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Daughter of Hoarder Comes Clean
WATCH Hoarder’s Daughter Kept Shameful Secret
When Jessie Sholl visits her childhood home in Minneapolis, Minn. she doesn’t actually go inside. In fact, she never even makes it past the front steps.
“I feel nervous right now,” she told “20/20” as she stood by the house’s front door recently. “My muscles are a little bit tense, like I need to be prepared to possibly run.”
Sholl, 42, was there to visit her mother, who is a hoarder. A psychological disorder, hoarding is characterized by the excessive collection of items paired with the inability to throw things out as well as problems with organization. It is considered both prevalent and difficult to treat. According to Dr. Randy Frost, author of “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things,” there are an estimated 6 million to 15 million hoarders in the U.S.
But it’s not only victims of the disorder who are affected, it’s their children, too.
Sholl grew up in a home overwhelmed with piles of moth-eaten sweaters, dirty paper plates and other junk.
“By the time I was 10, I just, I really couldn’t take it anymore,” Sholl said. Sholl, whose parents are divorced, moved in with her father, but could not stop her growing fixation with helping her mother dig out of the hoard.
“I would still go to my mom’s house, and I would organize the pantry, or do some cleaning while I was there,” she said. “I was basically as obsessed with fixing her hoarding as she was with hoarding.”
Sholl’s attempts to help her mother not only put a strain on their relationship, but also her health: During clean-ups at her mother’s house, Sholl contracted scabies, a parasite that lives under the skin, twice.
“The itch that comes from scabies, it’s just unreal,” she said. “It was at that point that I just said, ‘I’m done. I’m not helping you anymore.'”
Dr. Suzanne Chabaud, a licensed psychologist who studies children of hoarders and has appeared on the A ?>