Emotional Diogenes Syndrome

“Bittersweet or painful memories, mental images that make us ashamed, abandoned aspirations, failed relationships… These are things that we gradually accumulate and carry on our backs, and for some strange reason we refuse to forget and even take out on occasion by simple masochism…” Valeria al desnudo, Elisabet Benavent.

Reading this book, it occurred to me to read and delve deeper into this concept so familiar and yet so unknown.

Sometimes, some information appears in the news about a case of extreme Diogenes, in which tons and tons of garbage and totally useless objects have been found in the home of an elderly person after his or her death. The difference between a person suffering from a behavioral disorder and a “healthy” person is that when faced with the same vision of a room with garbage up to the ceiling, the person affected by the Diogenes Syndrome will see his house as completely normal, while the other person will quickly start cleaning it up.

Diogenes Syndrome affects a low percentage of the population, although on an emotional level it affects almost the complementary part without being aware of it. How many of us have ever kept a movie ticket, a dinner ticket or a souvenir we shared with a person that made it special? Or without keeping something physical: have we recalled a pleasant memory -or not- and have we enjoyed it or have we been whipped by it?

These objects or experiences, which in principle are insignificant, we store them little by little, and one day when we feel melancholic we take them out and dust off memories. A first kiss, a first caress, the first breakup, the first tears of love… A long string of emotions and sensations that can comfort us or hurt us a lot.

In our daily life we have everything quite organized: sizes, agendas, schedules, shopping lists… We would never keep a size 38 shirt when we wear a 44, we wouldn’t wash dishes in the bathtub and we wouldn’t fill the drawers of our closets with burnt-out light bulbs. On these issues, we learn quickly how it works, what works and what doesn’t.

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If so… Why is it so hard for us to apply it in other areas? Why is it harder to discriminate what is important and what is not important in our lives as we do with e-mail? How do we cure ourselves of the tendency to hoard everything in our minds?

From time to time, we should be able to clean out our mind, open up and empty ourselves completely like the kitchen drawers or clean under the carpet. One day, without further ado, eliminate everything: this doesn’t fit, this doesn’t look good, this I didn’t remember I had, I’ll rescue it…

And so, simply, get rid of all the bad things, recover and keep the good things and have the best things at hand, so that we don’t forget them.

Sometimes we have to learn not to forget. We must know how to select the memories and say goodbye to those that are not useful to us and end up holding us back.

Clean your memory sometime. Try to do it. Keep the good, the lessons of life as something useful and to keep in mind and not as harmful. Forget what causes you pain in the soul, and leave space to accumulate new experiences and memories … So you will return to live with intensity.

For more information, consult a specialist in Psychology.

“Life will never stop teaching you as long as you want to keep learning” (Anonymous).