Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When collections become something else

Mental health source

I usually write posts with a sense of humor, a wry twist at the end that relieves the stress the writing may have induced.  But with this topic, there simply is no humor to be found. 

One of the many-way-too-many reality TV shows is about people who are hoarders.  It is not meant to be entertaining.

By definition, a hoarder is one who “…collects and stores, often secretly, large amounts of things such as food or money for future use,” as per Encarta.  An extreme hoarder is one who does this openly. 

Site, a person who hoards suffers from anxiety, some form of mental health issues, obsessive/compulsive disorder, and/or depression. 

Holding onto “things” is an extreme desire to have control of their lives.  It allows one to maintain connections to the past, be prepared for the future.

Recently Klahanie has written about and directed readers to visit this site

I would like to add my voice in support.   

Chances are all of us know someone who is a hoarder, who is struggling with mental illness. Please check out this site as well:  and

Over my lifetime, there have been at least five people whom I now recognize as hoarders.  Then, it was thought that they were simply lazy or indifferent.   

I wish…I wish I had known and had helped them receive help for mental health. 


  1. Very sad. I remember as a child visiting a church family where the mom was a hoarder. I remember my mom trying to help, but the lady was very resistant. Now I realize the lady was suffering from enormous anxiety. Good post. I am convinced that you have helped quite a few people here today.
    Blessings, Joanne

    1. I hope people will recognize someone who needs interventions.

  2. I've never known anyone personally who was a hoarder but I have watched the show and am often brought to tears on behalf of the families of the sufferers and on behalf of the sufferers themselves.

    1. I always wonder the why and what happened when I see those shows.

  3. Can't say I've never known anyone personally either. But it is sad the state they find themselves in and stupid reality tv showing it for money.

    1. Perhaps as you grow older, you will connect with someone who has seen or been in such a situation.

  4. Dear Susan, my cousin, who died in February 2011 from the complications of diabetes, was a hoarder. And I truly never understood until another friend, who also hoards all newspapers, letters, circulars, paper communications, explained what her counselor has helped her understand.

    Now I see so much differently and I wish I could have seen all this before my cousin died and so helped her in some small way with the underlying issues. Thank you for posting these sites. They are so relevant for many of us. Peace.

  5. Hi Susan,

    This emotive article you have written describes the torment of the hoarder and indeed, the symbolic gestures that compel them to never let go of anything.

    Mental health issues come in many forms. With the increased awareness and the willingness to try to understand, those with mental health concerns may someday realise that the unfair stigma attached has been eradicated.

    Thank you for this, Susan.

    In hope, Gary

  6. I am still so sad, and angry as well that mental health problems are somehow 'different' to other illnesses. Pull yourself together is not something we would say to a person with say a broken leg but implicitly or explicitly it is said to far too many people with mental illnesses every day. And, given that statistics suggest that one in three of us will have a mental illness at some stage in our lives it is cutting our noses off to spite our faces to adopt these attitudes. Sorry, climbing down from my soap box now.


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