100 lb. Club - OT: "Hoarders"

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08-19-2009, 11:14 AM
wow! I watched an A&E show called "Hoarders" and was blown away. I work in the mental health field and i've come across a few, but only the types who hoard junk, nothing perishable.

There was an older woman who was a food hoarder, had 3 or 4 fridges, and they were overflowing with disgusting, rotting, foul food. She had rotting veg and fruit in her living room, bug strips covered with critters, a rotting pumpkin in a room, it was so bizarre the disconnect she had. The clean up guys had to leave a few times to throw up outside but she was right IN IT and didn't even notice it. She wanted to keep 6 month past expiration date yogurt as the container "hadn't puffed up yet, that's fine to eat" OMG!!!!

Anyone else catch this??? It's still disturbing me!

08-19-2009, 11:18 AM
I watched it! It was awful. She had sour cream that was expired and she said " what's it gonna do? Go sour?" ugh. I hope ppl like that can get some help before eating that foul food kills them.

08-19-2009, 11:24 AM
I saw it too. It was so gross I don't think I will be watching any more episodes. It's really sad to think somehow, in some people's minds, there is something that allows that to happen.

And watching it on a show like that you may not really see a resolution so that's tough to watch too. Knowing it's a definite possibility that nothing will change.

08-19-2009, 11:33 AM
Wow, I wish I had seen this one! Do you know when the show is on so I can set the DVR?

08-19-2009, 12:22 PM
Jeez, how is she still alive?

08-19-2009, 12:30 PM
I think there are more shows to air on A&E. I saw it also and was very saddened by her situation. She had some beyond rotten food, knew it was rotten, knew she couldn't eat it (like the pumpkin) but left it in the room anyway. I about screamed when the guy was throwing out the pumpkin and she was trying to pick the seeds off it. Eeek!

08-19-2009, 12:35 PM
I, too , was almost screaming as she picked at the pumpkin seeds. And the other family profiled wasn't any better. They were going to take her kids and she couldn't help herself....so sad! FYI: Monday nights at 10:00 on A&E

08-19-2009, 01:33 PM
I wonder if she actually eats the very old stuff or ever even tries. I could totally see it being part of her disconnect/delusion to talk like she thinks it's still edible, and suppressing that she never actually eats the old stuff.

I mean, how many people do you know who complain about this or that pet peeve, and it's something they do all they time, and they act like you're crazy if you say so?

08-19-2009, 01:39 PM
It's hard to watch things like that, because in part it's hard for us to put ourselves in their shoes. Hard to understand how keeping the rotted food around could ever be a comfort and a reduction in anxiety.

The hard part about hoarding, unlike other kinds of OCD, is that the person who does it is not usually as bothered by the activity -- it drives others crazy. But the person who has to wash their hands 100s of times recognizes that this behavior is dysfunctional and affects their daily life.

08-19-2009, 01:45 PM
Oooohhh yeah.. I watched it alright! Had to change the channel when she pulled out that drawer with all the rotting veggies.. it was really sad! :(

08-19-2009, 02:42 PM
This reminds me of the true crime bio I read of Laurie Dann, the former babysitter who shot six kids at an elementary school in 1988. She was a hoarder of raw meat, and would buy raw meat or steal it from the homes she babysat for and hide it under her bed. Of course, she wasn't "just" a hoarder, she was also severely psychotic.

08-19-2009, 03:03 PM
Wow I was going to watch this & I missed it - will try to catch it another time. The rotting food will probably make me gag, though. YUCK.

08-19-2009, 04:17 PM
I saw it too. I am completely fascinated by these types of disorders. I also watched all of the "Obsessed" series that was on Mondays after "Intervention", which I also watch.

There were most certainly moments in the food one, where I was absolutely squirming in my chair. I can't imagine the level of denial it takes to live like that! I can't remember if she said it or not, but I would think that this kind of thing would stem from not having enough when she was young?

It was so sad, as all of these situations are! Yes, the Mom who was possibly going to have her kids taken away was SO upsetting too!

I think to truly fix this problem, a person would need LONG, LONG term therapy. Something so deep-seated could never be fixed by having someone come in and empty out the house in two days. Sure, it fixes the problem short term...but hoarding is a really tough one to heal! :cry:

I wish I could help!

08-19-2009, 04:23 PM
I watched it too. The show replaced "Obsessed", which featured people with all different forms of OCD.

The couple with the kids...I tried to feel compassion for. I really, really did. I know OCD is a real problem, that requires intervention but knowing that; if there was a chance someone was going to take my kids away because of the OCD, then you had better believe my @$$ would be getting help IMMEDIATELY. I was so mad at those two. :mad:

I used to cut the grass for an elderly woman when I was around 13 that had a hoarding problem. Hers had to do with papers. Newspapers, magazines...she literally filled her entire house from floor to ceiling with towers of magazines and newspapers. Her entire garage was crammed to bursting. (I had to bring our lawn mower to cut her grass.) She just had a pathway to the bathroom, living room and kitchen. My mom often commented that if that house caught on fire the whole end of our street was doomed! That or if one of those towers fell on her, she'd die and no one would be able to find her. She was a widow and her only son died in Vietnam. :(

08-19-2009, 05:02 PM
I watched this episode - such a bizarre from of OCD. I was trying to imagine the smell but couldn't ... oh man. YUCK!

08-19-2009, 05:17 PM
There were most certainly moments in the food one, where I was absolutely squirming in my chair. I can't imagine the level of denial it takes to live like that! I can't remember if she said it or not, but I would think that this kind of thing would stem from not having enough when she was young?

If I recall correctly, she did say that there was a period in her life where she was very poor and did not know where her next meal was coming from.

I must have missed the end, did they show them getting help for the disorder or just help cleaning up the mess.

I enjoyed the show "Obsessed" where they showed the therapy they went through.

08-19-2009, 06:05 PM
Roundpeg...I like Obsessed too :)

I HOPE that if they are going to use these people for a documentary type show, that they are offering MORE help than a one time cleanup. Otherwise, it's just a shameful freakshow, rather than an educational way to help and make a positive difference in the world!

traci in training
08-19-2009, 06:20 PM
My daughter and I watched for about two minutes. That was all she could take. Kind of makes you think about your own food issues, doesn't it? And it makes me wonder what she actually eats. We throw stuff out the day it expires because DH and the girls are sure the milk will kill them the next day. Does she eat any of that? Could we all eat "old" food and not be sick???

08-19-2009, 06:20 PM
I think the little blurb at the end said her landlord would let her stay as long as she remained in counselling. These types of OCD behaviours are impossible to 'cure' they just learn how to manage them and keep things to an acceptable level. She'll always have the urge to do it, but hopefully now people will keep an eye on her and help her maintain. First step would be to get all but ONE fridge out of there, and designate ONE area for food and one area only. I wonder if she felt relief when it was cleaned up or just more anxiety? I find it oddly fascinating LOL what that says about ME i don't know!

08-19-2009, 08:46 PM
I wonder too Tracey! Rudy wonders how I can watch some of those kinds of shows. I jokingly told him a while ago that I'm obsessed with other people's obsessions! :lol:

08-19-2009, 11:28 PM
Well, I have been unemployed for over a year and ran out of my unemployment. I get a lot of my food from food banks. I usually hord cans of goods and dry goods-- all in sanitary conditions-- not like what you are describing. I have to be able to eat for long periods with no income, so I need lots of dry beans and rice and also canned goods. I can understand the fear of not having enough food to eat. I've gone without food and given my food to my dogs and cats. If it were not for a friend I would be living on the street. In defense of horders, it is brought on by stress and uncertainty. These are very bad times for people who have been marginalized. I see it as a mental illness when it becomes compulsive-- obviously rotting food in the house is not a good idea. Usually when you want to store food you should either freeze, dry, or can it, so there is no excuse for letting things rot and generate flys.

08-20-2009, 10:21 AM
When she took the pumpkin seeds...

Poor lady

08-20-2009, 02:08 PM
My Dad was a bit of a hoarder, which I believe had to do with growing up during the Depression. His hoarding, however, was packaged food (as well as a lot of other stuff, but nothing perishable), thank goodness, and he'd put it in strange places.

My only personal experience with a real hoarder was a cat hoarder. She had perhaps 30 cats in a two bedroom apartment. I cannot describe the smell, but I still remember it even after 5+ years. The feces was everywhere--I mean everywhere--and some of it was in two foot piles. She also had an eating issue so there were empty ice cream and other containers under the bed and other places. On the positive side, all the cats were fixed (she was into cat rescue) and there were no dead cats on the floor or in the freezer (my friend went to get the cats in that place so she told me). The cat hoarder I knew had a problem with depression and was unable to afford her medication any longer, which contributed to the problem.

08-20-2009, 02:36 PM
I was involved (well, I listened more than anything) in an interesting conversation about hoarders a couple months ago.

To give some back story, for my profession I do trainings and consultation for licensed child care providers and others involved in the early childhood field. In doing so, my co-workers and I often ended up going to the child care centers or if it a family child care provider, her home.

So anyways, over lunch with two of my naturally thin co-workers the subject of a the death of a family child care provider who was morbidly obese (she had gotten to the point in immobility, which is a very significant problem in child care) came up. I had never worked with her directly, but the other two had worked extensively with her. They told me she was an extreme hoarder. And through the course of the conversation, one of them said that it was not surprising considering that she was a hoarder and morbidly obese, that there is often that connection there (not necessarily that most obese people are hoarders, but that most hoarders are obese).

I had never read that, or even heard it. Though, logically it makes some sense. At the same time, I know there is never a blanket answer/resolution to any mental disorder or obesity. I really don't know how I feel about it and haven't researched it any.

So, I would be interested in hearing other's opinion on this sentiment.

08-21-2009, 12:29 AM
I was wondering the same thing after watching the show Momto2Ms. I've seen both Obsessed and Hoarders, and I was thinking the other night that most, if not all, of the people who appeared on both shows with this particular disorder were overweight.

That show freaked me out. I come from hoarders - my grandmother and mother both seem to have monumental amounts of clutter and strange things in the fridge...my grandparents are two people with 3 fridge/freezers and 2 deep freezers full of food. It used to irk me and I would throw things out late at night. My issues is mostly that I shove things into the closets since I have no basement and can't get into the attic, lol.

I start piles - magazines, papers, art/craft/sewing supplies,etc but, once they fall over or affect me in any way I have to get rid of them. Until they get to that point though, they are invisible to me. I thought it was due to my ADHD and that I was pretty bad until I saw those shows. Kind of puts things into perspective and makes me wanna throw some stuff out, repurpose, or freecycle it.

I wonder if clearing some of the junk (aka chaos) out of my house and car will have a directly proportionate affect on my weight....My understanding is that one's surroundings are a direct reflection upon their inner peace. So....if there is a psychological effect brought about by removing clutter...One good weekend in the kitchen re-organizing the cabinets and I'll drop 50lbs, lol.

Ok, think I'm done babbling now.

08-21-2009, 12:55 AM
You can watch it on the A&E website.

08-21-2009, 08:04 AM
I saw the epidose of Hoarders that people are talking about. I had to switch to a different channel several times when the woman with the food was on. It was so.....Yikes!!! I really felt bad for her son. i can't imagine having to real with a parent so disconnected from reality.

08-21-2009, 10:25 AM
I wonder if clearing some of the junk (aka chaos) out of my house and car will have a directly proportionate affect on my weight....My understanding is that one's surroundings are a direct reflection upon their inner peace. So....if there is a psychological effect brought about by removing clutter...One good weekend in the kitchen re-organizing the cabinets and I'll drop 50lbs, lol.
I think there's a connection there actually. I've been meaning to pick up Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? (http://www.amazon.com/Does-This-Clutter-Make-Butt/dp/1416560173/)

08-24-2009, 09:52 PM
Tonight's episode is about a compulsive shopper and a man that hoards trash. Should be interesting. Tonight's Intervention is a new one too.

08-25-2009, 12:20 AM
I watched Hoarders...again! What's wrong with me lol, it's just so outside of real life to me, how can it be possible??? I'm not a cleaning freak (well, kinda) but who doesn't love a clean bathroom and kitchen and fresh laundry, that's one of life's simple pleasures. I'm fascinated. I work at a children's mental health agency and we see the onset of some of these behaviours and hopefully we show kids a different way to manage anxiety and that future won't be theirs. I know it sounds really judgey, but the 1st woman seemed to have a real OCD compulsion, and obviously was overwhelmed with the whole exercise. The dude just seemed....really dirty and lazy. That sounds bad, but he didn't get upset over the items leaving, he didn't seem emotionally invested in the garbage, it was just there and once it was gone he was happy as anyone would be, not anxious or devastated

08-25-2009, 03:53 AM
*hung up every item in the closet neatly after the episode tonight*

08-25-2009, 10:52 AM
Saw the show...seems to me that hoarding is about anxiety and security, like having all the stuff around makes these people feel that they have some sort of control in their lives. Which is odd, cause it is really the reverse. And there is absolutely NO connection with reality -- I mean, you GOTTA know at some level that having rotting pumpkins or, like on last nights episode, a bathroom FULL of used toilet paper thrown on the floor cause the toilet had been overflowing for MONTHS just isn't right. I mean, these poor people at some level MUST recognize that their lives are unmanagable and this is why they ask for help...
IMHO it is nothing about the stuff they hoard but is ALL about the underlying anxiety issues which make them hoard, and until they get sustained long-term treatment, just cleaning up the room won't make much of a difference...

SO sad, cause I didn't see much in terms of long-term treatment for these people cause they have been provided with a garbage crew and an organizer. No real mention of concurrent counselling/medication by experienced health care professionals...which makes me wonder: is this show really trying to help? Or is it another TLC/A&E freak show along the lines of "The Man Whose Arms Exploded" or "Human Spiders"...