One of the lowest and most destructive human emotion is shame. Shame is the feeling, I am bad, not I did something bad. Many of my clients who are suffering from hoarding disorder are distraught with shame.
Family members, neighbors, authorities and the media all play a part in this without knowing. It is the subtle comments, the grimaces in their faces, the joking and sarcasm all further drive someone suffering into a hole that is too deep to get out of.
I met a client in need the other day. He was distraught, upset and nearing tears. He asks me “why does the city need to post the big red sign on my door for everyone to see, can’t they just give me the notice with everyone else knowing?”
The sign says this
This Building Is Unsafe for Human Occupancy.
It is A Crime to Occupy This Building
This is public shaming. It is not helpful or effective. The city officials do not recognize the impact of this on the human being living behind these closed doors.
The person living in this property needs mental health, a compassionate approach to dealing with the problem of hoarding. Not a threat, a fine or a notice on the door.
It is not a crime to be mentally ill. It is not a crime to have excessive accumulation. How can we as a society think it is okay to treat people this way?
It is time to become educated and learn about Hoarding Disorder.