Originally published Monday, April 16, 2018 at 10:39a.m.
I found myself watching “Hoarders” this morning. Not a whole lot of television viewing out there on a Sunday. I usually watch the I.D. channel until I start seeing ones I saw the weekend before. If they have not aired for a few months, I don't remember them anyway and get to enjoy them all over again.
Anyway, about those Hoarders. There are actually some who call themselves "Collectors." It’s hard to imagine that while taking the tour through their homes. I often have to ask, "Is it garbage you collect?"
I know that these people are probably the worst of the worst out there. Most are in this situation because of a mental illness. Sometimes it sounds like PTSD of some kind. A traumatic event in their lives can change everything for them.
There are many who can no longer even reside in their homes. And some started out with a beautiful house. By the time they end up on “Hoarders,” they are usually close to losing their home and living in the streets. I don't know if losing their home is the scary part, or losing the items they have surrounded themselves with.
I am not a shrink by any means, but I do notice that many of these people believe that every item has value, whether it’s an empty egg carton or an old dust cloth.
It is not unusual to see a story about animal hoarders on the news. Those who start out with the best of intentions but become overwhelmed soon after. Those are the ones I cannot watch. I am only grateful that someone stepped up and the animals were removed.
Hoarding of anything, can be problematic, I guess. How does one actually know when they have crossed the line? You would think that when you can no longer sleep in your own bed because there is so much "stuff" you can't get into the bedroom that would be an indicator. But alas, for some this doesn't mean a thing. I think this particular behavior is interesting.
I do know at least one hoarder. She is a wonderful person and does not see anything wrong. She continues to buy things she cannot afford because she just NEEDS to have them. Like some other hoarders, she has boxes stacked up all over her home and leaves just enough room to walk through. I sometimes ask myself, "Why not send the folks on a short trip and clean house?”
I watch how they "baby" all these people living in horrid conditions. Then again, the compassionate side of me understands. These "treasures" they are surrounded by have become their lives. They are usually estranged from friends and family, and they are left only with things.
Mental illness comes in all sizes and shapes, and behaviors.
We may never understand another's pain because we are not the one suffering.