Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hoarding - a Result of Emotional Imbalance

I have a confession – I’m a compulsive “box saver.” Any time something arrives in a sturdy cardboard box I have to save it. My rationalization is that “Christmas is coming” and I’ll need the boxes for wrapping gifts. Or, maybe I’ll decide to sell something on eBay and I’ll need a box. Or, maybe I’ll have one of my bouts of organizing and I’ll need good boxes.

My family laughs at me about this and I annoy myself a little when I’m trying to stack my empty boxes out of the way. But I never considered it a problem until last week-end.

Then, a TV show I saw made me wonder if I was starting down a path to hoarding.

Have you seen that show? It’s all about people who can’t let go of their “stuff” and after a few years their homes turn into huge junk piles. They can’t cook because their kitchen counter tops and tables are covered with 2 or 3 feet of “stuff” and they can’t sit on the couch because it’s covered too. In extreme cases they have little paths to navigate around the house and have to climb over piles of things just to go to bed at night.

The worst of it is that the people doing the hoarding are so ashamed that they cut themselves off from family and friends and don’t allow others to visit their homes, but they can’t seem to stop themselves. They know when they’re going to yard sales and shopping bargain stores that they don’t need any of what they’re bringing home. They know that old newspapers, empty food containers, and broken toasters belong in the trash. But they keep on acquiring and saving.

On the show, the people who are profiled have agreed to treatment from a behavioral psychologist and the filming follows their progress as they learn to part with things. Some of those people exhibit actual pain just from seeing someone else touch something in their piles. And they agonize when anything – even a 3 year old phone book – goes into a trash bag.

The more I thought about it, the more I thought about the underlying problems that would cause a person to hang on to physical objects in this way. Of course the show mentioned depression, but that’s a pretty big catch-all for a lot of emotional disturbances.

So I went to and started reading about each of the Bach Flower Essences. I decided that Sweet Chestnut might be a good place to start, but since so many different situations and events could trigger a need to hang on to things, I think each person needs to study the lists.

I’ve decided that as long as I can still use my boxes and send them out into the world, I’m OK. But if you’ve started saving things for no reason that you can understand, it might be time to seek some emotional balance. Go to and study the brief descriptions, then go to to read the long versions.

It simply cannot be fun to end up like those poor folks on the Hoarding show!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Feel5ive Week...

This was a stressful week around here. We discovered a tumor on our dog and there was no choice but to have it removed. That meant facing the danger of him being anesthetized...

Feel5ive helped us humans get through the day while Ralphie was with the vet. We were very relieved when he came through the surgery and woke up again. And then relieved to learn that the tumor was localized - it had no little "feet" attaching it to other tissues in his body.

So we were fine - until it came time to administer the medications. He needed antibiotics to ward off infections, and they prescribed some pretty strong pain medications as well.

Much as I don't like to use those things, we fed them to him at first. After being "fooled" into eating the pills the first time, he was having none of it by the next morning. Manhandling him to get the pills in upset all of us, so we all had a little Feel5ive, then began the search for hiding places in food he would swallow without question. It's been fun.

Meanwhile, the pain pills turned our poor old pup into a zombie. And so, since I looked up the side effects and decided we needed to try to get along without them, we stopped giving them.

After about 24 hours he was in great distress and started biting at his stitches. We couldn't risk him tearing them out, so gave him a half dose of pain medication and a dose of Feel5ive, and sat with him until he fell asleep.

Now I'm sticking with the Feel5ive and one pain pill before bed. And our darling Ralphie is acting like himself again.

I've never tried to count the times that Feel5ive has helped me get through a rough situation - but I know I'm grateful to have that bottle nearby!

Thank you Dr. Bach, for making your wonderful discovery about the power of flower essences!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jury Duty, Stress, and Bach Flowers

Have you ever been called for Jury Duty?

This is the 3rd time I've been called, so I wish they'd find some new names. Part of it is the idea that I don't feel qualified to judge someone else. In spite of what the prosecutor and the defense decide to present in court - I don't KNOW what went on. I'd hate to be responsible for harming an innocent person.

The second part is that the Courthouse is over an hour's drive from here, so being there at 8 a.m. means getting up at 6 in order to be presentable and get there on time. Not good for a night owl who likes to work until 2 a.m. and then read a while before going to sleep.

Friends tell me "Just go to bed early." I tried that, and found that my body "knows" when it's time to go to sleep - and stays awake until the proper time to sleep.

This time was especially stressful because of the wind. We've had a long spell of heavy winds and they buffet the car around so driving on the highway is real work.

Anyway... I give thanks for Feel5ive for getting me through those times without falling apart. Taking a few drops before setting out keeps me from getting stressed over the wind - and over the fear of being asked to decide another person's fate.

Luckily, this time I had to show up and sit through the movie and preliminary questions, but didn't get chosen. Hopefully the same thing will happen next week and the next. And then April will be over and I'll be off the hook.

Meanwhile, I wish Dr. Bach had found a Bach Flower Essence that would be a substitute for sleep...

Friday, April 02, 2010

Helping Small Children Cope With Fear and Anxiety

Sometimes it’s hard for an adult to understand that a baby or a toddler can experience the same fearful emotions that an adult has. After all, they’re just babies, they don’t understand the situation.

No, they don’t. And that makes it worse. Rather than being able to think through a problem from all sides and understand that it isn’t as dire as it appears, those kids are stuck with just the feelings. The emotions and the energy of a situation can lay them low, and if they’re very young, they don’t even have the language skills to talk to anyone about it. Worse, no one thinks to explain to them that things “really will be OK.”

Kids and pets are far more sensitive to energy, emotion, and feeling than are adults. And that’s why we as adults need to protect them to the best of our ability.

The first move, of course, is to try to create a life without turmoil so they have no frightening energies to pick up. But that isn’t always possible.

If someone is ill, if financial problems are plaguing the household, if there’s been a crime or an injury, adults carry it with them and the kids can pick it up.

Adults really do need to remember to talk to small children, even if they don’t think those children can understand. They need that reassurance because they already have the fear and apprehension.

And next, they need some help in getting their energies back into alignment.

That’s the beauty of Bach Flower Remedies. While they won’t work on adults without their knowledge, they do work on small children and pets.

Aspen treats unexplained anxiety – while Gentian and Mimulus treat anxiety and fear when the cause is known. Mustard treats the dark cloud of depression, while Star of Bethlehem treats the effects of trauma. (As when an infant has been in a frightening car accident.)

If you care for a child (or a pet) who appears to be suffering from fear and anxiety, visit and read about the 38 Bach Flower Remedies in the Bach Flower reference guide. Choose a formula based on the events you know have affected the child’s life, combined with the symptoms that the child is exhibiting.

The wonderful thing about Bach Flower Remedies is that if you choose incorrectly and add a flower essence to the blend that isn’t necessary, there will be no ill effects.

Bach Flower Essences are completely safe for babies, pregnant women, the elderly, those taking prescription drugs, and everyone in between. They can only help, never harm.