THE MEANING OF THINGS
What most people would consider rubbish are often things that have considerable meaning for hoarders. Many of those things are of little or no monetary value but, in the eye of the hoarder, have a strong emotional connotation attached to them. The reason why someone begins to hoard are not yet fully understood; they may be struggling to cope with a traumatic life event, perhaps the death of a loved one, but the reason it manifests itself is still unknown. Some have twenty years of established behaviour, others realise that they have a problem but are reluctant to seek help due to feelings of humiliation, guilt and shame. It are these emotions that keeps their behaviour secret to the people around them, pushing them further inside and leading to greater accumulation.
Although it is estimated to occur between 2% and 5% of the population, there are no clear pathways to access support within existing health and wellbeing services. There is an absence of medical recognition of hoarding as a specific disorder in the UK, the existing legislation addresses the problems created by hoarders but does not recognise or address the needs of the person hoarding. This results in adopting rapid solutions that in fact reinforce the problem instead of taking time to understand the routes of the affliction and the most effective way to engage with it.
These images portray the externalisation of an internal world.