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Personal Hygiene- Showering and Depression


SuzyLee

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Hi, everyone.  I've had depression for as long as I can remember, at least since the age of 10.  As just about anyone with depression knows, personal hygiene tends to be one of the first things to fall by the wayside.  My worst problem is showering and other basic hygiene tasks.  It's as if I can't seem to will myself to set aside the time to take the most basic steps to enter the shower, turn on the water, and perform the act of washing my body.  I am a very large woman (another major issue in itself), so needless-to-say, not showering for days and days on end can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness that I'll leave to your imagination.

I've always viewed my reluctance to shower as a mixture of laziness and reluctance to tire myself out by standing for so long.  I have never had great grooming habits (I had lots of siblings, so my mother didn't "encourage" showering), so there's nothing to fall back on.  I have no husband or boyfriend, so technically, I don't have to shower out of respect for anyone else.  I was divorced about 15 years ago, which is really when my lack of personal hygiene and extreme overeating began in earnest.  To be honest, between getting out of an abusive marriage, raising my baby daughter by myself, and trying to maintain my job and keep a roof over my head, I was under too much stress and simply didn't give a crap anymore.  I'd like for this to be the year that I get myself together and end this ridiculous cycle of apathy and disrespect for myself.  FYI: I already have nice towels, a clean bathroom, and pleasant-smelling bath products, so it's not a question of making the environment more welcoming.  It's a question of making the decision to groom myself- or my inability to do so.
 
Thanks for reading.  Any advice or words of wisdom are more than welcome.
Edited by SuzyLee
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My advice is simple: just do it.

I find that when I'm thinking about all of the things that I have to do in the day, I become less & less motivated to actually do them.

I cannot think too long & hard about simple tasks.

Also, take one thing at a time. Don't just rush into doing everything, you will feel burnout. One day comb your hair. Then the next, comb your hair & wash your face. Keep adding on tasks at a pace you find manageable.

Soon it will simply become routine.

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8 minutes ago, SuzyLee said:
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Hi, everyone.  I've had depression for as long as I can remember, at least since the age of 10.  As just about anyone with depression knows, personal hygiene tends to be one of the first things to fall by the wayside.  My worst problem is showering and other basic hygiene tasks.  It's as if I can't seem to will myself to set aside the time to take the most basic steps to enter the shower, turn on the water, and perform the act of washing my body.  I am a very large woman (another major issue in itself), so needless-to-say, not showering for days and days on end can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness that I'll leave to your imagination.

I've always viewed my reluctance to shower as a mixture of laziness and reluctance to tire myself out by standing for so long.  I have never had great grooming habits (I had lots of siblings, so my mother didn't "encourage" showering), so there's nothing to fall back on.  I have no husband or boyfriend, so technically, I don't have to shower out of respect for anyone else.  I was divorced about 15 years ago, which is really when my lack of personal hygiene and extreme overeating began in earnest.  To be honest, between getting out of an abusive marriage, raising my baby daughter by myself, and trying to maintain my job and keep a roof over my head, I was under too much stress and simply didn't give a crap anymore.  I'd like for this to be the year that I get myself together and end this ridiculous cycle of apathy and disrespect for myself.  FYI: I already have nice towels, a clean bathroom, and pleasant-smelling bath products, so it's not a question of making the environment more welcoming.  It's a question of making the decision to groom myself- or my inability to do so.
 
Thanks for reading.  Any advice or words of wisdom are more than welcome.

I have the same problem with that and cleaning I just don,t care because I know no one is going to come over, when I have somewhere to go with people im going to socialize with I always take a shower and clean my house my mother came to visit and flipped out that my condo was messy. I cleaned up before she came but she didn,t think it was clean enough, we had a big argument over it when I was dating someone though I was frantically cleaning my house. Other wise i get very apathetic and procrastinate every thing. i haven,t shaved since I graduate college and my career counselor said I need to shave all my facial hair off. When I was in college I always shaved every couple of days,but now since im stuck in my house because im broke I don,t see anyone and I just don,t shave because its such a pain in the ass. Maybe if you meet someone or invite people over that would give you some moativation to clean.

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I never had the issue with showers. They're calming. I take two a day. I can't stand my oily skin getting even more oily.

My medical problems are where I slack off. Mostly because they can never find the problem anyway. I let stuff go forever because of the hopelessness.

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1 hour ago, Jules19 said:

My advice is simple: just do it.

Soon it will simply become routine.

Believe it or not, this pure and simple advice spurred me to shower as soon as I arrived home from work just now.  Thank you.  I'll be posting more later, so please weigh in!  You've had a positive impact on me so far. ?

All I can do is keep trying (and try to avoid overthinking things).

Edited by SuzyLee
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I checked in on this topic because I can sort of feel myself sliding into some of the same behaviors. Like my self care is the last thing on my list. What I try to do to come out of it is a lot like the "Just do it" advice. I try to remember the saying "When I got busy, I got better". Even if I feel like it's not worth it and I am not motivated or no one will care or even notice, etc., etc., If I remember that saying it reminds me that I might have to fake it until I can make it. In other words if I go ahead and take the action and do the self care the feeling better might (and a lot of times does) come after. At the very least it helps distract me from my negative thinking.

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@SeekingSolaceInTheStorm I love that you realize that "faking it until you make it" is often the best way to distract yourself from negative self-talk.  I've been sliding into these behaviors for a couple of months now and I have to fight back against the urge to give in.

I've resolved to take a shower each and every day for the next week, regardless of whether or not I want to, and see how I feel when the week is over.  Thanks for the wise words. 

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I'm not a big bather, every three or four days, but I always feel better afterwards. And I like the idea of smelling fresh for the people around me. The activity I want to increase is walking. I used to do it 4 to 5 days a week, but have slacked lately. I'm thinking of making a daily checklist of healthy self-care behaviors....stuff like meal plan, exercise, errands, chores, schedule. I need some structure.

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Descend into chaos. What a great way of describing a state I know all too well! I think tomorrow a.m. I'll make a plan for my day and then in the evening before bed I'll review my day and think of things to be grateful for. I'm thinking it will be a self-care, pleasant events journal.

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10 hours ago, SuzyLee said:
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Hi, everyone.  I've had depression for as long as I can remember, at least since the age of 10.  As just about anyone with depression knows, personal hygiene tends to be one of the first things to fall by the wayside.  My worst problem is showering and other basic hygiene tasks.  It's as if I can't seem to will myself to set aside the time to take the most basic steps to enter the shower, turn on the water, and perform the act of washing my body.  I am a very large woman (another major issue in itself), so needless-to-say, not showering for days and days on end can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness that I'll leave to your imagination.

I've always viewed my reluctance to shower as a mixture of laziness and reluctance to tire myself out by standing for so long.  I have never had great grooming habits (I had lots of siblings, so my mother didn't "encourage" showering), so there's nothing to fall back on.  I have no husband or boyfriend, so technically, I don't have to shower out of respect for anyone else.  I was divorced about 15 years ago, which is really when my lack of personal hygiene and extreme overeating began in earnest.  To be honest, between getting out of an abusive marriage, raising my baby daughter by myself, and trying to maintain my job and keep a roof over my head, I was under too much stress and simply didn't give a crap anymore.  I'd like for this to be the year that I get myself together and end this ridiculous cycle of apathy and disrespect for myself.  FYI: I already have nice towels, a clean bathroom, and pleasant-smelling bath products, so it's not a question of making the environment more welcoming.  It's a question of making the decision to groom myself- or my inability to do so.
 
Thanks for reading.  Any advice or words of wisdom are more than welcome.

ohhh I've been there. it's like you're locked and you just can't. you'll tell yourself I have to do it and your body just sits there in bed.

i dread the shower. at my worst I didn't shower for 5 days. it was too hard. all of a sudden it took 50 steps to take a shower and with a lackf energy that was easily an hit and a half ordeal. 

start with small goals. I first got up and washed my face. that took 2 days to do. then I decided to get in the shower but I sat in the tub, no tub? just sit and curl up or lean on the wall and direct the shower head to you. I still do this. I've had depression for 1.5 years.  I have curly hair so I had to wash my hair. well with the pace of a sloth , I did stay I. the shower doing nothing for 10 minutes then mustered up the energy to lather up and plopped the shampoo on my head. lather, rest, lather the next section, rest, etc. added conditioner and did the same. sat in the tub until the water got like warm and then I'd get out.

3 days after that, I added washing my body, after that it was all comibned- hair, body, shave. 

i cried in the shower too, still do. 

taking care of yourself is the hardest thing. especially if you're alone (no family as in siblings are another part of the state, no boyfriend, no kids, 2 friends) there just isn't any motivation. I do it bc of work. I need to pay the bills. 

but yea, break the chore down to small goals. 

I'm sorry you're going through this. 

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I happen to love showers. It's like my reset button. I remember when I hurt my back and couldn't stand for very long, I was determined to get into my beloved shower that I brought in a little plastic stool so that I could sit and still take my shower.LOL. They say like the shower is a substitute for emotional warmth from humans and that there is like positive ions that the shower releases etc.   So maybe that is why I like the shower. I love all the soft towels, and nice smelling shower gels. Also as a kid, the shower was a place I could go whenever I was having a bad day, it was a way to sort of wash the day off of me. My Dad loved baths, and my Mom  always encouraged us to use the shower to relax, my brother was always in the shower. Bathing was like a "thing" in our house. Also I realized that I didn't like baths because of the cleaning involved and also that I didn't like showering in the morning since it feels really rushed for me.

I don't want to get all "deep" on you, but you did mention that when you were a child, bathing wasn't encouraged, so you may want to really think about that, to see if that has anything to do with your ideas about showering. Also maybe try and decide on a good time of day of when you think you have the best chance of getting up and showering. I mean, you have all the items for a nice shower so that is half the battle. And if you decide that you just really don't love showering as much as I do. LOL then maybe just get in and out of there in 5 minutes, and then you can go do other things.

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You have great insight into the root causes. You can also consider your past actions and their effects. For example, think back on times when lack of grooming led to less productivity, or led to you not wanting to leave the house, etc. And consider how that has impacted other areas of your life: physically, socially, professionally, etc. But don't get stuck in your head about the solution! You've answered your own question in that you are able. Now it's time to act! It's also time to renew your mind! Fill your heart with joy! Have hope and confidence that God is going to see you through this situation, and the next, and the next. You know, I love turning on the radio and listening to my favorite stations whether I'm at work, in the car, or at home cleaning. The music is upbeat and the talk is encouraging. And when you start to feel heavy, cast your cares on the Lord. He will renew your strength!
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There's another good thread on this forum with recommendations to help make showering more appealing. I know that they don't always work though.

For me, scheduling something out of the house (therapy or an in-person work meeting) is my motivation to shower. If I don't have to leave the house and am feeling even a bit depressed, it can go for 4-5 days between showers.

Also, I have learned to use the physical sensation of showers as a proxy for measuring my level of depression. Sometimes I can get a sense of where my depression is at/if I'm starting a worse episode by how showers feel/my interest in showering. At least it can be useful?

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