there's a tv show called "hoarders" on A&E.  it's been on awhile, i think, because i've heard mike talk about it and i've seen it sitting on our dvr before.  i've just never taken the time to watch an episode until tonight... and i can't believe i waited so long.

i've heard of people who hoard things but i never knew it was such an epidemic.  i guess i also never understood that people who hoard in such an extreme way have some kind of brain malfunction.  it's a sickness and they can't see that what they're doing is seriously, SERIOUSLY messed up.

the episode i watched tonight was about a woman in new orleans.  she was in her 60's and had two children.  her home was in such complete devastation that she'd lost her son (who's 28 years old now and was raised by his sister) and her home was just about to be declared condemned by the city.  the producers of the show went in and cleaned up her house and found, among other various disgusting items, her bottom dentures, the bodies of two decomposed cats, and a 28 year-old package of diapers, some of which looked used.  they hauled away over 8,000 pounds of debris.


now i've heard of people who are psychotic, i've heard of people who hear voices, are deathly afraid of spiders, don't like germs, and other forms of crazy... but maybe you counselors and psychiatrists out there can help me with this one.  what kind of crazy makes you live in 8,000 pounds of pure filth and not think there's anything wrong with it?


Anonymous said...

The type of people who are afraid to throw anything out in case they may need it at some point again, the type of people who buy things that they don't need just because they are on sale. It is an anxiety disorder, which is the same category that panic attacks and OCD fall under, gone supernova. Many of us have some sort of anxiety issues (which are normal) but have coping mechanisms and can overcome irrational fears to some extent, which makes us functional. What I have learned is we are all some kind of crazy, some of us just have better ways of dealing with it ; )

ohhellocupcake said...

thanks, katie! that helps clear the whole thing up a bit. i agree with the part about us all having "some kind of crazy". mine personally comes in many forms, one of which is having to have things super clean and organized (at times obsessively). i guess that's why it was so difficult and disturbing for me to see the way the woman on "hoarders" was living. i wanted so badly to go to her house and help clean. maybe that should be my new career... that way i could use my crazy to benefit others. ; )

Jen said...

I've noticed that a lot of people who compulsively hoard (and i've never had a client that was anything near as bad as people on this show) often grew up with very little. Many people attach sentimental value to seemingly useless items and it's am emotional experience for them to get rid of it so they just choose not to. Like Katie said, hoarding is an anxiety disorder gone wild.

One of the episodes is a woman in Kent or someplace local who actually bought ANOTHER HOUSE because the first one was "full" and it had gotten to the point where both houses were full and going into foreclosure because she spent money on crazy crap she didn't need and had 2 mortgages on huge houses.

Oh, and about the cats...there's another episode where they find like 20 something dead cats in a couples' home. Some are like mummified. creeeepy.

I could never be the type of psychologist who goes into people's homes like that. No. thank. you.