Today I’d like to discuss one segment of mental disorder–hoarding. I am not a medical professional in any way, but I am an observer and a free-thinker. Hoarders have created their own insulatory cocoon of misery. A shield from the outside and a literal prison of garbage on the inside.
What madness drives this behavior? A hoarder is petrified into moving ahead because of the fear of letting go or leaving something behind. Things contain their memories. To let go would mean the obliteration of meaningful memories and loss of control over their environment. Purging and cleaning is as scary as a knife to the heart. A piece of themselves will surely die with each discarded item. They many times weave a blanket of stagnant behavior and the inability to move forward with their lives. They don’t understand that moving forward doesn’t mean the past is left behind. Memories attach themselves to the person, not the object. One may trigger the other, butt hey are quite separate. A few mementos respectfully displayed are touching and lend personality to our lives. An avalanche of stuff mixed with dead animals, filled garbage bags, toilets that don’t flush, kitchens filled with dirty dishes, laundry stacked to the ceiling, and all the other things stacked around the home is a mental disorder needing severe counseling and life changes.
People living the life of an off-the-scale hoarder like the ones depicted on television have made a choice to stop being a functioning adult, bury themselves alive in trash, and cripple any relationships with family or friends to a degree of extreme loneliness. Can we not treat this as a serious mental disorder and provide relief to these people and not write them off as people who do not matter? We shouldn’t try to hide or cover up this disorder. It should be tackled head on as a society. Sure some people get help, but many do not. Hoarding in my opinion is as much a disease as drugs or alcohol or any other skewed behavior. I would love to see a program dedicated to the identification and treatment of this obsessive disorder… Sandy