Overwhelmed by the Aftermath of Depression?
If you’re like me (and most people with bipolar disorder), you struggle more with depression than mania or hypomania. And if you’re like me, one of the ways your depression expresses itself is in an almost total disregard for housework and the building up of clutter.
For me, this is a vicious circle. During depression my house becomes a shambles. It’s not that I don’t want a neater, cleaner house - it’s that I don’t have the energy / focus / initiative (fill in your own excuse) to do anything about it.
The mess itself then feeds the depression. Guilt and agitation and frustration are added to the pool of negativity.
Then the depression lifts - whether on its own or by medication. But unless you slip into mania or hypomania, and have tons of energy and motivation to clean up, you may find yourself - as I do - still staring at the wreck that six months of depressive episode caused. It can be enough - for me, anyway - to start a slide back into depression.
It’s as if I spent six months in a dark valley, then medication threw me a rope and hauled me to the top of a hill. Now I stand there and all around me the tasks that haven’t gotten done during those six months are alive and start closing in on me like vampires. I back away as they suck my energy and focus. There are SO MANY of them Next thing I know, I’m sliding down the hill again.
For me, the outcome all depends on how high the hill is. The higher it is, the more likely it is that I can beat the vampires back. This time around that hill wasn’t very high and I’m already aware that I’m on the slope again.
Two common solutions for a situation like this are enlisting help from your family or hiring someone to help you. I live alone, so the first isn’t an option, but I’m seriously considering the second in spite of a tight budget.
Does this sound familiar? Have you found solutions? I’d love to hear them, and I’m sure others would, too.
Marcia wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Mental Disorders.