May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Mental illness is a fact of life for so many people.
Alcoholism, depression . . . the list of diagnoses is almost endless.
And, last year yet another diagnosis was added to the never-ending list of mental illness: hoarding disorder.
Hoarding Disorder became its own diagnosis because while the patterns of behavior look like those of obsessive compulsive disorder, people with hoarding disorder confounded the medical community by not getting better with the standard drugs used to treat OCD. Hoarders don’t respond to pharmaceutical intervention. That led researchers to believe that hoarding disorder is a different kind of brain imbalance.
With the creation of this new diagnosis, more attention is focused on solving the problem of hoarding.
But almost no attention has been paid to the unsung heroes of mental health month: the children of hoarders.
Unlike children of parents with alcoholism and depression, who have found support and healing through compassion and understanding of groups like Adult Children of Alcoholics or Alateen, the children of hoarders have been forgotten.
There is no pharmaceutical treatment for the shame and isolation that children of hoarders carry with them into adulthood.
But that doesn’t mean they have to go it alone in their struggle to heal and make sense of their experience.
The best help is found in coming out of the shadows of shame and embarrassment by finding a place to be together with others who understand, with other people who can lift the burden of isolation.
And that place begins at the Children of Hoarders website.
The COH group is a grassroots, all-volunteer, not-for profit organization made up of adult children of hoarders.
They are dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of the unique challenges facing children of hoarders, while helping them to support themselves and each other.
They come together with a firm belief that by working together, they can improve the lives of children from hoarded homes.
In their 8th year online, the Children of Hoarders organization connect other COH through their website, their Facebook page, and through their Yahoo! Group.
Children of Hoarders are finally talking about the family secret. And, they have one message: Your voices matter, and you have been heard.
Remember: You are NOT alone! Your parent’s living conditions are not now and never were, your fault.
Click these links to begin your journey:
Blogs by Children of Hoarders
And, if you live in the Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region here are
Resources for Children of Hoarders in New Jersey
Resources for Children of Hoarders in Pennsylvania
And one last thing: If you are an adult child of a hoarder living in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region and are struggling with the crush of your parent’s hoard, and need help with the crisis of cleanup, give us a call.
We’ve helped so many people in our region by connecting them with the resources for support and assisting the hoarder to come clean.