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5 Learnings from 100 emails

Hi Friend,

This is the 100th edition of my Stuffology’s Weekly Newsletter.

From the 1st email my goal was to offer you lovely readers something practical that you could use to improve your life immediately. I was also clear from the outset, this would not be a decluttering or organising Newsletter because #itsNOTjustclutter.

There is more to it than tidying up.

In my first email I said that I know these days our inboxes have become overwhelming and that I didn’t intend to fill yours with junk. Based on your feedback I believe I have achieved this goal.

To commemorate the 100th edition of the weekly newsletter I wanted to share 5 things I’ve learned over the last 2 years. Learnings from both writing and publishing these missives and working with people who hoard.

Learning #1

I have got the stamina and discipline to do produce something regularly that helps people. I can practice what I preach. I’ve stumbled a few times, publishing late or taking my own mental health break from offering mental health support. Despite these stumbles I’ve been able to get back on track without throwing in the towel.

Learning #2

People do read what I have to say and find it helpful. My protectors, that tell me I should leave it to the “professionals”, aren’t dominating my thoughts. I feel ready to take riskier steps to reach more people in the future. Baby steps.

Learning #3

Working with my wonderful clients has taught me that there is no “typical” case. Interpersonal trauma is highly prevalent, dare I say ubiquitous.

Those average people we study in research are not the people we meet. Every one of my clients is unique. Their circumstances are idiosyncratic although they have commonalities. I know now treatment can not be delivered effectively using a text book approach. Trauma impacts the efficacy of psychotherapy dramatically and there is no mention of how to work with this in the hoarding disorder treatment manuals.

Learning #4

What we know about hoarding from the research is based on treatment seeking women. Despite the 50/50 gender split we know very little about hoarding behaviour amongst men. More significantly, we (the research and clinical communities) know nothing about those with severe hoarding who have no insight into the damaging nature of their behaviours. This is a huge blind spot and sore point in the hoarding help community.

What is most concerning to me, as a researcher and clinician, is when colleagues continue to shut down conversations with children of hoarders because their perspective is different. Further, continuing to label children raised by people who hoard as difficult and rejecting of their parents, when childhood neglect and abuse is their truth is unconscionable.

Why do I say that? Because, we know nothing about those who never seek help or participate in research! These are the ones whose children contact me in distress and despair because their parents are living in dangerous hoards and refuse to change.

Before suggesting any course of action experts in the area should ask those with lived experience. Not about the person who hoard’s psychological wellbeing but their despairing children’s; adult or not. I’ve learned just how far we have to go for this to occur.

Learning #5

People are generous and keen to share.I take part with @ThatHoarder on the Overcome Compulsive Hoarding UK podcast. The podcast offers an excellent insight into the hoarding mind. Sharing my knowledge with Professional Organisers of Melbourne connected me with a wonderful group of PO’s who help clients live better lives. I’ve been given the opportunity to develop training program for front-line workers. All because I write a weekly newsletter about my passion.

I’d like to thank all of you who’ve been reading this email since the beginning (most of you are family and friends so “cheers”) and all of you who send me feedback and support. I DO listen so feel free to drop me a line with your thoughts.

And to all of you who are reading this today. Thanks for signing up. I hope you get a tiny bit of goodness each Sunday to start your week off on a positive note.

Until next week :)

Jan <3

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