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Don't wait till you fixed yourself to clean your house.

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

In fact don't wait till you fix yourself to do anything!

 

Yes, this is from a web site for people living in squalor.  But I get inspiration from these types of 'recovery' sites, even though my home can't really be described as squalorous. 

 

http://www.squalorsurvivors.com/junk/truthlie.shtml

 

Just this portion of the fourth bullet point down -my emotions had to be TOTALLY resolved-  really resonated with me!

 

Of course, I'm hunting round the web reading interesting, helpful and truly inspirational things, and posting them here, in stead of doing the various things I'm avoiding.  :bag on head:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 19

Those sites are actually really bad for me, because I'm a crappy, crappy housekeeper, but my house isn't that bad...so I can sit back and think "oh, it could be worse", and completely ignore the fact that it could be better, too. It's definitely hugely psychological, though. I get buried under the magnitude of the task and never feel that picking at it makes any difference. (We got rid of several large bags of old clothes and I've packed up 3 boxes of paperbacks in the last few months...that's HARD for me - and two of them are out of the house and I'm waiting for the third one to be picked up. It's a good dent...but it doesn't feel like it, yk?)

 

Ah, well - I'm getting both better and worse. I realize that the level of mess has reached a point where it's having a negative effect on me, mentally. But, I'm also getting worse about saying, "oh, well - I'm too tired/sick/busy today to get much done", and then I don't even start!

 

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
It's a good dent...but it doesn't feel like it, yk?)

 

Yup, I know. 

 

 

post #4 of 19

Journeymom, you make a good point! I find the more I "fix" myself the cleaner my house gets. When I first started my medication, the house was a mess. Then I did a few dishes here and there after a while, even though the sinks were full. Then, the toys got picked up everyday, along with clothes going in the hamper. Then I was cooking every night(or nearly every night). And now, it doesn't stay spotless, but it's seriously not the gross mess it used to be. I vacuum 4 times a week, the dishes stay done, the laundry baskets are never full, clothes are off the floor, kids are fed on time(their eating routines were seriously 3 hours later than most other kids) and bathed every other night with me and DH tucking them in at bedtime. So nice! It feels normal and not cramped and overwhelming and it flows pretty nicely throughout the day.

 

And "cleaning house" really means feeling okay emotionally. I used to hide in my mess. I felt so cold and overwhelmed and closed in. Emotionally, I felt bankrupt. Much like a pile of unpaid bills and dirty clothes would leave me, which sat strewn about with dirty dishes and old food in the fridge. That stuff was the baggage of feeling neglected by DH. Keeping the blinds pulled down was my insecurity of finding friends. Wearing the same clothes for 2 or more days was my self-esteem. Not ALL of it feels better. I still have a "donation pile" of clothes and junk in my closet of feelings I shouldn't own, and amends I should make. Among other things, but my house looks alot cleaner than it did before. :)

post #5 of 19

This stuff is interesting:

 

 

Quote:
Some people grow up in squalor and have learned hoarding habits from their parents.

 

 

Quote:
the most common contributing factor is psychological, with clinical depression seemingly leading the way. Other psychological causes are: obsessive-compulsive hoarding, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,

 

 

Quote:
Some become messy because of their neat-freak-ness; unable to meet their own unrealistically high personal standards, they learned to avoid housework all together.

 

 

Quote:
Physical problems are another common cause: Fibromyalgia and CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome),

<snip>
 
Even temporary physical setbacks (recovering from an injury, illness or surgery) can complicate housekeeping problems. Lack of energy, chronic pain, and other symptoms make keeping up with routine chores difficult, or even impossible. As a result, the house slides into disarray.

 

Every single thing I've quoted applies to me. I would never have thought of my childhood home as "squalor", but it definitely fit the description of First Degree Squalor. (It was such an incredibly happy place to be - probably why I'm so comfortable in more cluttered environments than a lot of people.) I've had lots of issues with depression, and PTSD (c-section related). I've crashed on the houseork after every baby and c-section recovery. And, these days, I'm just finding it too physically demanding to keep up with. Plus, I do tend to hoard (although, thankfully, not to extent that some do - that must be SO hard to deal with), and decluttering is really, really draining.

 

Thanks for posting this site. It's interesting - and helpful - reading.

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

Good, I'm glad it helped!  

 

I have to remind myself that that web site refers to squalor, not hoarding.  They're slightly different.  Hoarding seems to include collecting things, while squalor is 'wretched, miserable and repulsive' from lack of cleanliness. I'm sure there are plenty of instances that overlap.  Anyway, from the web site, their definition of 'First Degree Squalor' seems unreasonable. 

 

Quote:

 

You are getting behind in tasks that you would normally manage, like laundry and dishes. You are not the tidy person you once were. Little piles are starting to emerge and your disorganization is starting to affect your life and inconvenience you. Things are just starting to get out of hand and become unmanageable. A sign of first degree squalor could be that you might be embarrassed for other people to see your mess...but you would still let them in the house.

 

 

I think this is the state of a lot of homes, especially those with small children.  Being inconvenienced and being embarrassed for people to see the mess just doesn't seem like squalor to me. 

post #7 of 19

Looking back, I am super lucky to keep my house as good as I do. My mom didn't have time to clean or make us clean, and our house was so trashed. Literally using a rake for all the junk and stuff in our house. From ages 8-10, it was a wonder we didn't get sick from how bad it was.

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

Good, I'm glad it helped!  

 

I have to remind myself that that web site refers to squalor, not hoarding.  They're slightly different.  Hoarding seems to include collecting things, while squalor is 'wretched, miserable and repulsive' from lack of cleanliness. I'm sure there are plenty of instances that overlap.  Anyway, from the web site, their definition of 'First Degree Squalor' seems unreasonable. 

 

 

I think this is the state of a lot of homes, especially those with small children.  Being inconvenienced and being embarrassed for people to see the mess just doesn't seem like squalor to me. 


I find the term "squalor" doesn't seem to fit their definition of first degree, either. But, if using that term helps me get motivated, I can live with it. :)

 

IME, hoarding (which I do suffer from - I'm one of those people who can't bear to part with anything, because "I might need it" and/or it has sentimental meaning) can turn into squalor - at least first degree - pretty easily, because it makes it really hard to have a place to put everything. And, while I really don't mind clutter, it's a problem when it makes it hard to clean...and when you're trying to homeschool, in a relatively small place, with only the dining table available as a work surface. The clutter is a real problem around here. (My dining table was the dinner table last night, then the pumpkin carving - four pumpkins - station, then breakfast, and we have math work this morning. When there's too much clutter, it's hard to get the table cleared, because there's nowhere to put the stuff that's already on it.)

 

And, I'm eyeing the 8"-10" pile of paper beside my keyboard with distaste. :o

 

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
But, if using that term helps me get motivated, I can live with it. :)

 

Exactly!  After reading that description I went and vacuumed the hall carpet, which is filthy. 

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by IwannaBanRN View Post

Looking back, I am super lucky to keep my house as good as I do. My mom didn't have time to clean or make us clean, and our house was so trashed. Literally using a rake for all the junk and stuff in our house. From ages 8-10, it was a wonder we didn't get sick from how bad it was.


I have the same problem as you, but from an opposite cause. My home growing up was immaculate. Every cabinet and closet was perfect -- nothing ever looked dirty. I was neglected and abused as a child and my childhood was a nightmare, but the house was clean. I really can't stand for things to get *too* clean. It causes me to feel anxious and scared

 

I'm only ever aiming for a happy medium, never for spotless.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

And, while I really don't mind clutter, it's a problem when it makes it hard to clean...and when you're trying to homeschool, in a relatively small place, with only the dining table available as a work surface. The clutter is a real problem around here. .... When there's too much clutter, it's hard to get the table cleared, because there's nowhere to put the stuff that's already on it.)

 

 


yes, I totally relate to this.

 

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

I never mentioned why that concept (don't wait till you're fixed to do what needs to be done) made a light bulb go on for me. It's not house keeping related, but employment related. I put off doing important things because I want to figure out and fix my various issues:  adhd? bipolar? central auditory processing disorder??  And now demand avoidance syndrome, I like that one.   But we're teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and we desperately need me to get a job.  So for a year I've been sporadically job hunting. I've had one interview.  Actually I've got another interview Wednesday.  I'm petrified.   There is sooooo much more I can be doing to get employed that I keep putting off. 

 

I haven't fixed myself.  Somethings are in better shape, I have less anxiety than I did 13 years ago when I became a sahm.  But I'm going to go into this interview and have nothing to say.  But I've got to forge ahead. I have to, my family is depending on me.  OK, I can do this. 

 

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


I have the same problem as you, but from an opposite cause. My home growing up was immaculate. Every cabinet and closet was perfect -- nothing ever looked dirty. I was neglected and abused as a child and my childhood was a nightmare, but the house was clean. I really can't stand for things to get *too* clean. It causes me to feel anxious and scared

 

I'm only ever aiming for a happy medium, never for spotless.


 


 


I can see that. An abusive home doesn't have to be a dirty one. Alot of abusive parents keep an immaculate house because it's the way they keep order. My mom's ex was the same. If things weren't done how he wanted the first time, second time, third time, (and he WOULD make us do it over and over again until he thought it was done his way) and there was once I stayed up until 3AM on a school night, scrubbing the bathroom to his liking. I actually didn't think of it that way. After the squalor we lived in from ages 8-10, he swept my mom off her feet like some knight in shining armor and "instilled order" within the home.
 

 

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by IwannaBanRN View Post


Alot of abusive parents keep an immaculate house because it's the way they keep order. My mom's ex was the same. If things weren't done how he wanted the first time, second time, third time


 

My father was the abuser, and my mom was the organizer. For her, I think it was about feeling in control of a situation that she knew was out of control.

 

She didn't know how to fix how crazy and screwed up our family was, so she just kept cleaning and organizing everything.

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


I have the same problem as you, but from an opposite cause. My home growing up was immaculate. Every cabinet and closet was perfect -- nothing ever looked dirty. I was neglected and abused as a child and my childhood was a nightmare, but the house was clean. I really can't stand for things to get *too* clean. It causes me to feel anxious and scared

 

This is exactly why my childhood home was a bit of a mess. My parents both grew up with parents who were obsessively neat, tidy and clean. While neither of thm were abused, as such, they both had unhappy childhoods. (I don't think I've ever seen a picture of my mom where she was smiling, before the age of about 13 or 14, for instance.) They both have a lot of unhappy memories of not being allowed to be kids, because grandma (on mom's side) and grandpa (on dad's side) were so worked up about the slightest mess. So, they had immaculate homes, and did their best to spend every minute elsewhere, while I had a messy house, and my friends lived at our place!

 

I'm only ever aiming for a happy medium, never for spotless.

 

 

This is me, as well. I'm not there, yet. I also find that it seems as though a holiday or special event (my choir show, a vacation or visit from my in-laws) or an illness sets me back whenever I start to make headway. It's hard not to give up sometimes!

 

yes, I totally relate to this.

 

That's always nice to hear. I definitely feel pretty incompetent on the housekeeping front.


 

 

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

I never mentioned why that concept (don't wait till you're fixed to do what needs to be done) made a light bulb go on for me. It's not house keeping related, but employment related. I put off doing important things because I want to figure out and fix my various issues:  adhd? bipolar? central auditory processing disorder??  And now demand avoidance syndrome, I like that one.   But we're teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and we desperately need me to get a job.  So for a year I've been sporadically job hunting. I've had one interview.  Actually I've got another interview Wednesday.  I'm petrified.   There is sooooo much more I can be doing to get employed that I keep putting off. 

 

I haven't fixed myself.  Somethings are in better shape, I have less anxiety than I did 13 years ago when I became a sahm.  But I'm going to go into this interview and have nothing to say.  But I've got to forge ahead. I have to, my family is depending on me.  OK, I can do this. 

 


Agggh!  This is where I am.  With all sorts of things.  It started when I went back to work and became overwhelmed with all the different hats I was wearing!  I felt a little relieved when I lost my job last September, but it's been over a year now and I STILL can't seem to get it together to get things figured out.  We lost my health insurance and I haven't managed to apply for subsidized coverage, the bills are piling up.  It's always something I'm 'in the process of doing' but buried by.  I find myself making excuses about what I need to do first--the thing is everything seems to have a prerequisite task attached to it, and they overlap, so there's not a starting place, then I give up/postpone.

 

For us housework IS becoming an issue too, but I'd never thought to seek out a squalor support group.  I tend to clear off the clutter into a bag or a box 'to go through later' and later never comes.  There are bills in there, coupons for things I wanted to buy but are expired by now, interesting articles I'm going to read some day, recipes to try, pieces of things that need to find a home, things that never had a home to begin with.  Fixable items that have been unused for ridiculous amounts of time... It would be one thing if everything had it's own place, but in our cycle of renting and moving so often many things never get a home at all.

 

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

I never mentioned why that concept (don't wait till you're fixed to do what needs to be done) made a light bulb go on for me. It's not house keeping related, but employment related. I put off doing important things because I want to figure out and fix my various issues:  adhd? bipolar? central auditory processing disorder??  And now demand avoidance syndrome, I like that one.   But we're teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and we desperately need me to get a job.  So for a year I've been sporadically job hunting. I've had one interview.  Actually I've got another interview Wednesday.  I'm petrified.   There is sooooo much more I can be doing to get employed that I keep putting off. 

I haven't fixed myself.  Somethings are in better shape, I have less anxiety than I did 13 years ago when I became a sahm.  But I'm going to go into this interview and have nothing to say.  But I've got to forge ahead. I have to, my family is depending on me.  OK, I can do this. 

How did it go Journeymom? I am in a similar boat as you, but I don't need a job for financial reasons...which makes it all the harder to go and find one. But I'm fairly sure that having one will improve my life.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by applecider View Post


How did it go Journeymom? I am in a similar boat as you, but I don't need a job for financial reasons...which makes it all the harder to go and find one. But I'm fairly sure that having one will improve my life.



Eh. It went fine.  It's all about perspective.  I'm sure to the people on the interview panel I came across as creaky and totally nervous. But I came away from the interview totally psyched, because I felt like I did way better than I thought I would. For one thing I didn't freeze up and I had decent answers to all their questions. I'm so literal-minded, I absolutely dread those open-ended questions you're supposed to just...riff on. Expand upon the suggested subject.  I seriously doubt I'll be invited back for a second interview, but that's OK.  This was a good experience for me, I just need to do this about 7 more times...  sick.gif  orngbiggrin.gif

 

Improve my life:  being home without the kids, without regular interaction with other adults, for this many years, I feel slow and out of it. My senses are dulled.  I've gotten fearful and my self-esteem has taken a big hit.  I've given up dreaming and hoping my life will get better.  But it takes so little stimulation to make me feel better, lol!  Two weeks ago dh and I went to a sort of college class reunion. It was sooo fun!  It was awesome to see these people I hadn't seen in 20 years, and I came away inspired.  And again last night, dh and I went to a concert featuring one guy from the same college crowd, a guy who has become a university professor in music.  He's so talented, and the music was so different and interesting (modern, experimental music).  We went to a party afterwards which turned into a whole 'nuther class reunion. It's inspiring to see what others have been doing with their lives.  One gal that I wasn't particularly close to back in the day, I decided she's pretty cool.  She weaves beautiful things with yarn that she dyed herself with home made dyes.  Like the scarf she wore last night that was this lovely tan color, dyed with mushrooms... so cool. 

 

Lol! Anyway I digress.  Suffice it to say,  while staying home with the kids was great, and having the luxury to not have to face social issues that had been plaguing me my whole life was invaluable  -it went on far too long. 

 

And I cannot recommend enough that stay at home mamas take some time when their kids are in school to do some skills improvement!  Whether it's keeping up your law degree at seminars or taking a class to learn once and for all how to use Microsoft Excel spread sheets.

 

I've got more to say, have to go.

 

 

 

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'm back from a check-up with, notably enough, my psychologist.  orngbiggrin.gif  A month ago she increased the dose of my meds and I think it's really helping.  So she increased it some more.  She pointed out that many of her patients take as much as 400mg of this same med, while I'm only taking 75mg (which is more than I was taking for years prior).  I'm so OK with this. This is the first November in decades that I haven't had a growing sense of dread and sadness that, in February culminates in a storm of depression, feeling like I'm buried under a cairn of rocks.  I don't think I knew how depressed I've been.

 

ANYWAY, this appears to counter the point I'm trying to make here, that you shouldn't wait until you are 'fixed' to make and pursue goals.  Unfortunately it is really, really, REALLY hard to do that when you're depressed. Depression is like this giant, heavy, tantruming baby stuck in a carrier on my front.  So distracting, I can't think about anything else.  I can't see past it, can't breath freely, cant move with ease, can't focus on anything else because this baby demands my attention.  Apparently medication helps me one) realize the baby is even there, and two) have the mental energy to get it off my chest so I can see what I need to do.  Or, even what I want to do. What a concept!

 

Sorry, I'm going off on a personal tangent here. 

 

 

post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post


Sorry, I'm going off on a personal tangent here. 

 

 



Hey - it's your thread, and it is the personal growth forum, after all.

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