In a recent Chicago Tribune feature by Alison Bowen, married couple Bec and Lee Shuer share the steps they took to manage Lee’s hoarding disorder. In the article, Lee discusses how hoarding impacted his life, and how with support from Bec, he was able to overcome his disorder, and eventually offer help to others.
When Bec and Lee Shuer were dating, she thought all of the stuff crammed into Lee’s house belonged to him and his roommates.
When they later moved into a studio apartment together in Massachusetts, she realized all of that stuff was Lee’s. Overflowing boxes, stacks of albums and games — the seemingly endless inventory filled not only their home but a storage unit and shed, as well.
Bec’s frustration mounted when, months into their marriage, she found herself climbing over piles of objects to access a kitchen gadget or get dressed for work.
“I was losing myself,” she said. “I couldn’t access my hobbies, my love of cooking. My home was a misery for me.”
The Shuers attended the International OCD Foundation’s annual conference in Chicago last year to talk about hoarding, a disorder characterized by excessive accumulation and an almost paralyzing inability to get rid of possessions.