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cleaning house: getting free from messiness

Posted Mar 30 2009 3:23pm 1 Comment
I appreciate the comments people left about my last post. I know that weight gain is an issue which other people who take antipsychotic medications struggle with as well. I am not sure that there is a good solution available for this problem, unfortunately. I have tried losing weight numerous times with diets and exercise, and it doesn't seem to work well for me now as it used to when I was younger and not on medications like these.

Although I do feel depressed about my weight issue, and the persistent symptoms that come up, I am doing better on some fronts. I went through another phase of keeping a messy apartment the past couple of months, and I finally pulled myself out of that so that I am keeping it more neat and clean now. I feel much less depressed when I am at home in a clean house than when I am going into and out of a messy disaster area. Also, my landlord agency sent people to do an inspection of all the apartments in our building. This motivated me to clean for five days until the place was in good shape again, in time for the inspectors to visit. It also allowed me to have the place clean enough for other visitors, so my mom came by one night and my friend came over another night. Often, in the past, my place was too messy for company. My goal with my apartment now is to manage it so that it does not become that disorganized and embarrassing again.

In conversations with other people who have mental illnesses, I have learned that I am not alone with the problem of being very disorganized, and with getting overwhelmed regarding cleaning house. My mother does not keep up with cleaning at all, and she and I are similar in this vein. She tends to let things go until they are in really bad shape, and I am afraid that I have the same tendency sometimes. I have one online friend with a similar problem, and have met other people in support groups who had trouble with hoarding garbage and junk, not being able to straighten out their homes alone. I wonder sometimes what particular brain glitch this is - the glitch that causes people to live in material chaos. I wish there was a simple pill for it, or an easy solution, but the only answer I've ever found is to force myself to clean even when doing so goes against my constitution.

I would be interested in hearing your comments on this issue. It is something I have discussed here before, and I would be interested in hearing more responses about it. If you or someone you know has a mental illness and some trouble with neatness and cleanliness, please chime in. I think it is an interesting subject to discuss and one that does not often come out into the daylight, because so many people are ashamed of the way that they live behind closed doors.

If you are living in a disaster area, please know that you are not alone in your messy state, and - hard though it may be to believe this - there is a way out. I find that cleaning a tiny bit at a time, and taking frequent breaks helps me get through big messes. I am talking about really bad messes. You may not be able to clean your home in a day - no matter how small your home is. You may need a week. You may need a few weeks or a month. But you can do it. Little by little, like the Little Engine That Could. Just say to yourself, "I think I can; I think I can."

Playing music loudly while you clean can also help you keep moving. I play music every time, and I even have certain playlists set aside for cleaning. It's just like exercising - music helps!

Make sure you have the proper tools first. You may need gloves (I do when my messes are bad), cleaning supplies, sponges, etc....And you also may need help, as in the form of another person. I know how it is to have a place that looks too bad for another person to be allowed to enter - so that is an issue some of you may have come across. But do what you can on your own, and then, see if you have a close friend or family member who would be willing to lend a hand. I know a support group leader in NAMI who does this for people in the group when they ask her, and she says she actually enjoys cleaning, believe it or not!

Also, there are websites to help us messy people of the world. This is one my mom has told me about in the past: Messies Anonymous is a site especially for those of us who are challenged in the area of organization and cleanliness. Her methods are unique, and may be useful to you. This other site has cleaning tips for efficient neatness. Life Organizers has some organization tips as well.

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I believe my wife may have this disorder and I'm desperately looking for help. Do you know what the official name for this condition is? Have you received any help since this post? 

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