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952564 tn?1268368647

taking care of yourself?

This question comes down to some of the more unusual things that happen. Like for example, being able to keep a desk clean. I mean, on a regular basis, I'm pretty happy with myself if I have showered and brushed my hair and my teeth. I don't wear make-up or anything like that just because it makes me so frustrated to put it on, (but a long time ago I used to wear a little make-up, like in high schoo, so this has changed.) But I get into these frenzied moments of frustration and confusion where even just going to get the clothes out of the dryer feels like this huge journey that is far to painful to even consider. Or making sure all of the papers in a pile are lined up or even harder, actually having to put them somewhere in alphabetical order.

Recently someone said to me, "You're a mess!" when they saw my purse and how disorganized it was. I was so embarassed and I wanted to cry but I seem to accumulate things and then I can't figure out what to do with them. I feel this has a lot to do with poor judgement but also really shows how simple things get really hard for me and I can't explain it.

Do other people have this problem? Is it a bipolar symptom or something else?
9 Responses
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1167245 tn?1353878500
Yeah, that sounds really frustrating, and sometimes that happens to me too if I'm in the space where I'm really agitated, and irritated by just about everything in the world. I get frustrated that everything takes so long, like doing the dishes or the laundry. I completely know what you mean by everything being annoying and wanting to just jump out of your skin, pacing around and around... if my mind is going too fast and it's too noisy in there, then there won't be a lot of organizing or cleaning going on... it's just no longer a priority because my mind isn't residing in the real world anymore if that makes sense.

But during nice happy hypomania, I'm lucky that I can usually channel the energy into cleaning!
Helpful - 0
952564 tn?1268368647
See, for me even when I'm up I can't clean. I look at a pile of dirty dishes and my brain just kind of goes, "AAAAAaaaahhh!" And runs away screaming. Dishes? What are dishes? You want me to stand there and do what with them? Huh? Paper? Where do I put paper? Paper goes on a desk, (a desk already covered in papers.)

I don't want to hold the paper, it feels annoying against my skin. I think that's just it. Everything becomes annoying. I don't know how to describe it. I become so annoyed I just want to sit in one place an not move and wait until my bones stop trying to jump out of my skin. Or, pace in little circles, around and round and talk to myself.

The only time I "clean" in that frenzied way is when I'm really angry or upset. Make me mad and I'll just start cleaning. But really, I'm just picking things up and putting them somewhere else. Maybe it gets clean, maybe not. I will fill a trash bag and then not take it out.... it's very odd and frustrating. I will pick up half a floor and then I get too frustrated and sit down.

I wish I could clean like that when I'm manic....
Helpful - 0
1167245 tn?1353878500
For me, it's basically hypomania = scrub the apartment ceiling to floor, organize everything in my closet, desk, kitchen, etc., buy all of the things I have been 'needing' in the apartment like salad tongs or new shelving units or 5 first aid kits. Depression = can't bear the thought of organizing things, it becomes entirely and utterly overwhelming to even try to sort the dirty clothes from the clean ones. My mind just stops being able to comprehend how to put things in order, and everything seems like the most unbearable task... but then as clothes and papers and dirty dishes and everything starts piling up it just makes me feel worse. I remember one time where my mother came to visit me and help me out because I was going through a pretty rough time, and she was so awestruck at the state of my apartment, because it's just not how I usually am. There were piles of things covering every single inch of the floor, so that you couldn't walk without stepping on stuff... and this is definitely just NOT characteristic of me. Normally, I'm quite tidy, I like organization, I like things to be neat and clean and aesthetically pleasing. When I start to let things fall into disarray, I know that there might very well be trouble a-brewin'.

Showering can be hard sometimes for me, but for some reason I've always been pretty good about that, at least when I am forced to leave the house. When deeply depressed I don't leave the house for days and days at a time, so it becomes less of a priority to shower or get out of the clothes that I've been in for all those days. My thinking kind of goes... "what's the point, I'm just going to have to do it again tomorrow and the next day... I don't have the energy to even STAND in the shower let alone scrub my hair..." It also depends on where I'm going and who I'm going to be seeing; if it's a group of friends or acquaintances in a social setting, I'm going to stress myself out by wanting to look presentable and sane; if it's a doctor, then I don't care so much, and to be honest if I'm feeling terrible I want them to be able to *see* that I'm feeling that way to reinforce what they're hearing, you know?

I agree with the others that said that in the end, lists are kind of useless. I have to write things down to remember them, but I just seem to forget about and ignore any lists that I or other people write.
Helpful - 0
952564 tn?1268368647
Yes, exactly! These are all problems I have. I am usually good about showering but sometimes on weekends it is hard. I get a lot of anxiety about showering on the weekend because I normally wake up for work, and then shower. But on the weekend, I sleep in and then everyone is awake and I get this super high anxiety that if I takea  shower I'll be causing a problem for everyone. Not sure why. Sometimes I do but other times it overwhelms me for no reason.

Cleaning the house is so hard for me and like Starbunny said I can deal with untidiness but then things just sort of snowball. :(

I need to figure out how to fix this issue for myself but I don't know how. Like ILADVOCATE said, lists are useless. Giving me a list of things to do sometimes it works out but then I start obsessing over the list more than what is on it. I think the only lists I'm successful with are grocery lists. :(
Helpful - 0
1039200 tn?1314912008
Yes, I can relate with the above posts. Since I started cycling again last year the house / work has never recovered as when I was depressed nothing got done and when hypomanic I had so much 'better' things to do... I'm getting a hold of it slowly by clearing one drawer at a time in the evening etc, even though it's going to take me ages. I can stand untidyness but not being 'dirty' and my house was getting to the state I was too embarrassed to let anyone in. Yeah and I can relate to lack of self care too. I would not bother all week then when I knew I was seeing my boyfriend I would force myself to wash/ brush hair/put make up on for that day which took a lot of effort. Actually I was told he used to do the same for me (except the make up part!), he has schizophrenia with negative aspects and people would comment on how he had also made an effort!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Indeed, taking care of myself and my surrounds, getting things done, etc, is a very trying thing for me to do. The more depressed I get the less I take care of myself. For years I brushed my teeth once a month, if that. Now I average a few times a week...hopefully. Sometimes it's less, unfortunately. I'm good at keeping showered. I didn't today though, unfortunately. Up until I was 16 I only showered like once a week. I was extremely afraid that my shower would turn into an alligator and eat me. I'm not bothered by it anymore but I still think about it.
Whenever I try to clean things like my bathroom or room or whatever it's not uncommon for me to break down crying and take several hours to do a task that would take most people 30 minutes or so. My desk is a mess, laundry rarely gets put away...yea, that's my life for you.
I do think it's because of bipolar disorder. I believe it makes me a perfectionist because my personality is just so extreme and as a result I just can't bring myself to do something unless it'll turn out perfect. and my failures only compound my fears.
I just wish I knew what to do about it. It's holding me back so much.
Helpful - 0
585414 tn?1288941302
Yes I have had that problem and it has improved but its still there. I used to keep lists of what I needed to do but I would lose the lists or just get obsessed with making the lists. It took a while to be able to organize things as regards cleaning my house and washing the dishes and other basics. I used to (myself) appear very disheveled and disorganized. For me it was part of the negative symptoms of schizoaffective. I do know that there were times during moodswings though where my thoughts would jump from one idea to the other and I couldn't get focused on  what was needed. Some of that continues to affect me (although aspects of it may be other than mental) but there are times I can focus more on what to add to my Rhapsody Music library or Netflix queue rather than exact real world things. I did have to learn how to do basic chores in the apartment but following steps on lists didn't work. It was a matter of understanding the concept of what orderliness meant (without it becoming obsessive) and that never improved for me until treatment did.
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Avatar universal
It is a symptom of some other mental illnesses too.  I have trouble with these things like brushing my hair and teeth.
Helpful - 0
1220347 tn?1345428521
I do. I rarely brush my teeth, use deodorent, brush my hair, or use my anti acne cream. There are other things but I rather not mention them. I'd like to say that it is because of my bipolar and lack of motivation, but it could be just that I'm lazy, which is true.
Helpful - 0
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