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Chester Progressive
Chester , California
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November 1, 2017     Chester Progressive
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November 1, 2017
 

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16B Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Patrick Arbore briefly discussed the home of two brothers. Harlem Homer Lusk Collyer and Langley Wakeman Collyer died within just weeks of one another in 1947. It was up to the city of Harlem, New York, to clean up their brownstone at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 128th Street. The pair obsessively collected things, filling the entire space within their residence, blocking stairways and windows. It spread to the roof and caused a big stir when others outside their neighborhood got a glimpse of their stuff. Photo submitted HOARDERS, from page1B Times are changing and SO are the results. , Trauma, with or without, property. Her parents' 'depression, is a major treasures were stuffed into, symptom. trailers and storage units, she While he talked, Arbore elaborated. "I don't want to shared stories of people he pass those dilTmulties on to had known over his long my own children," she said. career. "I'm married to a hoarder," One friend hoarded said another woman, furniture. There wasn't a "It's difficult to live with a : Dumpster she could pass up. hoarder," Arbore said.~ And she would drag home Another woman said she whatever it was she found -- was present because she broken tables, chairs, tended to isolate. "I'm so glad whatever -= always with the you brought that up," Arbore intention: that she was going to fm them up and sell them. said. Not always, but those who become hoarders often isolate. They don't want others looking at their stuff. They want to be alone with it and often their own misery. "Some hoarders are organized," Arbore said. Sometimes the system of organization doesn't make sense to son eone else, but it does to the individual involved. The tendency to go into hoarding generally begins with a trauma the individual suffers. It could have happened in childhood. And today's adolescents are so much more anxious, they're very likely to develop the characteristics, he said. "You used to never see this except in the old," Arbore explained. She never did. They just accumulated around her. He said that another friend was taking this individual to a big social event. They were dressed up and the one woman told the other she was not allowed near a Dumpster. She said she couldn't tolerate it. And if she did it, she'd never talk to her again. Before the woman knew it, the furniture hoarder was heading toward a Dumpster. And a broken table emerged. The woman who made the threat stood by it, telling her friend she was getting in a cab and leaving. As far as Arbore knows, they haven't spoken since. Was the loss of the friend of importance? No. The woman's hoard of broken furniture was far more fulfilling Friendships, families, relationships between lovers all fall apart when an obsession becomes the foremost thing in the hoarder's life. Possessions become the security. It helps fill the hole left by whatever life has thrown at an individual, It doesn't matter what object the hoarder finds security in. Without it the individual feels too vulnerable to face life. Without it, when it's taken away, Arbore has learned, "It feels like I've been raped!" "I've seen so many 'National Geographic' magazines in places that they don't belong," he said. One man at a table nodded. He ventured to say that he hasn't read one in the last year, but he must keep them. "I'm always going to read them." "I save magazines and newspapers because I don't want to miss anything," said a woman seated next to him. "I'm always going to read them." She also saves paper and has it scattered in all the rooms ready to use. She admitted that when her son calls she makes notes on things and keeps them. She explained that she takes them while he talks. Her plan is to read them and then discuss the things with him when he calls again. He thinks it's madness. Over the years, a lot of research has been done on hoarding and those who do it. There is no difference between the number of men or women who hoard. And there is no difference in education levels. Race doesn't have a place in it. Those raised during the Great Depression of the 1930s are no more likely to become hoarders than others, Arbore shared. Arbore said he knows a Harvard graduate who is a hoarder. His wife has managed to make him conf'me his hoarding to his office and in that space, there isn't a spot anywhere that isn't filled with papers. For him the collection represents how long he would live. If he always has things he intends to read, then he would live long enough to eventually get around to finding it and reading it. Another woman, Arbore knew, married a man who liked to restore old cars. He brought one to her house, and then others accumulated. Soon he was bringing in car parts to store inside. She didn't like it. In counseling she gave him an ultimatum -- his cars or her. With no thought at all he chose his stuff. Apparently they worked it out, but the man had to rid himself of his treasures and the woman learned a very hard lesson. As a word of advice, Arbore warned that. when someone wants to rid a hoarder of his or her stuff to take it slowly and be gentle. He said he once called the producer of a television program about people who hoard. Arbore said he told the man that it was unkind to just go in and take everything. The producer responded by hanging up. Arbore said that it's clear and simple, the brain of a hoarder doesn't work like another individual's. This is clinically proven, he said. "It's in the DSM-5," he explained, which is the American Psychiatric Association's list of recognized mental disorders. Neuroimaging studies show divergent patterns of brain activity and various cognitive peculiarities are common to hoarders. In the real world of compulsive hoarding, the individual is recognized by excessively accumulating stuff and the refusal to get rid of it-- sell it, throw it away or give it away. While hoarding tendencies are often triggered by trauma, hoarding is also genetic. In addition, it often leads to interfering with an individual's daffy functions -- the kitchen is too to cook or even get to the stove and refrigerator. There are health risks because along with the clutter can come frith, especially if pets are involved. There's poor sanitation -- pets don't go outside, the bathroom becomes inaccessible and the results mean poor sanitation, There is help, he said. But ridding someone of a hoarding tendency is rare. There is no help at this point for people who hoard animals. Quite often, these two run together. Arbore said that he once visited a woman who had about 35 cats in her house. They were thin, dehydrated and didn't look healthy. But the woman thought they were fine. As they wove their way through her stuff, he happenedto uncover two dead cats that the woman didn't know had died. The time spent with Arbore went quickly -- maybe too fast, with the discussions from real people and the examples of others he provided. Would the hoarders present go home and clear their stuff?. No, probably not. It's difficult. But they were in the right place at the right time to learn something about their true natures. f