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(W)holy, (W)holy, (W)holy: July 2010 Newsletter
By Diakon Luthern Social Ministries
May 28, 2010
“For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans: 7:14-15, NRSV)
We can empathize with Paul when he describes his struggle to overcome the negative desires that gripped him from within. To say that we need to live a certain way, and to actually do it are two entirely different things. This tension between doing what is right, and giving into our impulses is all a part of our human experience. We fail … we make mistakes … but God sees past our failings - the emotional and spiritual “junk” we’ve accumulated - to the inner person, created good and in His image.
If you watch TV, you may have noticed several reality-based shows that deal with the individuals who suffer from compulsive hoarding. We’re not talking about someone who is a typical pack-rat, or collector. The impulse to save “stuff” takes over, as papers, garbage, junk mail, plastic grocery bags, yes even animals, are ‘collected’ and begin to encroach upon the sufferer’s life – covering the counters, floors, tables, bath tub, appliances, everywhere you can imagine – in some cases from floor to ceiling - making it impossible to eat, sleep, bathe or have any semblance of a normal life. People who hoard often do not see their behavior as a problem. They succumb to an impulse that refuses to allow them to ‘let go’ of items that have emotional significance, or that might be useful ‘some day’.
No one really knows what causes this behavior. Experts tell us that it can appear on its own, or can be in tandem with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, psychosis, depression, or dementia. Clutter, and an inability to sort-through or discard items are usually the first signs of a problem. Risk factors and common features of hoarding include: age – it typically begins around the age of 12 or early adolescence and continues through adulthood; close-family history; having experienced a life stressor such as death of a loved one, divorce, eviction, or loss of possessions due to a fire or natural disaster. Social isolation becomes an issue as embarrassment prevents inviting others into the home, while simultaneously, the self-imposed isolation leads to further distress, loneliness and more hoarding behaviors. Experts also indicate that those who hoard are often perfectionists who cannot decide whether to keep or throw items away – thus increasing their distress, and successfully evading making any decision at all.
Cognitive [thinking] Behavioral therapy is typically the treatment of choice which, depending on individual circumstances and symptoms, might include the use of medication. Therapy sessions may include:
- exploring the origins of the impulses for hoarding,
- learning organizational and sorting skills,
- de-cluttering, with the assistance of the counselor or a professional organizer,
- learning relaxation skills, and working at changing harmful beliefs about one’s self,
- family or group therapy.
Self-care tips include:
- sticking with the treatment plan, and regularly attending appointments,
- maintaining good personal hygiene, and getting proper nutrition,
- reaching out to others – if friends and family can’t come in, then get out to spend time with them,
- taking small steps and focusing on each short-term goal, and, if hoarding includes pets,
- doing what is right for their best care and health. If you are unable to provide for their proper nutrition, sanitation and veterinary care, they need to be turned over to others who can. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health
With patience, trust, and support, it is possible to change! Begin by reaching out to those who, like God, see beyond the accumulated stuff, to the person who was created in His image!
Debbie Best, Diakon Family Life Services
July 5 Guys! “The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends, that if you are between the ages of 65 and 75 and have ever smoked (100 or more cigarettes during your lifetime), you need to be screened once for abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is an abnormally large or swollen blood vessel in your abdomen.” (http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/healthymen.htm) As always, check with your doctor.
July 12 From the CDC: “Be water-savvy. In 2006, males were three times more likely than females to die from unintentional drowning in the United States. Alcohol use is involved in up to half of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation.” (http://www.cdc.gov/men/summer/index.htm)
July 19 Brides … “Make healthy choices for your wedding, showers, parties, and new life together. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol. Include healthy meals and snacks for your guests. Add seasonal fruit or vegetables, low-fat snacks, and low-calorie drinks or desserts.” (http://www.cdc.gov/family/wedding)
July 26 “Family reunions are an opportunity to reconnect families, honor relatives, have fun, and share memories. Take steps to make healthy living a part of family activities for a lifetime. Eating and exchanging recipes is a big part of family reunions. Use this opportunity to adapt recipes, snacks, and beverages to incorporate healthier options low in saturated fat, salt, and calories. Also, consider relatives that may have high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, or other conditions where special attention to foods and healthier options are needed.” (http://www.cdc.gov/family/reunions/)