Last night I was bored after being sick for two days, and remembered that a friend had told me about a show called Hoarders, so I decided to watch it. Talk about SAD!! It was overwhelming, completely mind-boggling!
I was actually a little reluctant to watch the show because I firmly believe that what you focus on, you tend to become, whether it is positive or negative, and this is so VERY negative. But it may be a good thing to watch one or two episodes, just because it is so hard to believe that anyone could get to that point, but obviously people have! These people have a mental condition that causes them to collect things. They have houses so full of stuff that they can’t live normal lives, yet they refuse to part with anything, even things that are obviously worthless junk. I watched two episodes, and the thing that really impressed me was how hoarding isolates people.
One person featured had to clean her house out because her 14 yr old son had deliberately lied to a school counselor, who had called Child Protective Services. When CPS arrived at the door, they demanded that the house be cleaned up or the son would be taken out of her custody, which is exactly what the kid wanted. He thought he’d rather live in foster care than in the midst of her mess.
Another person on the show seemed to be totally alone except for her home shopping channel, living with stacks of unopened boxes–things she had purchased “because she liked pretty things.” But believe me, there is nothing pretty about a house where there isn’t even a clear path and most of the rooms couldn’t be entered. Even the kitchen was stacked full–no way to use it! The bathroom had only a clear space around the toilet–the tub was stacked full. The woman was sick frequently, with strange little ailments and infections that the doctors couldn’t really put a finger on, but it very likely was due to the condition of her house. All the mice and mold and other unmentionables were making it quite uninhabitable, but she seemed oblivious to it. She couldn’t understand why anyone had a problem with it, and thought her relatives were making a fuss over nothing.
The third house belonged to a woman whose husband of 37 years had suddenly disappeared a year earlier after a fight over the house. He just gave up. They had twelve children, the last of which had moved out at 15 because she was so tired of dealing with her mom’s stuff. None of her children brought the grandchildren to visit because the house was so jammed full and filthy. The woman had actually been living in a homeless shelter for almost a year when the show was filmed. The relationships in this family were a total mess.
All of those people were so alone, substituting STUFF for relationships, giving up time with the people they love because they couldn’t give up their THINGS. I can’t quit thinking about it. And all of them were in such deep denial. They knew that things had to get back in shape, but they didn’t seem to understand that in order to do that, they had to LET GO of things. What was even more depressing was that, among just these three, the follow-up didn’t look promising at all.
I have to admit that it was completely fascinating to me, in a horrible sort of way. I can’t decide whether I will allow myself to watch another episode or not.
It made me think of a few hoarders I have known over the years. Only one was even close to the plight of those on the show. That family simply left things behind and moved to another house every ten years or so, leaving the old house to fall down around all the junk inside and around it. I have no idea how their family relationships were, but they do have some nice children, so perhaps they weren’t so scarred by their surroundings as some of these seemed to be.
Do you know any hoarders? What do you think causes people to do it?