Three million of us ‘officially’ hoard in the UK although that may only be the top of the iceberg. The NHS finally admitted to the reality in 2013 although it had been going on for a long time.
People regularly buried silver coins in fields in the wild days before Britain became a parliamentary democracy. These may have been just-in-case stashes or attempts to avoid royal levies. Nobody knows for sure.
The Trend Continues Today But Where Does it Start?
Mail Online raises an interesting thought. Are untidy teenage bedrooms a sign of rebellion, or an inability to tidy up and throw away the junk? Another imponderable is the extent to which a hoarding parent influences a growing child. Certainly, there is ample evidence that upbringing produces at least half the adult person.
There’s no official dividing line between a person who keeps mementos and a hoarder either. The elements flow into each other as happens on the boundaries of climate zones cartographers demarcate with straight lines.
There Are Probably More Than 3 Million UK Hoarders
There are probably many more hoarders than the estimated three million, depending on the definition we use. The Guardian believes some hoarders suffer in silence because they are too embarrassed to ask for help.
The evolution is far from simple. Some only emerge when they are aged and need medical help. So what are the signs to look for, remembering there are hoarders of every generation in Britain.
The Early Warning Signs of Compulsive Hoarding
The word ‘compulsive’ comes from the same root as ‘compel’. This speaks of an ‘irresistible urge’ to do something to the extent we are unable to resist. “It’s often quite a secret illness,” a retired antique dealer told The Guardian. “It’s very, very difficult for people to empathise with you because it looks very silly.
“It looks like you’re a lazy idiot and can’t ‘get off your backside’ but I’ve suffered depression all of my life. I say to people: ‘I would love to invite you round for coffee but I’m afraid I can’t – you couldn’t get through my front room.”
The early signs include being unable to get rid of things we could do without. The warning is clear when the collection becomes unmanageable and starts to affect the person’s lifestyle. If rooms can’t be used for household purposes anymore then that that’s often a sign something should be done.
Hoarding usually only bites deep in adults over fifty. However the early signs may have been clear in their teens if anybody knew to look. If your teen can’t part with something they don’t use any more, then perhaps it’s time to ask why.
However You Don’t Have to Do Something Necessarily
Hoarding is an outward sign of anxiety and depression. These are the real pain points the hoarding act tries to anaesthetise for a while. If you have a hoarder and you really care, then the causes of those underlying emotions are where you should start.