Dude!

Holy shit! Hoarders is getting raw. The first couple episodes I watched were people who were just a little crazy and paralyzed by their compulsive accumulation of crap. But I’ve got a stack of them tivoed and they’re getting progressively scarier. It’s gotten so I can only watch about 15 minutes at a time and then I have to jump up and clean something! It’s really heartbreaking. (Not my cleaning; the desperate people in their garbage-filled homes.)

[P.S. Interesting notes on the moral/social implications of the show in the comments. I was replaying it here, but I was on kind of a shaky soapbox. :) ]

Today it was so windy that one of the posts holding up my hay shelter BLEW OUT OF ITS CONCRETE FOOTING!

I guess a gust must have gotten under the cattle panel & tarp roof and blown straight up, because the post was completely out of the ground next to the concrete. It wasn’t set as deep as our fence posts, but it was a good 2 – 2 1/2 feet in concrete! I’m hoping the wind will be down tomorrow and we’ll be able to get it back in the hole, but it’s going to be rough with the pressure that the arced cattle panels put on the rail that’s attached to it. My plan was to install some guy wires when when I replace the tarp (the pressure was making the posts bow out, which in turn reduces the tension of the arc and makes it more likely to strain under snow). I hope that that, coupled with some more reinforcement, will be enough to do the trick. I might need to dig out around the original hole and pour in more concrete, and maybe bolt some angle iron through the posts and into the concrete.

  • Denise W. says:

    Hey Nikol….I’ve never watched Hoarders….maybe I should and it would motivate me to do some deep cleaning :-) Well yesterday while your hay shelter blew away we had a baby llama born. I’ve posted her picture on my blog. Sorry I missed Spinsters at Harveyville….I had hope Terri could come and talk about an angora workshop with us. Never a dull moment on the farm. Hope all is well with you!

  • Julie says:

    The one that got me the worst was the lady who had no toilet for a long time – if you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean. If not, I’m not spoiling…

  • amanda says:

    ooh, i agree with julie. that episode of hoarders was seriously sad. i can only watch part of it as well; although i tend to watch the beginning, go clean some stuff, and then come back to watch the end.

  • Nikol says:

    Yes, that’s the one that totally freaked me out. The key to staying out of the abyss seems to be living with other people. And other people who are not checked-out alcoholics. I think it gives them some tiny sliver of perspective.

  • Sherry says:

    The 3000 pounds of dirty diapers was incredible! These poor people are mentally ill. A sane person could NOT live the way they do. We know an older woman who isn’t this bad but is heading that way and it’s VERY hard to make an impression on her that she is not living in a healthy way.

  • 10a says:

    Personally I’m not that fond of television that makes money out of others peoples misery, especially if mental issues are involved, and this sounds positively repulsive.

  • Nikol says:

    10a, The whole idea behind the show is that they bring in psychologists who specialize in OCD/anxiety/depression/hoarding and professional organizers who specialize in hoarding and help them regain control of their homes and lives. They also often help arrange aftercare, helping people get therapy through medicaid (many of the sufferers are seniors) or social security. And they’re paying for these services one can only assume are very expensive that people who live in squalor could almost certainly not afford, and would probably not otherwise even accept. They also bring in family members and friends for support/help. I don’t think anyone on the show would be able to overcome their crap without professional help, and I’d say net, it’s a very, very good thing. Most of them don’t even have a concept of how ill and dangerous this situation was until they’ve cleared their homes and started them sorting stuff and letting go of it. Many of the people haven’t seen their floors and counters in literally decades. It’s actually fairly uplifting and about as respectful and non-exploitative as you could get in this situation. I also suspect it’s leading to both normal/borderline people getting cleaned up and purged and mentally ill people getting help. A big chunk of the problem is the humiliation associated with this disorder, and seeing other people as bad off or worse has got to be helpful in taking the first step.

    I never thought I’d defend a reality show, but there it is.

  • cory says:

    I actually clean for clients with special needs, and some of these folks are mild to moderate hoarders. Nothing like on the show, but boy, they could be if there was not someone coming in helping, and sometimes, pressuring them to sort through stuff.
    I like the show, and I have learned a few things from it, but even though I have a degree in psychology, I find that the so-called experts are pretty ineffectual. I really like the professional organizers’ approach a whole lot better–they seem to cut through the manipulation and really get these folks moving. Yes, I know it might not be a politically correct thing to say, but there is a great deal of self-pity and manipulation in mental illnesses, and sometimes the individuals on this show demonstrate no sense of how they are hurting their families and themselves, and also how much is being done for them. I actually think that this type of hoarding is actually a slow form of suicide.
    In my experience, after-care is crucial. I come in and we literally go through napkins and pieces of paper, piece by piece. I also clean everywhere that I can get to, as gradually we move more and more out. In some cases, it has taken nearly a year to get to a cluttered, but fairly clean environment. And most of my clients wind up learning to desensitize and throw out things themselves. It is a baffling disorder…especially for someone like me, who actually has OCD, but is on the neat-obsessed other end of the spectrum. ;)

  • kate says:

    Honestly, I find that show to be really intriguing, from a psychological perspective, but also as just plain really interesting t.v. I know A&E profits off of the people, but their ultimate goal does seem to help them — much like intervention. It also seems, like you said, that they provide a ton of “after care”, esp for people who could not afford it otherwise.

    Did you see the cranky elderly woman who thought her cat “ran away”? um, yeah…..he didn’t.

    And, I agree, every time I watch it, I get up after and clean something or throw something away.

  • 10a says:

    Oh, am I the shame-on-you-for-watching person?!? That wasn’t my main point actually, I suppose that would be shame-on-you-for-offering-these-people-help-only-if-they-agree-you-can-broadcast-their-misery-and-subsequently-make-MUCH-more-money. And because I feel like that it isn’t my cup of tea, that’s all.
    I suppose it’s because I live in the Netherlands where people with these problems (and I mean the REALY bad ones you described, not the average too-much-clutter-could-use-some-help ones) would always get help, paid for by our health care system. Where you live people are not always that lucky, so these programs can not only be made but are even neccesary perhaps.

  • Nikol says:

    You’re definitely on to something there. It’s pretty freaking depressing that A&E is filling a void in U.S. social services/healthcare.

    Here, I suspect even people who have insurance with mental health coverage (two big IFs) would be reluctant to actually use it for this. Aside from lifers with big corporations and seniors, people here are constantly weighing actually getting the service they paid for with the perceived notion (and it’s often more than just perceived) that their insurance companies will screw them over and either raise their premiums or cancel their policies.

    Out of curiosity, is your perception that this is as big of a problem in Europe? I figured it was as much a factor of our consumer culture as anything else, but I suppose it more impacts the manner in which people hoard, not the hoarding itself.

  • 10a says:

    As big a problem on this side of the pond? Well, you don’t hear about it much, but like you said it’s a problem that people (or at least their family members) are somewhat ashamed of.

    But I would say it probably cannot get so desperately bad here (speaking of The Netherlands now) because we are living closer together and our (mostly terraced) houses are usually smaller than yours (ehm, DEFINITELY smaller than yours ;-> Love what you and your guy are doing with that building by the way).

    This space-issue allone means that you cannot hoard that much stuff before your rooms are filled, neighbours start complaining about the smell/bugs and someone from social services rings your bell. We also rent a lot here, so people would face an eviction if they continue being a hindrance to their neighbours.

    Hmm, never realised that less living space could sometimes be a good thing…

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