On last night's episode of Hoarders, we met a man named Kevin, whose dense hoard is so crammed into his apartment that he cannot live there. He sleeps on a bench outside of the building and washes himself using a hose on the street. When he needs to enter the apartment, he climbs up the fire escape and crawls through a window — his front door will not open because there are piles of belongings pressing against it. Kevin's parents were talk show hosts in the '50s, and a lot of his stash is memorabilia. Things that represent or belonged to his parents. Kevin grew up wealthy — "we had maids and housekeepers," but has literally gone from riches to rags. Also? He has cats.
When a therapist visited Kevin to discuss his hoarding, they met on his bench, outside the building. Kevin had some bags and carts around him, and the doctor immediately said that having the stuff "makes him look mentally ill." When asked to described going in and coming out of his apartment, Kevin said that due to the things he's accumulated, the environment was "like a birth canal that I have to slither through." The doctor said, "Wow." She seemed to believe that he built himself a womb-like environment because his parents meant everything to him and he has no identity without them.
Although the Hoarders team spent 2 days cleaning out Kevin's apartment, when the landlord came to visit, he declared that he had to start eviction proceedings. Kevin seemed oddly unmoved by this news. His brother called him "out of touch," but the doctor insisted that what he really needs is some intensive therapy, away at a facility. You get the feeling that a facility might be a good place for him — in many ways he is incapable of caring for himself, and maybe even longs for the days when he was a kid who didn't have responsibilities. When all of his needs were taken care of for him.
It's definitely intriguing to think about Kevin being raised in financial comfort. How many times did you wish your parents were rich, or thought that if only you'd had a less impoverished childhood, things would be better?