Let’s talk about this show because it really interests me.
I have an aunt who is a huge hoarder.
I mean…I know she had dead cats in her house and that is no joke.
My family has helped her multiple times and it has never worked.
It has only made her mad and has isolated her even further from our family.
The crazy thing about my Aunt is that she actually has a husband that lives there too.
For a while, they were actually sleeping in hotels out of town on “business trips” but I think it was to avoid their home.
So what goes on with a hoarder besides the insane mess?
Let me tell you about my Aunt.
She is one of the nicest people you will ever meet…….sometimes.
Other times, she is jealous and mean of those around here.
Two opposites really.
My Aunt suffer from schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a disabling, and severe brain disorder.
People with this order may hear voices, they might think that others are reading their mind or trying to hurt them.
Because of the disorder, they confuse other, scare others and end up just becoming isolated to hide from the world to keep from causing any pain or adversity due to their misunderstood presence and behaviors.
When she talks, she sometimes does not make any sense and she sometimes will go into these really light seizures where she can be sitting and her eyes roll back just for a moment and she will go into a stagnant stare sometimes…but she is easily snapped out of it….but sometimes the personality that appears is different than the one that was just there moments ago.
Our entire family is affected by my aunt and many of the younger generation had no idea she had the illness because as youngsters, she would show up and we knew nothing more of it.
She would always buy us a ton of gifts but they were always weird. Like one year, she bought everyone wash clothes.
Because she just loved wash clothes that year.
It was weird but she was genuinely happy to give each kid a wash cloth.
You know what’s even sillier?
They were used wash clothes.
I know…it’s sounds insane….and it is.
Remember she has a brain disorder.
My grandmother has always treated my aunt different than everyone else (according to my mother) by giving her money, her cars, taking her out places.
It’s interesting because my mother, whom I always thought was such a good person, is jealous of her.
My mother will swear that she is not, but she is because after knowing what schizophrenia entails and to know that my aunt suffers in the world and has been since day one, it’s no wonder she relies on the friendship of my grandmother to get her through and give her some of the riches she has accumulated.
My mother gets mad when my grandmother gives my Aunt Money because in her mind, my Aunt is a lazy piece of crap.
It’s like my mother forgot she had schizophrenia or something.
And it’s not just my mother, it’s my other aunts and uncles too.
The tip of the iceberg for them was when my grandmother had to move out of her house due to health issues. She had just suffered some major things that would change her life from what it had been for over 30 years and my mother took the charge.
My mother and my other aunt cleaned up the entire house and prepared it for sale. It was an older house but in a prominent location.
My mother and Aunt began to try and figure out what would go nicely in my grandmothers new living apartment and what would not fit.
They began to “divy” up all the stuff among the family to get things out quickly and to move on with the mission of getting Grandma to a new home.
Moving anyone is not easy.
Moving someone after 30 plus years of accumulated stuff (even in the cleanest of houses…which my grandmother had) was a large task.
My mother was mad that my Aunt (the schizophrenia one) did not show up to help.
But on the last day, she did.
She came with a Uhaul truck to claim items she wanted and there was some sort of brawl over an iron pot.
Anyways, my Aunt stuffed her Uhaul truck full and left.
She didn’t help clean up the house and she didn’t bother asking if they needed help with stuff during the move.
She just came to pick up her goods and was gone.
My mother was livid.
But….perhaps…it was all a misunderstanding?
My mother and others in the family won’t hear it.
My sick Aunt has a disorder that it seems my family forgets.
If people with schizophrenia do truly have issues with socialization, working and being continually present in the world as one fluent thinking being, then how in the world could the family be mad at her?
Her Uhaul was her sickness.
She’s a hoarder.
Of course she is going to show up to hoard.
And to help clean?
That’s just not in a hoarders persona.
It’s just not.
I know it’s hard to understand but people that hoard don’t “see” the hoard. They don’t “see” the dirt and when they do…they may be just so defeated by the enormity of it that it pushes them into another realm….a realm of “I don’t see it”.
I know a girl who use to walk over clothes (clean!) that were all over the floor because she had to find a certain top one day.
She had to dig through all her drawers and the closet to find it and once she did, she was happy but exhausted, so she left the clothes she had taken out.
And there they laid for weeks.
Not because of laziness.
I promise you it’s not
That girl wanted to pick up those clothes more than anything.
When she tried, she would get one or two up and then something else would come along and off she would go.
She began to have piles everywhere of stupid crap like that.
Her life was reflected in her piles.
Out of order, in disarray and lost, her home did the same thing.
It was nothing of a hoarding level, but to have a pile of clean clothes on the floor and stack of papers on the kitchen counter are just as aggravating to that girl like they are to you.
The difference between you and that girl an my aunt?
You can likely pick the stuff up and put it back.
But the girl?
She gets stuck.
When she starts, she goes full fledge with the purest intentions of taking control of this one problem and as she gets in deeper, she gets lost.
She can’t figure out where to put things because they have no place.
People who have tried to help her have moved things to piles and the piles may have something in them, like a bill, that needs to be addressed.
By the time she is done going through just one stack of papers or one pile of clean clothes, exhaustion…literally sets in.
Her mental capacity to be able to continue is diminished.
It becomes a struggle every time she tries, so the answer is to not struggle.
So..there are many levels of hoarders.
Some hoarders have their lives taken over by huge hoards and their health is impacted.
Other Hoarders have small collections and smaller problems that would become out of control hoards, but they prevent by going through the mental torture of addressing the issue sometimes, daily, sometimes monthly….
Either way you put it.
Hoarding is a sickness….no less than cancer…no less than a horrible case of pneumonia.
All of them are disabling to some extent.
Imagine being disabled forever.
So, when you judge that person who hoards….show some compassion.
If they are mean or confusing and they don’t make sense, then remember where they go to…remember that they live everyday of their lives in a body and with a brain that they wish were more like yours.
***This was meant to be a post rather than a page, but since it’s a page…we’ll just keep it at that***