I believe we were placed on this earth to help people achieve happiness. At least that’s my opinion and so I have spent my life helping others including my dad who suffered from “Bipolar disorder” a mental health disease. As a child growing up, I often wondered why my dad hoarded. Why did he go through seasonal high and low episodes? It never dawned on me that it was associated to depression. He suffered traumatic experiences in his 40s and as a result became severely depressed.
I used to call him the “flower”, because he bloomed in the summers and dried up in the winters. One of the most traumatic hoarding experiences I encountered, to my surprise, was dog feces, flies, roach infestation, mice infestation, urine all over the floor, rotten food, and a heavy duty dirt level including clothing scattered everywhere. He was also extremely abusive towards me.
He didn’t want help or physical contact . I had to think quick and remove all emotional attachment to him. Although, it was hard to do, no one else could deal with his erratic behavior but me. I’m not sure why I was so strong. However looking back, I suspect my strength and motivation came from the Lord. Reluctantly, I arranged to have my father restrained by mental health professionals. My decision only fueled the situation. As they dragged him away, he spit on me, and yelled “I hate you”. It didn’t mattered what he said to me. I couldn’t help but thinking “once a man twice a child”, now he was a child again who needed someone to take charge. No one knows how they will end up. Although hurtful, my love for him was greater than the love he had for himself.
Strangely enough, two weeks later he was back to his old self after being medicated, counseled, visited by family& friends. He thanked me for what I had done, as comedic as he was, we smiled together making fun of the situation.. When it was all said and done, he made it through that episode, went home to a clean flat.
By the way, this episode happened 7-9 years prior to Ideal Cleaning Services being born. I was working in the investment banking field at the time. I had no clue “Clutter” and “hoarding coach” would be my career path. My dad used to always tell me though, how good I was at making him feel safe and listening to his crazy business ideas. By the way, I got my business sense from him!
So listen to me, you are not alone in dealing with these issues, I can relate to your pain 100%. Did my father’s hoarding and mental health issues affected me? Put simply, the answer is “yes”. The experience made me feel empathic and non judgmental. As a result, God chose a platform for me to help others deal and overcome.
If you are living with a parent suffering from these living conditions, please get help. Mental health issues are real. The children living in these environments are DEEPLY affected. Only a few are brave enough to share their story. Although you may not have the courage it doesn’t mean you are weak (HUGS). I hope this helps you know you are not alone. Stay tuned for part 2 of my story!