Hoarding disorder creates messy situation
Dear Amy: My son and my oldest daughter, "Kelsie," share an apartment.
I live in another state.
I'm worried about Kelsie. She has always been extremely messy. I have learned that issues with hoarding/OCD may be inherited, and I always assumed that Kelsie's issues were passed down through her father.
Kelsie's problem has gotten worse over the years, with rotting food in the refrigerator, broken appliances, and plumbing, etc.
Kelsie isn't a "collector," so much as she never throws anything away.
If her cat was a child, CPS would have taken the animal away from her.
My son now spends most of his time elsewhere.
He and my other daughter have asked me to pull the "mom card" and see if I can reach Kelsie to get help.
Because she and I work together (in different locations, remotely), we will be sharing a hotel at an upcoming meeting, so I will have the opportunity to speak with her.
I am not afraid of the conversation. I love her and hope she can get help, but I don't know what help is available.
I'm willing to have someone go in and help her clean, but this will happen again (as it has before), if we don't get to the root of the issue.
Kelsie is not proactive in taking care of herself.
What are your suggestions?
-- Needs an Intervention
Dear Intervention: According to a 2011 study, approximately 3 percent to 5 percent of Americans have a hoarding disorder. Increased awareness of hoarding through media reports has probably been a good thing, because you understand that this is not a character flaw -- your daughter needs treatment. Her behavior might be linked to anxiety, depression, or OCD. You are correct that the problem will not be solved by hiring a cleaner, and will likely get worse over time.
Yes, speak to her in person. Be gentle and compassionate. Understand that this conversation will cause her a lot of anxiety. I've read that cognitive behavioral therapy -- through "exposure therapy" -- might help. This is where a person is coached to confront the physical reality of their hoarding with the intensive help of a therapist. It would require her ongoing determination to work toward recovery.
You won't be able to handle this from a distance. But your compassion and concern may inspire her to agree to seek help, and you could assist her in finding the right practitioner close to where she lives.
I have to add that if the conditions in her home are dangerous/unsafe/unhealthy for her cat (she may have more than one), you should report it. I know this would be very hard to do, but your daughter has the tools to try to improve or change her situation if she chooses. A defenseless animal, however, does not.
Dear Amy: I'm conflicted about whether I should leave a Glassdoor review for my former employer, "Company X."
I wish someone had warned me away from ever working there.
I've never seen or experienced such toxicity, chaos, or stress on a job.
Here's the rub: I was a favorite. I received some poor treatment, but due to the boss' arbitrary favorites system, I mostly witnessed others being treated badly. There was no HR department to report anything to because of the size of the company. People either were miserable or left. If we questioned things, we got our heads bitten off.
I would like to prevent others from experiencing this, but I don't want it to cause any retribution for Company X's current employees.
I don't even want to hurt the people who acted poorly -- I just want to protect future "victims." What do you think?
-- Happily Gone
Dear Gone: For people who don't know, Glassdoor is a rating system for companies, where employees can post (anonymous) reviews.
I fail to see a downside of you posting a realistic review of this company. The only thing that seems to prevent you from doing so is your continued instinct to go-along to get-along (which might be one reason you were a witness to this abuse, rather than a target).
Dear Amy: "Upset SIL" and her husband thought they saw child porn on his brother's iPad.
My grandniece was repeatedly molested by her grandfather when she was less than two years old. He went to jail.
On his release, he immediately started to try to reintegrate with the family.
Upset and her husband need to break contact with his brother whether they report him or not. Ideally, they should contact agencies in their community.
Dear Horrified: I agree.
(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: email@example.com. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.)