Life after the dumpster
Or maybe some people always need a dumpster? As Hoarding: Buried Alive winds down its 7th season it decided to take us back to three of its participants and see how they fared after they appeared on the show. It was messy.
Hoarding: Buried Alive was originally devoted to having the individual doing most of their own clean-up as they tried to overcome their compulsive hoarding. Over the years the show has added in more mass haul-aways, a la Hoarders, in an attempt to make the process more TV friendly. Though more realistic, the small amounts of progress shown in the earliest episodes of the show undoubtedly left a lot of viewers unsatisfied. We want complete transformation, dammit!
So more and more, that’s what we’ve been given. So what happens after the psychologist, the team of haulers, the eager volunteers and the TV cameras all leave? We got to see how hard it is for compulsive hoarders to continue the work on their own.
Of the three participants featured, none was sporting a house ready for the cover of Home & Garden. That’s hardly surprising, given that they were all stage 5 hoarders when they first appeared on the show. But two of the three hadn’t completely crapped up their homes and seemed to be making a deliberate, slow effort to keep cleaning out and sorting through their hoard. The third did a lot of finger pointing and blaming for his backslide and the condition of his home. All 3 were amenable to a second chance clean up with friends, family, organizers and volunteers.
It was interesting to see both how far people had come in their attitudes toward their “stuff” and how deeply ingrained the hoarding is in their psyches. No matter how pretty their houses look at the end of an episode, these folks are going to be fighting this disease for the rest of their lives. Revisiting them made one thing very clear – without family support (and tough love) they were not going to progress. Compulsive hoarding clearly isn’t a disease that can be “cured” by just picking up the mess.
I like these follow up episodes – they bring home the reality of the disease and show how important it is that the participants continue to have family and friends encourage them, stay in contact with them and fill some of their emptiness after the cameras stop rolling. I wish both Hoarding: Buried Alive and Hoarders would do more of them. You can learn more about Hoarding: Buried Alive at TLC.com, more about hoarding TV right here on Movie Rewind at Everything Hoarders and you can download full episodes of H: BA from Amazon