Confident, resourceful, dynamic people are affected by hoarding too.
I have had the pleasure of attending training by Lee Shuer in the United States and Australia. Lee is a Certified Peer Specialist who came to my attention when he teamed with Randy Frost to create the Facilitators Guide for running the Buried in Treasures workshops. He is also the author of WRAP For Reducing Clutter and a popular public speaker on the topic of peer support and empowerment for people struggling with mental health challenges.
Lee Shuer is a confident and dynamic speaker and comes across as a guy who’s got it all together, but his personal struggle with clutter is a great reminder that hoarding does not discriminate. In his own words, “Contrary to negative pop culture portrayals, people who have accumulated a problematic amount of possessions tend to be creative, intelligent, resourceful; perhaps only unsuccessful in the pursuit of moderation”.
For Lee, the crunch came when his wife Bec gave him an ultimatum – it was her or the stuff. Luckily, Lee valued the relationship enough to start the difficult road to recovery. And, Bec valued the relationship enough to patiently (and the word patient needs to be emphasised here) support Lee through the process.
Like Lee, Bec is a confident, dynamic professional, but living with someone who was actively acquiring and saving reduced her to the point that she felt at risk of losing herself in “the stuff”. I was at a conference in Melbourne with Bec in 2015 and she summed up her painful experience saying, “I felt too small or unimportant to be worth consideration”. I was simultaneously shocked and saddened that another person’s clutter could strip away the confidence of such a vibrant woman.
Many people I have spoken to report feeling sad, hurt, angry or frustrated that the clutter has left no room for them in their loved-one’s life. Lee and Bec’s story is a valuable reminder that hoarding does not discriminate, and the impact of one persons hoarding can be far reaching. It is also an example of the importance of nurturing relationships and caring for the well-being of all the stakeholders, not just the person who hoards.
You can read more about Lee Shuer at Mutual Support Consulting – Everyone has a story to share…
We have heard from Lee that he and Bec will be in Australia in October, 2018, so please watch our website for details.
Wendy Hanes, Skeletons in the Closet & Hoarding Home Solutions