Monday, September 7, 2009

Hoarding

Is anyone besides me watching Hoarders on the A&E channel?

I'm at turns fascinated, appalled, sickened, and saddened. I've even at times found myself close to tears. It's painful to watch their struggles as they attempt to clear the clutter with the help of a therapist/organizer, and equally painful watching the frustration, helplessness, anger, and pain of family members and friends who are trying to help. The filth ... oh my gosh, you can almost smell it through the screen.

Tonight's show featured an elderly couple who, in addition to piles of clutter, were hoarding cats, and their house was unbelieveably filthy. She thought they had something like 20 cats ... the final count was 76, half of which had to be euthenized. As animal control cleared and cleaned the house, they found the remains of over 40 dead cats and kittens, some decades old, hidden in and under clutter.. Can you even begin to imagine that?

I don't think the fascination with this is the same as craning your neck to see a car wreck or watching Jerry Springer. It's more like ... well, I don't know why or how it's different, but it is. Though I guess it does have a there but for the grace of God aspect.

I've known people with serious clutter issues, but nothing like hoarding. And a lot of us have too much "stuff", but I think it becomes hoarding when it interferes with safe and healthy living? When it becomes more of an obsessive/compulsive disorder, a mental disorder? Definitely when it becomes a serious quality of life issue.

Have any of you experienced hoarding with a family member or acquaintance?

9 comments:

Bernie said...

I started to watch that show once and was unable to keep watching it. I think people like this are unwell/it's like they are addicted to their lifestyles and absolutely need professional help....it's so sad really.
Have a great Tuesday.....:-) Hugs

Ginger said...

I haven't seen that show. I can't even imagine the smell of having dead cats in the house. Gag.
One of my boys has to go into customer's homes to work, and he had one recently that was filled with dog feces and urine. He couldn't stand it and started gagging and had to leave. The owner said "whats the problem"? Guess he was used to it.

glnroz said...

At first, I thought it was "staged", but then I realized that these people were actually this way. I didnt finish watching, because these people were actually,(in my opinion) in great anguish. But then again you ought to see my desk..

Missy said...

I started to watch the show, but then turned the channel...it was too sad. :(

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http://missysbooknook.blogspot.com/2009/09/honest-scrap-award.html

glnroz said...

well, add your continuation to the story. I would love you hear your input. :)

Pammy said...

Gotta admit...I'm hooked on it. In fact, I've had a blog post about it brewing around in my head for a week or so now.
I think, for me, the attraction of the show is that it makes me feel more...normal. heh

gia said...

I became interested in animal hoarders several years ago, when I adopted a dog from someone I thought was a rescuer. She allowed very, very few of her dogs to be adopted, she kept bringing in more and more, for every 10 that came in only 1 (if lucky) got out.
I was frustrated and sickened. So much so I started a blog and website on the subject.
http://animalhoardinginfo.blogspot.com
www.animalhoaridng.org

Bonnie said...

i'm hooked on it also. it's a topic i have some interest in, being a seriously cluttered person myself. at the beginning of the show they do run a definition of the clinical diagnosis of hoarding, which is in the spectrum of obsessive-compulsive disorders...and i am happy that i may have clutter issues because of my collecting of fiber and textiles and art supplies, but i know i am not a hoarder. it is, indeed, very sad for these folks. i have a hard time sometimes watching, as i can literally feel the anxiety that drives this illness (one of my gifts/curses in life is that i am extremely sensitive to the feelings of other people), and so often these folks are tied up in knots of angst over their lives as affected by this condition.

i think it's interesting that sometimes they want help, and other times they want to continue doing what they do. getting them to change their coping mechanisms to life's ups and downs is terribly hard.

i could talk on and on about this...i have a grown son with OCD, thankfully not this sort, and he has been on medication since he was in his twenties. anxiety disorders can be crippling.

i'll stop now.

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