Kanye West remains under psychiatric evaluation in a California hospital. Reports state the 39-year-old rapper is “profoundly depressed and paranoid” and has dealt with these issues for a while. During a recent concert, Kanye stated that “people” were out to get him and his life and career might be in jeopardy. The father of two has often displayed erratic behavior along with irreconcilable speeches that longtime fans brushed off as part of his “genius” qualities. His recent hospital stay is not just a result of untapped creativity; it is due to a more serious issue. Just like many people today, the producer is suffering from signs of emotional overload and, as a result, is hospitalized for hoarding.
Many remember the TLC documentary “Hoarding: Buried Alive” which premiered on March 14, 2010. The show followed hoarders through their life experiences and helped them learn to manage their illness. “Hoarding” is the type of show many just loved to hate and one of those programs they find difficult to turn away from, even though it is a roller coast of emotions the entire time. In the beginning, viewers are sympathetic to the subject, but by mid-show, temperatures elevate only to go back into hoping the victim gets better. This invasive experiment follows the lives and struggles of people with a disorder known by the inability to let things go. Kanye may not have been living amid a mountain of outdated magazines, but chances are he has some stuff in his mental closet that needs to be discarded.
The official description of hoarding is a pattern of behavior that is characterized by the excessive acquisition of, and inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that would seemingly qualify as useless or without value. Compulsive hoarding behavior has been associated with health risks, impaired functioning, economic burden, and adverse effects on friends and family members. The interesting thing about every episode of the show are the stories associated with the people. None of them seemed to see the snowball effect happening in their lives. Nearly all of them had no tendencies to hoard early in life, it was something that happened because of something else. This indicates the importance.
The statistics are still a bit sketchy about exactly how many suffer from compulsive hoarding. Mostly because it is a disorder people are too ashamed to seek help. Kanye’s recent hospitalization should be a sign for all people, especially during the holiday season, of the importance of properly managing transitions and tragedies that blind side people as they go through life. Here are some similarities with hoarding things versus emotions, along with ways to experience a breakthrough:
Hoarders do not usually start out like that: By paying attention to the narrative, witnesses find these people had a normal upbringing. It was not until some disappointment or trauma that they turned to hoarding as a way to gain control. In life, everyone needs to connect with a circle of support to help keep things in perspective. Bad things happen to good people. That does not negate the ability to bounce back. The one thing Kanye, and others can always control is how they choose to respond to trouble.
Hoarders become blind to the effects their behavior causes: There is always the sad moment in the episodes when a family member is pleading with them to stop doing this. What began as an intervention quickly escalates to a confrontation. During this, the hoarder starts to defend the “why” of their behavior. It is difficult at times to see through personal blinders. Hence, true breakthrough begins at the point of aggressive accountability. We cannot sugar coat our lives, instead, we must come face to face with where we really are.
Hoarders who are helped had to make a choice: This sounds so simple but it is not. A choice is an open do to a new reality. Each individual is presented with the opportunity for a fresh start. If they take it, resources show up and helping hands are dispatched to get rid of the clutter. If not, they are free to live as they have. The choice boils down to, will they love the dysfunction more than their freedom. We have people around who are ready to step up for us. However, no one is obligated to want your breakthrough more than you do. The choice is always ours.
People are created as free moral agents. This means each person has the right to choose for themselves. Nevertheless, they are also bound to live with the consequences of those choices. Emotional hoarding does not just show up one day. It is the byproduct of unresolved anger, seasons of unforgiveness, and broken dreams. The power to reverse its effects is always within reach by deciding to seek an uncertain tomorrow over a disastrous yesterday.
On Monday, November 21, Kanye found himself in the hospital after canceling the remainder of his “Saint Pablo” tour. The rapper displayed signs of mental illness, which can be a direct result of emotional hoarding. An emotional hoarder stockpiles every traumatic memory, embarrassing situation, and heartbreak only to live with the burden of each one every day. These painful emotions produce reactions of extreme panic and discomfort.
This has been a particularly busy and productive year for Kanye. In addition to releasing a new album, he has presented two fashion collections and performed more than 30 shows during his recent tour. It has obviously been a stressful year for the husband of two years and father of two children.
Today it is Kanye; tomorrow the victim could become the one in the mirror. Emotional hoarding, for the most part, is an unconscious act, but its impact can take a devastating toll. Instead of criticizing the “Stronger” rapper, fans, as well as opposers, should note the symptoms and take action to prevent themselves and their loved ones for being hospitalized, like Kanye, for hoarding.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
TLC: Hoarding: Buried Alive
US Weekly: Kanye West Is Paranoid and Depressed as He Remains Hospitalized: Report
Huffington Post: Are You An Emotional Hoarder?
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Inline Image Courtesy of Richard Masoner – Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of Pieter-Jannick Dijkstra – Flickr License