Hoarding: Buried Alive - Elvis Impersonator: Recap
On the July 8th episode of TLC’s ‘Hoarding: Buried Alive’ viewers met 51-year old Cary, an Elvis impersonator, who got overly caught up in his compulsion to collect all things Elvis. At the beginning of the episode we learn how Cary’s hoarding behaviors came about, including his habit of buying multiple copies of newspapers that contained Elvis stories. We see Cary become increasingly frustrated as he states, “I feel like I need things and more things.”
Cary’s hoarding behaviors have gotten so out of control that he no longer has space in his bedroom for a bed. Instead he sleeps in the kitchen, a room that he has not used to cook in for over a decade. Not only is there Elvis memorabilia everywhere, but there is also a lot of garbage and old food lying around.
We learn that Cary is a former school PE teacher who had his license terminated when he did not complete his degree on time. Cary shows psychologist Dr. Rebecca Beaton photos of his younger, more muscular self. He was often referred to as “Elvis” by his students. As he thinks about his present situation, he states, “I didn’t think in a million years I’d be like this.”
Dr. Rebecca Beaton brings in a couple of Cary’s friends to help him out, but we soon learn that they have a very volatile relationship with Cary. Cary’s friends are not supportive; instead there is a lot of yelling and arguing.
Dr. Beaton states that Cary has “attachment issues,” and feels that he ultimately has to be the one to make decisions about whether or not to keep the unhealthy relationships with his friends going.
Ultimately the professional team decides to focus on a strategy called “Harm Reduction” for Cary. They come to the conclusion that in order to completely clear the clutter it would cause too much emotional distress for him. Instead the team devises a plan to clean as much as possible, and then create clear passages throughout the home in order for him to get to the windows and the fire escape.
Professional organizer Lesley Josel states that the ultimate goal is for Cary to, “find his way… feel good about himself.” Although Cary’s apartment is not completely cleared of the clutter, the team (including Cary) has made a lot of progress by the end of the episode, and they help Cary to learn about keeping his living space SAFE, clean, and functional.
The episode ends with Cary exclaiming, “That’s show business!”
Cary on TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive:
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