Thursday, September 18, 2008


So it turns out hoarding isn't the only obsession my Mom has... not that I'm surprised.

My hubby was watching 20/20 the other day and he kept yelling for me to come down and watch. "You have GOT to see this" he kept saying and something to do with "your Mom".  I finally made it downstairs and sat down to watch the program.  No it wasn't about hoarding, but I did see something else that might has well have been my Mom. It was just like that time my Dad told me about "the hoarding disease" for the first time and a light went on somewhere in my head.

This was about food...  FOOD of all things! The program was all about people who took eating healthy to extremes - you can check it out HERE. It even has a name - Orthorexia.

My Mom is constantly changing her diet to include this or exclude that.  I'm not talking about little things either.  A couple of days ago she informed me that she was no longer eating meat of any kind, but she had decided (after reading some book or hearing some speech by someone) that she was going to add nuts BACK into her diet (she took them out a while back after reading a different article about how they affected some thing or other in your body).  She only eats vegetables now and some fruits.  Citrus is out because of some random possible connection to migraines, same with onions.  ABSOLUTELY NO SUGAR (I don't really disagree with this one, but I don't think it's managed to cure any of her ailments - real or imagined)!  Also, no processed foods - nothing from a box or a bag and no MSG. On top of all this, you need to know that she self-diagnosed herself about 10 yrs or so ago with gluten intolerance - so no wheat or grains of any kind - EVER.  Really all it takes is someone mentioning that "this food" might cause migraines, or cancer, or intestinal problems and Mom does a little research to back up the claim (you can find anything on the internet you know) and then it's OUT!  She also regularly (yet randomly) goes on "juice fasts".  I'm not exactly sure what they are, but I know that she eats absolutely nothing but "juice" (which I think she makes with some veggies, fruits, and possibly some herbs) for at least 10 days.  Somehow this is going to rid her body of all the toxins and "bad" stuff she has in her body, thereby curing her (from what? who knows).

I'm constantly amazed at how easy it seems for her to deny herself foods and yet how difficult it is for her to throw away a plastic yogurt container (not that she has any of those anymore because she does NOT eat dairy).

I'm also wondering how it is that she is eating so healthy, yet she never seems to get any better. To me, it seems that her health is only declining. 

Personally, I believe that her poor health is directly linked to the hoarding.  I can't put my finger on it, but I know it is a major cause of her mysterious ailments.  I once told her that if she spent even half as much time researching "hoarding" as a disease, like she does with all her other "medical" issues - then she would be able to actually see the problem and FIND a solution!  I mean she can practically starve herself without even thinking twice, but throwing away a piece of paper is like pure torture.  WHY IS THAT?

Needless to say, that did NOT go over well (possibly because my Mom does not actually believe that mental issues are real or possibly because she does not actually believe she has a problem). 

Here is a direct quote from the 20/20 article "Of course, for some people, spending so much time thinking about health food is no worse than other fanatical obsessions, like hording or compulsive shopping. But orthorexia can really hurt people."   I really love how they insinuate that compulsive hoarding and shopping don't "really" hurt people.

Of course they've never met my Mom...


Anonymous said...

I find it so odd that she would keep rotten food yet be so compulsive about what she would put in her body. Apparently what's good for the goose isn't necessarily good for the gander.

CureForCrazy said...

Wow. I just found your blog so I just started reading but your mother sounds exactly like mine. She is constantly researching new illnesses that she thinks she has, new herbal remedies and pills that she thinks will cure her, and new dietary restrictions. She is on a gluten-free diet although she now eats some dairy, which she previously avoided. She has all sorts of foods that she avoids, such as those that she believes are bad for people with her blood type. She is not an extreme hoarder, just very cluttered, although she does exhibit some hoarding behaviors.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog. I feel like you've been reading my diary! Throughout my child hood the mess was always my fault. As an adult I've spent a large part of my adulthood tryng to make up for all that I had caused her by spending thousands of dollars on storage units to keep her from being evicted. In my attempts to purge I've been called every name in the book because I've thrown something "useful" away.

I can even relate to your dilemma with your sister, as I also tried to save my mother's potentially lucrative business by dropping out of college to run things. Ha! The joke was on me.

I could go on and on, but I just wanted to say a million thanks for articulating so much of daily heaviness that I experience. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off.

Victoria said...

Hi there,
I am a young "COH" who recently has found support from this and HoarderSon's blogs. I just wanted to say thank you so much. These blog posts keep me sane. My single mother is a hoarder, always has been. She has raised my younger sister and I, both of us still at the age where we live at home. She also recently finished treatment for late stage breast cancer..and yes, I believe this illness is a direct result of her hoarding and living conditions. It is so sad to me. I brought it up to her the other day when I was throwing out expired food from the fridge and she swears that is no reason why she got sick. She spent so much time researching cancer on the internet that she has a million other reasons why she got sick besides the hoarding..sound familiar?
Ironically enough, I struggle with orthorexia, previously diagnosed as anorexia and bulimia. I have also noticed that growing up with hoarding has caused me some of my own obsessive compulsive tendencies towards neatness, lack of sentimentality, and the opposite of hoarding, where I often throw out perfectly useful things. Now if only I can find a therapist who is familiar with hoarding as a real disease, and offer some help...sighs. It is amazing how many people discredit hoarding as a real disease and even more yet, how the hoarder is unable to see how she has hurt and continues to hurt her children. Thank you again for your blogposts, please keep them up.

Morrisa said...

That is sooo strange, my mother suffers from Hoarding and Orthorexia. She is a 5'4" and a little over 100 lbs. Wont' eat sugar, Won't eat white flour, mkes negative comments about fried foos when she see's commercial. My mother collects newspapers and books. She is always going to read something later, wanted to save a recipe or show it to someone. She has never actually gotten around to it. She talks about getting her life together and if you watch her clean, she is disinfecting each individual sheat of paper and reading it and then throwing it away, shredding it, or keeping it for later. I live with her and I am extremely fed up. I am so anxious that I can barely go to work. I am at work not wanting to go home and I stay out until late at night to avoid the mess in my living room. I used to cook, have friends over, watch movies, now all I do is stay in my room or out in the neighborhood. I am so frustrated and sad andI feel like i have to take care of her, but I know that other ppl know wha tI am going through. I am 24 and I have a college degree. Hopefully, I will be moving out in November. My mother has been ill ever since i could remember and I have been ashamed for that long.

chandra said...

Thanks for taking me to very helpful stuff..i had many problems and meditation and Yoga resolved everything!!

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