This and that, everything including the kitchen sink.

Posts tagged ‘memory loss’

Organizing My Brain

Now my brain isn’t fixated on hoarding, I am trying to build new and improved thought patterns. Since I have ADD, I have a very busy brain. I tend to hare off after multiple ideas at once, which causes me to rarely finish anything. Being an artist, it’s pretty easy to have multiple projects all going at once, hyper-focusing until another idea comes along, leaving the old project idea unfinished and scattered, adding to the mess.

This is where my ever-present bullet journal comes in. I love to get ideas off the internet, I can waste a day just following  intriguing links. My “favorites” links are legion. So easy to organize and don’t take up any real space. I think of my bullet journal as my real time favorites list. Instead of dropping everything to do something new and challenging, the idea gets put down in my bullet journal and logged in the index. Now I’m sure I won’t forget that brilliant idea (all my ideas are brilliant of course) I can stay on task. I also log the links from favorites that I want to make sure I don’t lose in case of disruptive computer/internet burps. My ADD loves my bullet journal. Not having 891 1/2 unfinished projects helps my hoarding too. By recording it, my brain accepts I have done something about the idea. It’s physically there, so I can read it and touch it. Then when I do have time or need for that project, I can clean up what ever project I was working on and concentrate on the new objective without a lot of clutter in either my brain or my worktable. I can also find everything for the unfinished project when I can get back to it.

lampTo illustrate: I bought a table lamp with a beautiful base that I love. It’s 45″ inches tall, 20″ of that is stained lampshade. It only fits in one space in my apartment because it is so tall. I can’t even hang art above it, wasting display wall space. So it idles in the back of my mind. Let me just say here that I think of lighting as art. I’m fascinated by it. My floor lamp looks like a chandelier. The floor lamp beside my bed looks like lilies, very organic and fits the flow of the room. I have three antique lights that need rewiring. I love lighting, so I know this is a project I’m keeping. However, it is low priority at the moment. I’m busy decluttering, it does work and gives a nice bright light, I’m planning on moving as soon as I can find a place, who knows what shape and size I will want for a shade in the new place.

However…I find pretty cool ideas for lamp shades as I’m surfing, shopping, just dreaming. Internet ideas get listed on favorites, in a “lampshades” folder. If I see something I like I take a photo of it and it goes into a lampshades file on my computer, with notes. Any other middle of the night inspirations go into my bullet journal, with sketches, pictures from magazines, what ever. Now my brain is willing to stop worrying at the problem and accept I am still on an inspiration gathering process. It will let me clean the kitchen and decide what to declutter next without shrieking in the background that I am going to forget the BEST IDEA EVER!!!! When you  have ADD, you have a very noisy brain.


Hoarding and Disabilities

If you watch hoarding shows, take a look at how many of those people have some disability besides hoarding. More and more each day, as I “unhoard” I realize how my hoarding made my disabilities so much worse. Each day I become a little closer to being able to deal with life in general. Each day I feel a little bit less disabled.

The shows usually mention some trauma that started the hoarding, but it goes beyond that. In my case I’ve been a hoarder practically from birth. I knew nothing else. I was never a healthy child, never fit in, usually picked last for anything physical. No matter that there was a reason, the main message was “Not good enough”.

Sometimes the trigger is the death of someone or the end of a relationship. But when as the result of physical trauma we physically can’t take care of ourselves it adds to the burden of guilt. I kept seeing other disabled people who seemed to have a much better take on their life. The blind friend who dumped sharp knives into the dishpan with the rest of the dishes and never cut herself. The deaf boyfriend who had been around the world, to places I could only imagine. A wheelchair bound friend whose house was always neat. All seemed to cope better than I did.

What we don’t see is the times they fell down, the helping friends and family, the caregiver in the background. Not all of us have a support system of any kind. When I asked people how they managed to cope so well, most of them were shocked. They didn’t see themselves as particularly successful or accomplished. Now add in a disability that keeps you self-isolated, a terrible fear that you must keep hidden at all costs. Any disability isolates you to some extent as it is. We are just beginning to understand. One reason I am so open about my hoarding is that I hope that in a small way we can come to understand and help each other.

I try to do my best not to be ashamed of my cluttered apartment as I know I am on the road to recovery. I focus on my achievements more than my disasters. I know my brain will happily conjure up every stupid thing, every mistake, every misunderstanding the moment I relax my guard. There is no danger of my forgetting. That relentless “reminding” my self conscious does has a life time of practice. I was taught if you blew your own horn, even a little, you were selfish, uncaring and egotistical. Every time I thought I might actually be good at something I felt guilty. When if finally started to emerge that there were physical reasons for my failures, I even felt guilty about that.

Other people’s perceptions didn’t help. “Get over it.” “You’re just buying into being sick.” “You’re just lazy.” All of these comments probably sound familiar to you. People who would never tell a person with a broken leg to just knock the cast off and run a mile feel they somehow have the right to judge someone with a less obvious condition. Well, they don’t. Some are just being jerks. Some are well meaning. You can’t stop them from commenting, but you can just “not buy into” THEIR judgments. Each and every person has something they aren’t good at. Each and every person has something they wish to keep hidden.

The point is, you are not alone. This is a recognized condition that is only now being discovered and studied. Those of us who have it need to give each other support and understanding and hopefully help others to find a way to accept themselves. Please feel free to comment. I’m not a therapist, just a hoarder in recovery. But maybe together we can find a way to deal with our disabilities and give encouragement to each other.

Another Bullet Journal Addict

Last year, I took a stab at Bullet Journaling. I didn’t quite get the hang of it, although it’s certainly easy enough. Even not doing it correctly, I know it helped significantly with my ADD, short term memory loss and anxiety. I have journaled off and on since I was a child, writing helps me deal with life. Also, writing things down can actually change your brain patterns, it seems the more I journal, the better I control my thinking.

I found this site which helped me see what I could do better and decided to buy a journal and start fresh with the new year. Another awesome link that worked for me is this one which is a mega useful site after you have read the first two. It has a handy dandy printable reference guide.

Since I research everything, naturally I hit the internet again. OMG, TMI! Beautifully done art, super neat, gorgeous graphics enough to intimidate me, even though I am an artist.  Also, some of these people spend what I consider a small fortune on stickers, stamps, stencils, washi tape and bling. Not having a small  fortune, I bought a hard back A5 Art Journal for under $6, slapped on some Dollar Tree stickers, a couple of bits of ribbon for place markers and a back pocket for storage. I also hit the Dollar Tree for some cute sticky notes, some binder clips and an excuse to buy a couple more gel pens. I have had a lifelong adoration of stationery supplies. Only a determination not to buy more than I need (and a lack of money) kept me from buying the store out. All you really need is something to write on and something to write with.


I doubt my journal will ever be a thing of beauty, although some pages are prettier than others. I don’t need it as a planner so much, as a way on staying on track, appointments, medical information, journaling and doodling. That’s the joy of BuJo, you adapt it to your own needs. Wish this had been around when I was working full time with a small child to raise. There is a ton of printables, (free and pay for) for every need you can imagine. I’m not going to go into that here, just click on the links and you will get the basics, Google “bullet journal” and happily surf away.


I added a back pocket using a bit of vinyl from a purse calendar. I glued the book marker ribbons down, then covered all the edges with washi tape. Since I keep this with me almost all the time, I tucked a copy of which medications I am on in one of the pockets. In case of medical emergency, I just grab my book. The left side is my pen testing page and notes about which pens I like and check to see if the pen bleeds to the other side. On the back side of that page I make a key for my pens by drawing a line with each one and noting which pen I made it with. I also give it stars if I really like it and want to buy that kind again. The purple polkadotted pencil pouch holds my gel pens. So far this arrangement is working really well for me. That’s the whole idea behind the flexibility of Bullet Journaling, it’s tailor made for you, and can be changed as your needs change.

After a month of very successful journaling I decided to buy some BuJo bling. For a review of my first internet buy, see my next post. Before that I had spent a grand total of around $10 including the journal, a few sticky pads and a glue stick. Every thing else I already had.