self-Isolating for Covid-19
WebMD says a third to a half of Americans are introverts. We might be forgiven for not noticing based on some of their politicians. Perhaps we should have the following characteristics on our clipboards next time we tune in to the news:
- Introverted people are reflective and need peace and quiet to concentrate
- They take time making decisions and are at ease being alone on their own
- Introverted people don’t enjoy group tasks; being in a crowd tires them out
- They have few friends but have close relationships with chosen ones
- Introverted people solve problems by daydreaming or imagining solutions
- When they need rest they retreat into the solitude of their own minds
Many British people are, if anything as inward-looking. If that reminds you of a compulsive hoarder you know, you are on the right track. If you are self-isolating for Covid-19 then you may have a fresh perspective of their secret world. A world in which a hoarders house clearance is not something to mention in polite company.
Are We Sharing What Compulsive Hoarders Go Through?
Elaine Birchall and Suzanne Cronkwright have an interesting take on this thought in Psychology Today. They suggest the non-hoarding majority are sharing the feeling of being overwhelmed, and helpless in the face of a situation with which they are unable to cope.
Mayo Clinic believes stressful life events trigger compulsive hoarding. These might include the death of a loved one, a divorce, an eviction or losing possessions in a fire, for example. Later we’ll review how self-isolating for Covid-19 could result in a transient shadow of this in our own minds.
However, we will mainly be grieving for temporary losses
Those of us in voluntary shelter, or mandatory quarantine for Covid-19 are feeling temporary pain, for example when:
- We can’t be with loved ones to share birthdays and special celebrations
- Sometimes we are unable to do simple things like walking the dog on the beach
- At other times we have to defer a longed-for holiday to celebrate a notable anniversary
Sometimes though the losses will be permanent …
- We might not be able to say goodbye to a loved one in intensive care
- We might have to forgo their funeral after they died from the virus
Of course, we would still have our channels open despite all of this. We can liaise with friends and family knowing the outbreak will end and life will eventually return to normal.
While Imagining Self-Isolating for Covid-19 Picture This
We have safe digital methods to communicate with friends. We could have virtual dinner parties through the power of audio-visual. If we have friends self-isolating for Covid-19 during the lock down we can support each other because we understand.
However, people with compulsive hoarding disorder find themselves in a different situation. They may have broken away from a hostile world wanting them to agree to a hoarded house clearance, and a care home. They have no one to reach out to as they look out and see the streets empty outside. What ought we to do for them at a time like this?
Understanding Compulsive Hoarding Responses to Covid-19
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) promotes a better quality of life for those with a variety of disorders through practice, education, and research. Their thoughts are relevant to our topic hoarding disorder, because anxiety and depression co-travel with it.
The AADA views hoarding as a spectrum condition ranging from behaviour commonly found in the population, to clinical symptoms requiring professional intervention. Many of us display these harmless indicators:
- Acquiring unnecessary amounts of consumable items for future use
- Hanging on to things that we no longer require, or may never use
Clinically worrisome symptoms are extreme examples of the above behaviour. They often result in the accumulation of clutter rendering some rooms in their home unusable. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America believes most of us fall somewhere on the compulsive hoarding spectrum depending on our stress levels.
Humans (and animals) display increased hoarding drive in times of crisis. Their scramble to secure extra resources can cause problems for them, and their community. (AADA)
The Outbreak Is Piling on Stress for Those Self-Isolating for Covid-19
People are extremely worried about losing their jobs, or having to work harder to cover for others who lost theirs. Those self-isolating for Covid-19 have the added burden of sourcing their essential supplies.
Even people low down on the compulsive hoarding spectrum can start gathering unneeded supplies as they fret over their finances and their ability to pay their way. Just ‘doing something like shopping’ gives them a false sense of control the AADA explains. However there is a big catch to this:
The illusion of being in control cannot sustain on its own. We have to dive into the next hoarding cycle to extend it. This can continue for as long as the anxiety trigger continues to torment us.
When the Compulsive Form of Hoarding Spins Out of Control
We hope you find reading this article as insightful and we did researching it. It has convinced us, once again that compulsive hoarding is not a ‘crazy’ condition we can lock away and forget about.
Instead, we believe it is society’s task to help hoarders live successfully with their syndrome. To us this means allowing them to continue accumulating safely, without affecting quality of life of their families, and neighbours.
We are however not psychologists or social workers. It is their task to prepare the way for us because they are trained and equipped. We have noticed an uptick in requests to assist with hoarders house clearances recently.
A Bespoke House Hoarded House Clearance When Necessary
If you know of hoarder who has stuffed their home full of things they may never need, until it looks more like a back street pawn shop we can assist with a partial house clearance. Avery Associates provides a bespoke, discreet house clearance service for friends and family members of compulsive hoarders who have decided their homes need clearing.
We employ de-cluttering experts who are people people, and are there to help. We may call in house cleaning specialists afterwards to tidy up, but only if you request it.
Avery Associates are here to help. Please contact us when convenient on 0800 567 7769 or 0208 640 00 44, or email firstname.lastname@example.org as suits you best.