TLC’s Hoarding Buried Alive is a documentary series that exemplifies the struggles that hoarders deal with on a regular basis. Some may watch the series as a means of entertainment. Others view it as a proverbial train wreck that they cannot look away from. The reality is that those featured on Hoarding Buried Alive are very real people dealing with very real issues.
Taking a behind the scenes look at “Hoarding Buried Alive“, hoarding experts attempt to uncover the reality behind hoarding. The impacts of hoarding stretch beyond the lives of those struggling with it on a day to day basis. As the documentary series points out, close family members and friends also suffer from the negative effects of the hoarding condition on a daily basis.
In an episode of Hoarding Buried Alive (found on the TLC YouTube Channel) portraying a single mother living with her two teenage children, it is discovered that the only bathroom in the home is without a sink or shower. The only means of bathing lies outside as a hose is run from inside the home to a shower in the backyard. While the hoarder, a middle-aged mother who seems very polite and kind, is perfectly fine with this arrangement, her children are visibly shaken by the idea of bathing outdoors. The hoarder’s son admits that he has not bathed in a normal bathtub in close to four years.
Like most hoarders trapped in the confines of their own condition, many of the people featured on the show share similarities with those who do not want to be exploited on television. Excuses for not cleaning the mess are stacked higher than the piles of clutter in their living spaces. The reality is that hoarding presents physical, mental, emotional, social, and financial dangers.
Each episode of Hoarding Buried Alive is a small window into the lives of many real life hoarders. Clutter and junk stacked on top of appliances and stoves catch fire, claiming the contents of the home and the lives of the people in it. Compulsive shoppers build up insurmountable debt while building up mounds and piles of clutter in their living space. Rodent and insect droppings contaminate food and living space, heightening the risk of infectious disease claiming the lives of those living around it.
The physical and financial burdens of hoarding, as dangerous as they are, are perhaps even less hazardous than the mental and emotional burdens. In many cases, hoarding is triggered by a traumatic event that has occurred in a person’s life. Since individuals deal with trauma in unique and different ways, what is “traumatic” for some may not have the same effect on others. It is because of this that those trying to interject and help a hoarder do their best in understanding the root of the issue before trying to resolve the issue.
The key to a successful clutter cleaning project, and the subsequent creation of a healthier lifestyle, is learning to respect and trust others. As a hoarder, it is important to understand that those who are there are there because they want to help. And, as a helper, it is important to realize that patience goes a long way in resolving the situation. While the hoarding condition may evoke feelings of shock, anger, and resentment, it is vital to the success of the project to come to terms with those feelings and move on. Level heads, a calm sense of kindness, and trust-building conversations and activities are key.