Not to pick on my husband (whom I love!), but who keeps torn up packaging from 25 years ago? Yes, I know it’s from Star Wars. Maybe males will have a different response to this picture than females. Just to be clear, my husband is not a hoarder, but one of his favorite sessions at the 2011 SENG conference in Seattle was about hoarding and the gifted.
The session my husband attended was called Helping the Disorganized Gifted Family: “If I’m so smart, why can’t I ever find my keys?” by Kathleen D. Crombie, M.E.d.
Apparently, hoarding can sometimes be an issue gifted people deal with for a number of reasons. They can have intense intellectual curiosity that causes them to collect things and they can have intense emotional attachments to objects. This of course makes me think of L.M. Montgomery’s book Pat of Silverbush. In the book, Pat is obsessively attached to items such as clothing, and feels sick at heart when they were disposed of. I’ve often thought L.M. Montgomery was gifted, and it saddens me to know that she eventually committed suicide.
Speaking of depression, that is another contributing factor to hoarding. Gifted people suffering from depression have a whole other set of unique challenges; existential depression, imposter syndrome, etc. There can also be a 2e, or twice exceptional issue thrown into hoarding situations as well. Perhaps the person is gifted but also has ADD or OCD, both which would make organizing and purging difficult.
These are the help for hoarders tips my husband wrote down in his notes from this session:
- Start with something small
- WRITE DOWN YOUR GOAL
- Reward yourself afterwards
- 15 minutes on, 5 minute break, 15 minutes
- For major changes no more than 2 hours
- Take pictures of things and then get rid of them
- It has to be the hoarder who makes the change! If family members try to clean up for the hoarders, it might make things worse.