Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Shhhh... don't tell

There is a part of my life I keep secret. It’s not a fun secret either (I’m no Hanna Montana) my secret is more complicated than just a double life. Wanna know what it is? Wait, I’m not ready to tell -and yet… I am. I’m tired of keeping this secret. I need to vent, to share, to open up, to SCREAM, and… I need validation. Maybe I’m not crazy, maybe I’m not alone, maybe, just maybe there are others like me who are keeping the same secret. O.K. I’m definitely being a little overdramatic here, and also a little untruthful. I happen to know already that there are others who suffer as I do. I found an online support group a while back and every now and then I get on and vent. The thing is, the group is prohibited to outsiders. Only people possessing the same secret are allowed, this makes it a nice safe, comfortable environment for us to share with each other. And I like it, I need it, sometimes I crave it (does that make me crazy?), just knowing that there are others out there who suffer as I do makes me feel more "normal". And believe me the people are like me - A LOT like me, and like me they hide their secret from those around them. Sometimes when I am reading one of their posts I have to keep glancing down to see the author, because I could have sworn it was written by me.

What I really want to know is what would happen if the so called “normal” people really knew about me (about people like me) and my struggles with this “secret”. What if everyday, run of the mill people could "walk a mile in our shoes"? What if they delved a little deeper than those so called television specials that highlight people's secrets for shock value, for the fabulous quick fix, for the before and after (but not really after) so we can boost our ratings factor.

So I'm starting this blog to write about my secret. I have another blog, it’s the one about my “real” life - the hubby, the kids, the daily grind of motherhood. It’s for my family, my friends, the in-laws, and people from my past who might want to see me now. That blog is about letting people who know me see my wonderful life. It is for everyone to look and say "Hey, she still looks good, I can't believe she's had four kids" and "What a lovely little life she has carved out for herself". Oh and let's not forget "Everything she does looks so perfect, I wish I could be her". Of course I'm not telling any of those people about this blog... not yet anyway. This blog will be reserved solely for my secret, how to cope daily with it, how to overcome it (if that's even remotely possible), and most importantly how to merge my two selves into one well adjusted, comfortable in my own shoes kind of self! It should be an interesting sojourn, and I long for some company. Please feel free to join me.

Oh yeah, oops... I almost forgot to tell you my secret, here goes [me taking a deep breath] ...
I grew up as a child of an obsessive compulsive hoarder and I struggle daily with many, many insecurities and leftover issues.

Yes, just like those "crazy" people you've seen on Oprah. I'm one of them, or rather I'm a product of one of them. This is about me and my so called "double" life. I think I'll leave it at that for today, I need a little space (something I didn't get much of as a child).


marshmallowmouse said...

I am one of those children, too, Jamie. It does seem simple on the shows - just come in and clean, decorate nicely, and admonish the resident to keep it nice this time. But let's face it, with a compulsive disorder, that does not really work. Those shows never try to do this with drinkers, druggies, or gamblers, do they? That is because you can't just dry someone out and make life right overnight. Same with hoarding. Thanks for "coming out."

Donna said...

Look forward to reading more about how you merge your two identities and your journey to healing and peace.

There is a huge lack of awareness about how children are affected by everything that goes along with having a parent who hoards and what that does to the child & family dynamics. Not to mention that it doesn't end when you simply move out of the house.

Keep writing and I'll be reading!

Monica Ricci said...

Jamie, thank you for commenting on my blog. Would you mind if I wrote a blog post describing and linking to your blog one of these days? Thanks!
Monica Ricci

Jamie said...

I wouldn't mind at all. Thanks for dropping by.

Susan said...

I am so impressed with your writing and your honesty.

You are not living a double life. YOU are not the hoard or the hoarder.

You will never 'win' with your mother. She will never give you the validation that you deserve. You have to let her go, let go the hope that she will suddenly smack her head, realize what she did to you, and beg for your forgiveness. It's not going to happen. Give up the fight. It's not about you, it's about HER, and for her it will ALWAYS be that way. She comes first. She can't help it and she won't change it, for whatever reason. (Does the reason even matter?) The sooner you can let her and hoard go, the sooner the focus in your life will be where it should be, on yourself, your husband and your children. Don't waste energy on your mother. She will never be who you want her to be and she will never give you what you wanted and needed as a child. Don't waste anymore of your life focusing on her. She ruined your childhood, don't let her ruin your adulthood. Your children deserve to have your focus on them, and not on beating your head against a brick wall trying to change your mother.

Just my thoughts, as a daughter of a narcissist who had a bloody head for decades.


elanor said...

thank you so much for writing the truth about living with hoarder. my mum was like this. I wasted years of my adult life cleaning her house with no effect at all. Now I understand that this is a mental illness.

Last year I had to pack up my mums house and put her in a nursing home. The overwhelming shame I had lived with for years engulfed me all over again. She lived in a very small 2 bedroom unit. We took 3 tonnes of rubbish to the dump and carload of stuff to the thrift shops.

The house was just filthy. The shame was horrendous as my children actually go to see what it was really like. I saw the looks of disgust and just brokedown crying. I felt like I was back in my childhood again.

sorry for the long post, but I know exactly what you mean about living a double life. Bless you for sharing on this blog :)

Anonymous said...

I am so impressed with your writing and your openness. I married a man whose late wife hoarded. He and I are the ones cleaning out the house. The kids don;t help or worse yet...they seems to display the same tendancies. It's such a shame. They don't want to waste anything,they can't understand the waste happened long ago. in time with loved ones, in money to buy junk, in lost relationships. keep on keeping on. I admire you!