Blog throwback to this post from 2014. I’m still this bad about cleaning, although my personal hygiene has improved considerably. At least I’m no longer dealing with my ex-wife’s hoarding tendencies on top of it. I cleaned my room this afternoon and it’s sad how proud I am of it, considering that normal people can pick up after themselves with no problem. I’m going to pay my teenage nephew to clean my bathroom. It frightens me and I want to break down sobbing every time I think too hard about how awful it is…
But I am just coming out of an extended, serious depression. It started in April. I didn’t get online for three months except to read fanfic. (BBC Sherlock is my imaginary boyfriend.) Hell, I didn’t even talk to my mother for two months, and she’s one of my two favorite people in the whole world (the other being the Valkyrie). I was a wreck. I started feeling a bit better a couple of weeks ago, but yesterday my doctor had me add Ritalin to my daily medication cocktail and I’ve actually gotten out of bed. Better living through modern medicine!
So this post is going to be a rather long life update…
Turns out I may have overreacted with the BFF situation. From her perspective, she told me she needed some time by herself for… some reason. Which I don’t know yet. She was not, as I thought, telling me to get out of her life. When I was freaking out about it on Facebook and unfriended her there, she thought I was telling her to get out of my life. While I am still upset that she won’t come out and tell me why she’s upset until we meet in person next week, I can see where I was a bit rash in thinking it was over. Also, it sounds like there’s some other shit going on in her life right now that’s hard to deal with, so that plays a factor too. I expect all to be revealed next week.
That conversation started with her texting me out of the blue, by the way. I’m so very glad she did, and that we’ve started sorting things out. She told me to try to relax. I will try.
In other news, the housekeeping fairy sent her dustmop arrow into my heart this evening, and I cleaned like a motherfucker. I am ashamed to admit how messy I’d been lately, so let’s just say that I accomplished a huge task I’d been putting off and then did a whole bunch of other little things, all of which contributed to my head being clearer. Amazing how decluttering a room can declutter the mind a bit. I feel like I actually accomplished something today, which has been rare lately.
I’m tired but not sleepy. I think I’ll do some spinning and then go to bed.
As I’ve mentioned, the Valkyrie and I share a house with her mother. The upstairs is ours — den, bedroom, bathroom, and a “kitchen” (it just has a table, a microwave and a mini-fridge; no water or stove). With the help of Honorary Niece, I’ve been cleaning like a mofo.
I get stuck in a vicious circle when it comes to cleaning. When I’m depressed or otherwise mentally messed up, I am unable to clean. Then, when I start feeling better, I get anxious about how messy things are and am so overwhelmed that I can’t fix it. So the mess keeps growing and growing. there weren’t dirty dishes or food trash laying around. I take care of those. But there was a lot of other trash, like mountains of soda boxes. I am ashamed that things got that bad. I’m admitting it here because maybe the shame will keep me from letting things get bad again.
I’ve been doing better mentally over the last several days, so I asked BFF if I could borrow Honorary Niece to give me a hand. I couldn’t do it alone, so I thought maybe hiring HN (in return for some spending money) would be the way to go about things. And boy was that a good idea. HN is a strange girl who enjoys cleaning. she also likes helping people out. She would have done it for free, but there was no way I was going to do that to her. I would have felt guilty as fuck for taking advantage of her good nature.
The cleaning began Sunday afternoon, and it continued today. All the trash in the kitchen was thrown away. She swept and mopped while I tackled the bookshelves in the hallway. I’ve needed to get rid of 3/4 of my book collection for years, so I sorted through what I wanted to give away. And then HN and I broke down a shitload of packing boxes that were cluttering up the back of the den. Everything is mostly done and I am delighted. HN’s part is done with; all that’s left is a little organizing I need to do on my own. It looks beautiful. We have a small table in the kitchen; now that the room looks nice I’m going to hang a couple of posters in there and make it look a little less sterile. I had cleaned out the fridge a few days ago, and today I stocked it with little snacks like cottage cheese and sugar-free Jello. It’s an actual, usable room again. I also threw out a shitload of trash in the bedroom and vacuumed in there.
I’m proud of myself, and I’m especially proud of HN for cheerfully doing a great job. She’s a wonderful kid, and I considered myself lucky to have her in my life even before she helped me this week.
Sunday night she, BFF, and I decided that once a week we will have a Cleaning Day. We will alternate houses; one week we’ll clean BFF’s house, and the next week we’ll clean mine. After we finish getting everything set up at both houses, it should only take an hour or two to whip everything into shape on the designated day. BFF has problems with depression and cleaning too, and the three of us keeping each other company makes the work so much more pleasant.
I’m happy about all this. And happy that I’m feeling well enough to have some initiative. It’s a nice feeling.
From the NIMH page on schizophrenia:
People with negative symptoms need help with everyday tasks. They often neglect basic personal hygiene. This may make them seem lazy or unwilling to help themselves, but the problems are symptoms caused by the schizophrenia.
I am messy. Very messy. A slob. But I can’t help it. Back before my breakdown 14 years ago I kept a pretty neat house. Since then I’ve been at varying levels of disaster when it comes to cleaning up around me. I manage to do some cleaning sometimes, but I just cannot keep things straight on a regular basis. I try. I come up with plans to help. I tried Flylady and Unfuck Your Habitat. But I can never do it. One time my MIL called me a slob and I broke down sobbing, because I try but I can’t do it. It’s taken me years just to be able to shower regularly. I can’t take my medication without help, most days. So my part of the house gets so bad that I start freaking out when I walk into rooms and I eventually clean everything up, but the Valkyrie and I live in two rooms and we don’t have places for everything and she can’t help much because she’s physically disabled and I am incapable of doing it on my own. My MIL has a cleaning lady who comes in once every two weeks to do her part of the house, and she does our bathroom. Otherwise that would never get clean either. My BFF has helped me a few times and it’s nice to have help. MIL keeps offering but the Valkyrie doesn’t want her upstairs. I like our privacy too, but I’d love to have her help me once in a while but she’ll see for real what a pig I am and I’m ashamed.
I don’t know what to do. I need help. I seem to be incapable of helping myself. I spent the last hour crying because I’m so angry at myself, and because I feel helpless…
This morning I was in a bad way, so much so that my mother-in-law called my best friend to come over and take me to the hospital. When BFF arrived I was spinning some wool and trying to be calm and quiet, but I was not in danger of hurting myself. Just depressed. Nearly catatonic, yeah, but not on the verge of suicide. (One of the many good things about having a loving support network: while I may want to kill myself sometimes, I can’t — because I can’t in good conscience do that to the people I love. That’s the only reason I’m still alive, many times over, and I’m grateful to them for caring so much. I’m lucky.)
My morning meds kicked in, and we (BFF and the Valkyrie and I) had a nice visit. I’ve still been on the verge of tears all day, and if I think too hard about my to-do list I start freaking out, but I feel a little better because a) I did a bunch of cleaning; and b) decided to start doing an exercise program ASAP. I’m starting today. Haven’t done it yet, because cleaning, but I swear to Bob I will have done the first workout before I go to bed tonight. The psych med I started last November has made me put on 40 pounds and want junk food all the time. I have got to do something. (And that something does not involve cookies.)
I’m hoping that I can concentrate on some homework shortly. Between bouts of cleaning I let myself spin and weave a little. It was nice. I just need to keep calm and give myself little breaks, and I can get everything done, right? As Valkyrie said: one thing at a time. Just think about one thing at a time.