Triggered by Elvis

I shouldn’t watch Hoarders. It’s one of those reality shows that preys on people with issues, and I know that.Elvis has left the building But I also feel like I connect with them. I’ve watched enough episodes, I know that I’m not actually a hoarder, but I definitely share their mindset.

“I can’t get rid of this because I’m going to use it…”
“I can’t get rid of this because I’m going to use it…”
“I can’t get rid of this because I’m going to use it…”

“When?”

And there’s no answer. They don’t know when they’re going to use it, but someday…

I’m with them. I have too many things for a someday that hasn’t come, and so I’ve started clearing some stuff out. That’s a good thing, right?

Until I saw the episode with Elvis.

It wasn’t actually Elvis, of course. He’s in hiding.

No, it was an Elvis impersonator who had begun hoarding when his career took a bit of a dive. He’d lost his job as a PE teacher, and his impersonation days had gone from big shows that got media coverage to working bars and private events, earning just enough money to get by.

His family appeared in their little talking to the screen segment: they called him lazy. They said that he was a loser because he hadn’t gotten his Master’s degree on time, which is why he’d lost his teaching job. They said that all his problems were his all fault.

The show continued, and Elvis appeared.

He was freaking out. He paced back and forth in front of his non-working refrigerator. He literally wrung his hands. “I haven’t done anything this morning. I haven’t done enough. I haven’t accomplished anything. They’re going to be so disappointed. Why didn’t I do more? They’re going to judge me. I just…I just can’t decide. What should I do? I can’t make any decisions.”

I freaked out.

I had been there. I got his feels like I was with him. I yelled at the TV – “Get him help! He needs help! It’s depression! Where the hell is the psychologist? Where the hell are his meds?”

He was obviously too far gone to get help on his own. He was paralyzed by his depression; he couldn’t clear his place; he couldn’t function.

I was shaking. I had to stop putting together the bookcase with my husband and get up and pace.

Elvis needed some serious outpatient care or some good inpatient care. He needed, and deserved, better than to be paraded on TV as a source or entertainment. He didn’t need his family to call him lazy, to trash-talk him, to put him down. He needed them to get him help, and maybe even get him committed, until he learned how to function again.

I stopped the episode, probably further in than I should have, and calmed myself down.

That night, I had a nightmare about being committed against my will and not being able to get out. I jumped through hoops to prove that I could leave, but each time, when I’d get close to leaving, I’d be mistaken for someone else or “they” would decide that I had problems I didn’t think I had, and I’d be signed back in.

Now, if I was the type to analyze my dreams (which I am), I’d say that was my acknowledgment that, no matter what, I’ll never be free from depression or anxiety. And while I might manage my symptoms through therapy and drugs, I’ll always have a little Elvis in me.  

Advertisements

One thought on “Triggered by Elvis

  1. Thanks for sharing Kate most people don’t get that hoarding is a sign of mental distress. My husband goes to the other extreme getting rid of things that in his mind have been sitting too long with no purpose. He doesn’t want his purposeless stuff reflect poorly on him.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s