31 January 2013

Procrastinator General says Hoard

So this is my confession piece. My name is Procrastinator General and I am a hoarder. Not even one of the good ones that have everything in floor to ceiling boxes all over the house. Or quite one of the weird ones who can no longer use their house as there is no room left except some well-worn paths through the rooms. My hoard is just untidiness gone wild.
I have a rubbish dump for a living room. There are bags of rubbish, half-eaten and/or abandoned foodstuffs (these are my daughters’) and various items of laundry etc. everywhere. I don’t like it.
I don’t do anything about it.
But I don’t like it.
It’s now getting me into all sorts of trouble. My landlord is not exactly pleased about the state of his house. He’s threatening me with eviction. I find this a bit harsh as I’m not structurally damaging his house. It’s all tidyable. It’ll just take some (well, masses actually) effort. And therein lies the rub. Tidying it is actually beyond me. Not just cause I’m a lazy arse. Not just cause it’s hard to know where to even start. But because I am depressed. I know what you’re thinking, “surely, you could just tidy it?” Well, actually, I can’t. The idea of tidying it genuinely makes me feel panicky and nauseated.
I know.
I have a counsellor who is supposed to be helping me sort myself out. But I’m not sure that I’ve really told her everything she needs to know yet.
You see, I’ve been trying to work out how I got here. What is it that means that I don’t throw anything away? How did this all start?
I can trace the depression all the way back to being in sixth form and realising that I couldn’t live up to my own expectations of myself. I couldn’t cope with the amount of work I had to do for my ‘A’ Levels and retreated. Not just a little bit, but all the way inside my own head. I didn’t go to about half the lessons I was meant to be at whilst I was in lower sixth. I remember sitting upstairs in the gym at the school debating if I could actually kill myself by falling onto the gym floor. I’m terrified of heights so this may go some way to explain how low I was at the time. In the end I dropped one of my subjects and didn’t look back.
I was fairly happy at Uni, though I always felt like I was outside of the group. I spent quite a large part of my time on my own.  I didn’t have one boyfriend the entire time I was there. I also used to run home to my parents at every available opportunity. Not really much of a joiner inner! The best year I spent there was my second year. I was officially the hall warden, but it was a bit of a token title. I got on really well with all the girls on my floor and we would go out and party most weekends. It was a good little group. I did really badly with my work though… Hmm… I had a year out working in both Germany and France and having a fairly relaxing time really.
My final year was the loneliest. I think I ended up going home pretty much every weekend. I couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing anyone or having anything to do for a whole 48hrs. I clung to my internet friendships as the only thing keeping me sane. One of the friends I made at the time is still a friend today. He genuinely was the only good thing in my life for a while. Love him.
So, after Uni I lived at home with my folks. This kept me, pretty much, on an even keel. Until I moved out in 2003. This is the first time the hoarding started. It was worse, then, as I had a bedsit. The mess was inescapable and all pervading. I really struggled with living on my own again; I couldn’t keep up with all the bills etc. on my meagre income. I moved in with a very lovely lady who was a real surrogate mother-type for me. In the end I had to move back in with my parents as I left the job I was doing and thought I was going to start on a new path. I was wrong.
I ended up back in the same job, being undervalued and working too hard. But something did change. Whilst visiting a friend for her birthday I was taken ill. She, being medically savvy, looked after me and I went home and made an appointment with my doctor. Long story short, it was an ovarian cyst. Huge one to be exact.
So after being operated on and taking an opportunity, I moved to Greece to be with my then boyfriend (I kept that quiet, didn’t I!?) Lived with him for a bit, came home, went back, and came home again. Got married to him.  
We lived with my folks at first as we were skint. Moved out and got our own place after about 6 months. This is where his neat freak ways and my untidiness began to clash in impressive ways. I would make occasional efforts to tidy up as he was making murderous suggestions at which point he would then complain that I hadn’t done it right. I didn’t do it the way he thought it should be done. Over time, being told you can’t do something very well does rub off. Even on someone who never gave into that kind of thing before.
We had a daughter in 2008. She was (and still is) an amazement to me. And yet my relationship with the husband began to go into free-fall from this point. We were arguing constantly and he was putting me down more and more frequently. He also started to bad-mouth me to our baby. Telling her how bad a mother I was, that I was a bitch, that I was stupid. I was so hurt. I loved him, still do, frustratingly. He got himself involved with some rather undesirable types, went to Costa Rica to collect a package and didn’t get through US customs with it… He was imprisoned and left me alone with our daughter. I think you can probably guess when I started hoarding again.
It’s probably worth mentioning that when I’m low I cut myself off from all sorts of things. I find it incredibly hard to ask for help, particularly from those who love me most. It’s also when my procrastination skills come to the fore. I put off doing anything because I have no confidence that I know what I’m doing or that I’m doing it right. I’m also really panicked over ever having to phone anyone I don’t know. It’s totally crippling.
I feel like such a failure for not being able to cope with the basic act of just living a normal life that I hate to admit to it.
I’m learning to, but its 3 years further down the line now. I had so many mixed emotions surrounding the husband not being in my life any more. Part of that was relief I didn’t have him acting so meanly to me and bad-mouthing me so openly.  But I missed him and the good things that we’ve always had together. Yes, I know, but victims have issues like this quite frequently. Wow, that’s the first time I’ve ever called myself a victim. But I guess that’s what I was, am.
I’m still trying to process that I’m a victim. Wow.
I was beginning to get myself back to myself again when the husband managed to upset my apple cart by coming home again. I was so pleased to see him. I’d spent all that time waiting and doing my best to bring my daughter up (notice she’s mine now, not our) that I pushed most of my fears to the back of my mind. And he said all the right things, told me everything that I needed to hear. Promised me this was the new start I’d been praying for. He didn’t mention that he’d been making his own plans with his friends for when he came home. He was back just over a week before he swanned off to see friends the first time. Leaving me, again. Then he came home, he told me he didn’t want to live here. That he was going to move, that he would get a job and support us (I’m still waiting). He then left again and I vowed that was us over with. He gave me 3 weeks of his time and left when it was the most inconvenient for me as my parents were on holiday and couldn’t be here.
Everything went into free-fall again. I was so sad again. So hurt that he had so little love and respect for my daughter and I. That he could throw all the dedication I’d shown him away to chase another dream. One that he didn’t even include me in. He told me off for not being in a council house on a Hull estate, because then he’d have been in a city at least.
I vowed that I wouldn’t be one of those women who use their child as a tool in some kind of sick game. My daughter loves her dad unconditionally. She deserves to have him in her life. I told him to come and visit. He came, without much event and went after a weekend. Next time he visited everything changed. He and I got into a heated argument whilst in the car on the way to my daughters hair appointment, he punched me. Hard. I can still feel how much it hurt at the time.
Final straw, I made him leave that evening and he left his keys so I know he can’t get back in my house. But I’m still at the bottom of the low this has left me in. I still see the husband for supervised visits with my daughter, I don’t want him on his own with her. And we’ve been getting on great, he’s much nicer to me when I only see him in small bursts. We have all the fun we used to do and it makes me so emotionally drained to be happy with him when inside I’m in turmoil still.
The house is suffering for all this upheaval. I’m emotionally drained, constantly exhausted and in no fit state to even begin to clean up. Plus, I still have a voice in my head that tells me how bad I am at it. And my daughter tells me she likes it messy (it’s all she’s ever known, poor thing) and actively seeks to make it messier. She’s a particular liking for wall murals.
This is a very confused blog as I am so confused inside. I am seeing both a doctor and a counsellor. I am hoping to make some bigger strides down the path towards health and tidiness. But it’s so hard and I’m my own worst enemy.