We spoke to Anne (not her real name), who is currently a third year University student. She spent her childhood and teenage years living with a mother who's a compulsive hoarder. Anne told us that:
It affected my own head. There as one time I was insisting that a bag of shoes wasn't mine and we should throw it out; and then later I realised that, oh my God, mum was right it WAS my shoes in the bag. She had 30 or 40 plastic bags full of them, but that one bag was actually mine. I just get so messed up."
Because it's awkward to bring it up, no one wants to help intervene," Anne says, "When we had visitors on the new year many had to stand, or even hang around in the corridor; but they would still be polite and pretend nothing's wrong. But these are family, you would expect them to do something."
ï»¿5 Terrible Things You Learn When Living With A Hoarder Mum
Anne says she's naturally an extrovert, so this resulted in odd behaviour: she alternated between being friendly and engaging, and suddenly withdrawing because a comment or look set off her anxiety. Anne eventually revealed the truth to two of her closest friends, however, and they're accepting of it (although no one gets invited to her house, even today).