I won't lie. This hasn't been the easiest week. Between hypomania that became mixed, accidentally wearing 2 patches for 24 hours which is very agitating and the retirement thing it could have been a really rough time. Fortunately I also got to rest plenty, saw my nieces twice and got started on a 2nd round of antibiotics for my sinus infection that doesn't want to stop. I also found out that the immunity that was lacking in my titers was Rubella, not measles which is happy news. I would have gotten a booster without any problem but I'm glad to not have to bother. Having had whooping cough and not knowing if I'm immune to chicken pox (I wasn't when I was tested 4 years ago but I had one vaccine and then had a reaction that probably was to meds given in surgery a few days before the vaccine but there's no way to know so instead I'm half-immunized) I wasn't really looking for another childhood nearly eradicated illness.
But somewhere this week I was reading about hoarders. And I started thinking about 3 generations of hoarders in my own family as well as the hoarders I worked with in home health. Without trying I came up with 8 hoarders from home health and I'm sure there were more. The severity varied with a few being really, really bad.
So I watched some episodes of the tv show Hoarders. It was surprisingly well done and sensitive to the people they show. I was especially impressed that they provide counseling and assistance with organization after the clean-up is over. They were all so sad though, especially the pet hoarders. I saw pet hoarding once but it was not extreme and the animals were more or less ok, just lacking freedom as they were all caged but with space to move and food and water. None were ill. The cages were cleaned. They just had too many animals and animals that shouldn't ever be in a house.
Tonight I saw one that was just disturbing. The woman hoarded cats and had filled her refrigerator and freezer with bodies. She was very traumatized by death and had even frozen roadkill and a dead cardinal, just unable to leave something dead alone. Most of the cats they took from her home had to be euthanized immediately and cleaning the refrigerator was horrifying. She felt so guilty as she had insight into what she had done to the cats, which most of the other animal hoarders did not have. It was extremely hard to watch.
Mental illness contols my life. I know from the outside my life probably looks pretty sad and empty, at least to some people. I have plenty of issues and do lots of things in weird or wrong ways. But at least so far I know that I can care for my pets and myself (with some help with housework) and while my life is very much affected by my illness it hasn't completely taken over. It has tried but I have the right supports in place to stop it from doing so.
And that is an amazing gift.