Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Coat Hanger

sent to me by my mom:

The Coat Hanger

A woman was at work when she received a phone call that her small daughter was very sick with a fever. She left her work and stopped by the pharmacy to get some medication. She got back to her car and found that she had locked her keys in the car.

She didn't know what to do, so she called home and told the baby sitter what had happened. The baby sitter told her that the fever was getting worse. She said, "You might find a coat hanger and use that to open the door."

The woman looked around and saw an old rusty coat hanger that had been left on the ground, possibly by someone else who at some time had locked their keys in their car. She looked at the hanger and said," I don't know how to use this." She bowed her head and asked God to send her help.

Within five minutes a beat up old motor cycle pulled up, with a dirty, greasy, bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag on his head.

The woman thought, "Is this what you sent to help me God?" But, she was desperate, so she was also very thankful.

The man got off of his cycle and asked if he could help. She said, "Yes, my daughter is very sick. I stopped to get her some medication and I locked my keys in my car. I must get home to her. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?"

He said, "Sure." He walked over to the car, and in less than a minute the car was opened. She hugged the man and through her tears she said, "Thank You So Much! You are a very nice man."

The man replied, "Lady, I am not a nice man. I just got out of prison today. I was in prison for car theft and have only been out less than a day."

The woman hugged the man again and with sobbing tears cried out loud, "Oh, thank you God! You even sent me a Professional!"

Is GOD GOOD - or what?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Compulsive Hoarding: Treasures or Trash?

(this is an essay I had to write for my oral comp class a few years ago; I have done a bit of editing but it is a subject I find fascinating)

Compulsive hoarding is a nice way of saying that someone has too much stuff. But just how much is too much?

Those who don't like clutter are sometimes too quick to tell others what should be thrown away. What looks like trash to the anti-clutterer could be treasure to the one that is saving it. As I read over the two articles that I selected, not only did I get a chill up my spine, but I began to get a sense of dread. I began to see a potential future for myself, one that could bury me alive -literally, if I let it. I'm beginning to think I may have crossed the invisible line to "too much."

After reading the case study in Behavior Modification (214-232), I began to see a glimmer of hope for those like me- those who like their treasures. I'm glad I read it after I read the article in Discover (30-31), which had some not-so-happy endings in it. So, please, read on and you can decide for yourself: what is trash and what is treasure and how much is too much.

Should you intervene?

The best way for an intervention, in compulsive hoarding, to work is to have a plan of action. This plan, according to Behavior Modification, was put into action in a case study written by Jill A. Cermele, Laura Melendez-Pallitto, and Gahan J. Pandina. Their subject: Mary. The authors wrote down a definition of hoarding that had three specific parts: "(1) the acquisition of, and failure to discard a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value; (2) living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed; and (3) significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by hoarding" (Frost and Hartl 1996; "qtd. in" BM 217).

The article also suggested that a hoarder may be more likely to have a close relative that also hoards. Many of the items that are hoarded are the same kinds of things that non-hoarders buys. Hoarders seem to not like others touching or throwing away any of their possessions in their collections. "Behavioral avoidance describes the difficulty hoarders experience in discarding items in an effort to avoid feelings of anxiety about decision making, feelings of loss, and the overwhelming task of actually removing months or years of clutter" (BM 218).

The plan that was put into action with Mary had three steps, which was thoroughly discussed with her before any action was taken. The three steps were: (1) assessment of clutter, (2) intervention planning, and (3) dehoarding. They also laid down some ground rules to help Mary be more comfortable. The rules were simple: Mary was in charge of whether and how the dehoarding took place, support and feedback would be provided during the process of dehoarding, and active participants and physical help would be given for the sorting through and removing of items. The plan went very well and many of Mary's treasures found new homes by being donated to good causes. Mary felt relief that her things had a place to go. She was even able to sell her house and move within six months.

Extreme Cases:

The second article was from Discover (October 2004 30-31). Mary Duenwald related several stories of hoarders and how different their lives were. Mr. Moore lived in a full 10 by 10 foot apartment in New York City. He was buried standing up for two days before someone heard his cries for help. One man collected books, papers and pieces of junk mail. In his treasure collection, he lost a six-figured check. Then there was the very sad story of "Homer and Langley Collyer, two pack-rat brothers who for four decades crammed their Harlem mansion with heaps of debris: newspapers, old Christmas trees, sawhorses, perhaps a dozen pianos, even a dismantled automobile" (30). Homer was found dead of starvation and it took city workers eighteen days to uncover his brother's smothered body.

The article also brought out that hoarding compulsion "is a natural and adaptive instinct gone amok" (30). This statement is supported by the examples of the Arctic gray jay and Mall black wheat-ears. "Humans appear to be the only species that takes hoarding to pathological excess" (30).

The article goes on to say that hoarders are emotional, intelligent, and well educated; but, think in complex ways. The inability to make decisions seems to be one underlining cause of hoarding which tends to extend to other areas of their lives. Such as starting a project and going on to another one before the first one is finished. Hoarders also like to talk a lot. They give every possible detail about a subject. Medicine does not seem to work with hoarders. In a study published in the June American Journal of Psychiatry, it's reported that hoarders "have lower activity in the cingulate gyrus -a structure that runs through the middle of the brain (think mohawk), front to back-particularly in areas known to be involved in decision making and focusing attention" ("" Dis. 31). The article gives solid evidence of physical reasons for hoarding and little hope of a cure.

What about ME?????

My mom's mom is a pack rat. That's one mark against me. I have a huge problem throwing away my "paperwork" like: paid bills, cute poems, pictures the kids drew ten years ago, and magazine articles that show craft projects I'd like to try. There's mark number two against me.

My kitchen table is too full to sit at and eat. Does that make marks three already? My ex-hubby use to say that I give way too much information when he would ask me a question.

How many marks do I have left?

In my defense, I can honestly say I've never lost any of my children or pets within my treasures.

If I were to believe the definitions given in the articles, then I would have to say I am crossing over into hoardingism. I don't have trash, I have treasures. I hate throwing away things that I may be able to use "some day" because the day after I throw it away, I'll really need it.

I feel that the author in the Discover article found the most extreme cases she could find. I also noticed that the people were older, so maybe that gives me a few years to nip my hoarding inclinations in the bud. I'll have to find my biggest nippers for the job; I know they are around here somewhere.

The articles did throw some cold water on my face and help me to see my treasures in a different light. Mr. Moore and the Collyer brothers, are good examples to think about when I try to decide if I should keep something or not. The case study on Mary gave me hope that I'm not a lost cause.

Is my ability to collect things inherited? Is my brain somehow not working right? Can I rightly blame someone or something else for me being a pack rat? Can I actually get rid of any of the clutter in my house without making myself upset? These are all questions that I have been asking myself because of reading those articles.

Maybe it won't hurt me to go through everything in the house and see just what things I could find a new home for. I could still keep my most special treasures. I could even have a huge yard sale, sell all my not-so-special treasures, make alot of money, and go buy new treasures. I'll have to make sure the sign says "hoarders only" since everyone that is NOT a hoarder will think it's all trash.

( now please be a bit easier on people like me :D )

The two articles I used:
Cermele, Jill A., Laura Melendez-Pallitto, Gahan J. Pandina. "Intervention in Compulsive Hoarding." Behavior Modification, Vol. 25 No. 2, April 2001: 214-232.

Duenwald, Mary. "The Psychology of ...Hoarding." Discover Oct 2004: 30-31.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

passive aggressive people

so I busted a person who lied about me on a forum and she played the victim, not even acknowledging she lied.

oh well, people are people so I am not surprised she did not own up to her lie. it is typical behavior that anyone can learn about in psych 101. Their pride gets in the way and they blow a simple statement into a huge mountain to make themselves feel better.

Then they claim they forgive someone for an imagined harm -which in reality was just someone calling them out on their behavior. It makes them feel oh so special. They cannot even see that they are the one that should be apologizing. Usually it takes a very large blow to their ego before they can see the truth about themselves... kinda like hitting rock bottom. Or God Himself slapping ya down a few pegs.

Kinda sad and since I have been slapped down by God Himself; I know she will be in for some very hard times... cause God does not mess around when He goes to proving something to ya -about yourself. Hopefully He finds her heart worthy of His attention though.... cause I also know that He does a great job IF you listen and obey.... and one always comes out of a -Heavenly Humbling- a much better person. Although we do tend to be more blunt and straight to the point, especially when it comes to exposing lies about God.

Ok, enough venting. It's not that she made me mad or angry, just more like frustrated. People like that ARE frustrating because they cannot see any harm they are doing.

Friday, December 23, 2011

math, oh how you have changed.

I purchased a burger at Burger King for $1.58. The counter girl took my $2 and I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register. I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried... Why do I tell you this? Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1960s:

1. Teaching Math In 1960s (when I was in school)

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit ?

2. Teaching Math In 1970s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Math In 1980s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit ? Yes or No

4. Teaching Math In 1990s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Math In 2000s

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it's ok).

6. Teaching Math In 2010
Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. Cuanto dinero ha hecho?

ANSWER: His profit was $375,000 because his logging business is just a front for his pot farm.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hypothetical (or not) situation:

you are walking along minding your own business, having had a fairly bad day and end up walking into a group of thugs/gang members who are standing around listening to some music looking for trouble. Do you:

1. cry like a baby and beg for your life and let them beat the snot out of you and probably kill you and steal everything off your body?

2. Pretend you do not see them and just walk on through? and then they follow you, beat you up, possibly kill you and rob you of everything on your body.

3. Decide to defend yourself and manage beat the snot out of at least two of them before they gang up and take you down and beat you up and possible kill you and steal everything on your body?

4. Jump into a major butt kicking with a Viking Battle Cry, grab whatever you can grab and go in swinging and manage to beat the snot out of all the members at least taking out half before the other half manages to over power you (or not?) and beat you up, but not able to kill you because you are still fighting.

5. Act like a crazy person and get into their faces talking all kinds of weird and crazy stuff in an attempt to convince them you have nothing worth stealing, not even your life.

6. Plaster a huge smile on your face and ask them to turn up the music and dance with you?

This was a real life situation I was once in. Since I am still here, you probably can rule out which ones I did not do.

What would you do? If it is not on the list, please add it in the comments.

If there is any interest I will let you know in a couple days what I DID do.