Customer news Hampshire Support

Our counselling service gives a hoarder her life back

Update 2022: Please note that this service is no longer in operation. Please get in touch to find out about the support and advice we can offer you.  

A customer recently shared her story with us reflecting on how her life has been transformed with help from us along the way…

Sue’s story

“I grew up in a home where hoarding was an issue and went on to become someone with hoarding behaviours. I kept everything ‘in case it can be used’ - we had very little so didn’t throw things out.

I had a very successful career but then I was made redundant and had my daughter. I spent a lot of my redundancy money buying crafts. I bought my daughter so many toys there was no space for her to play with them. I realised my habits were formed and my house was very cluttered. I noticed I was obsessed with sets of things - if someone bought me something, I had to buy the whole set.  If I had a panic attack whilst outside, I would buy something quickly to stop people looking at me. I always felt uncomfortable and I didn’t want people to come to my house.

But then I began to get support from Sharron Patient, Homeless Prevention Officer who was fantastic and amazing and still is.

I moved to a new house but was still stuck with a hoarding compulsion and my home was still cluttered.  I couldn’t break through the barriers around my crafting items.  I needed help with my mental health.  Mental Health services were contacted but they couldn’t provide me with any support.

I was then given the chance to see a counsellor through VIVID – they offer therapy to customers with hoarding behaviours. I’m so grateful for this and this service has saved my life.

It’s helped me to break through my barriers and get rid of my craft items. At 50 years old I was able to change my life and I’m now reunited with my daughter and we’re both now enjoying a very different living environment.

I’d been living in chains; these have now been taken off and I feel free.  Hoarding is a huge burden - my home had become my prison.  I’m now able to only keep things that are pleasurable and that benefit me.  I spent such large amounts of money on crafts and felt too guilty to waste it - now I no longer hold the guilt, I’m free.

Whilst hoarding I was a massive fire risk, it caused isolation, it has so many negative effects on the family and children. And whilst hoarding I lived with dirt, but now I have a clean home with space.

Counselling has changed my life - it doesn’t matter how old you are, how many years you have been hoarding, it’s never too late. It’s a long process and you need to be prepared to put the work in, but it will help so much if you do.  I set myself weekly goals which helped me to see progress. And my Counsellor Sana is brilliant.  She keeps me safe, never leaves me in a dark place at the end of the session, she manages her sessions very well.

I’ve gained my freedom and got my life back.  If it wasn’t for VIVID setting up this service I wouldn’t be where I am today - thank you so much.”