I'm a psy major at UNC, and I know that really doesnt make me an expert or anything
(far from it, still only a soph. getting my BA!). However, I do know that many people with a mental illness are unable to realize the depths of their situation. A huge symptom of mental illness is dementia, which in laymanâ€™s terms means, the person does not have the ability to distinguish between reality, and what is going on in their mind. The kinda odd part of this particular case is that the authorities are claiming the woman has the hoarding tendencies of OCD. However, dementia is rarely associated w/ just straight OCD, because part of the diagnosis of OCD requires that the person is upset/bothered by their ritualistic behaviors, and obviously this woman isnâ€™t (she claimed all was well, even though it was not). I would hazard a guess that this woman is also suffering from some other form of mental illness, which is either manifesting itself in OCD behaviors (hoarding) or is causing OCD. So, I realize that has nothing to do with anything said so far, but hereâ€™s where I was going
Please donâ€™t assume all mental illness is alike. Previously someone stated that they had OCD, but would never contribute to animal cruelty in the way this woman has. Iâ€™m sure that is true, however, this woman may not be making a conscious decision to hurt the animals. That is in no way, shape, or form, an excuse for animal abuse, however she may not be the criminally negligent person the authorities are claiming. Mental illness has such a distorted image in our culture due to the media, and this is prime example of such â€“ this woman is not simply suffering from OCD like the media has claimed, and while her hoarding is an OCD behavior, OCD is not her full diagnosis. As I previously stated, those with mental illness and dementia are not aware of their actions and whether those actions are morally right, or wrong. With so many stigmas regarding mental illness, it makes me so sad to see the person suffering from the disease being punished. If anyone needs someone to blame, please focus the attention on the family of this woman who shouldâ€™ve seen to her getting care for her illness. Or, blame the police dept. because the neighbors have been trying to get the issue resolved for months, and only when they realized the cats are affecting others did they decide to step in to end the inhumane treatment. Please, if anyone has any questions on mental illness, I will send you information and links on different diseases. This is a horrible act that was committed against animals, but the only way to stop the hoarding is to treat the disease, the only way to treat the disease is to endorse the disease, and the only way to endorse the disease is to accept the disease. Please believe me when I say, sometimes you cannot control your actions, thoughts, and behaviors.