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#1 of 23 Old 08-03-2010, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am hoping to connect with others who suffer from anxiety/panic attacks. More specifically when your home gets out of control. Or should I say when you perceive it to be that way. Many times I get anxious because I see an area I need to clean, then I start seeing every little thing thats messy, needs cleaning, etc. Then I get overwhelmed and panic. Also when an area gets cluttery I start getting panicky. I go into overdrive mode and can't stop until I get rid of things, get things back in order. I know I have obsessive, complusive personality although I don't think I have the full blown disorder. I have no tendencies for repeatative actions, touching items, etc. I take Zoloft because its not only a antidepressive its for panic attacks also.

Yesterday and today have been bad days. I think I am getting over the hump because I am able to feel the relief. I have several bags of Goodwill to go.

I go into a store and look around. I see things I like, but rarely buy. I can't stand the commitment of bring items into the house, where to put them, will it be "right", will I waste money. Finally after months of agonizing over my living room I bought four things to decorate it. I LOVE them. they make me happy. But it took months to get there.

Anyone else???
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#2 of 23 Old 08-03-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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My grandmother was like that. She took Paxil for it, which helped more than the other things she tried. Have you considered therapy or a medication change? Obviously it isn't bad for someone in your line of work to be meticulously clean, but panic attacks won't help anybody.
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#3 of 23 Old 08-03-2010, 05:34 PM
 
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Hey Melissa - I suffer from this big time. The only difference is that when I start to get overwhelmed, I shut down - almost completely! I spend my time in bed, or leave the house (if I am able to get that far). It makes me feel lazy, but I am not a lazy person. I know that it's anxiety. I can't begin because something else always needs to happen first and so I never start. My husband usually gets me going eventually.

This summer has been really tough for me but I have finally come around, I think. We have bags and bags of stuff for the goodwill and I am hoping that when all is said and done, my home will basically look like a hotel. A shabby mismatched one, but the point is that I can't handle the clutter that ALWAYS accumulates somehow.

As for not being able to decide on something, I have that issue too. I don't think it's a problem though - it really helps me keep a bunch of mass produced junk out of the house. I love to shop and look, but rarely buy anything because I can't decide. And, to top it all off, I almost always have buyer's remorse .

The mind is a funny thing and I think that maybe it's our body's way of telling us that we are overwhelmed. I think that we forget that this modern life is really really new to us as humans and it's not surprising that not everyone is wired the same way and handle things the same way.

Good luck sister!

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#4 of 23 Old 08-03-2010, 10:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the replies. I am a little more evened out right now. We went to the pool and out to dinner. Laundry is on its final load. However, its annoying me right now that the dishwasher is full of clean dishes and the clean clothes need to be put up. Then I go back to school for four days and the level will go back up again. UGH I SO hate this.
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#5 of 23 Old 08-03-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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Do you get regular fresh air and exercise? I have similar issues and they totally escalate when I haven't gone for my regular walks.

Loving my little family life with DH of 6 years and DD 12/22/09. Cloth diapering, exclusive nursing, whole food eating, summer loving public school teacher.
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#6 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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Have you read Getting Things Done by David Allen? I'm finding it very helpful for this sort of thing, seriously.
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#7 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chinupchamp View Post
Hey Melissa - I suffer from this big time. The only difference is that when I start to get overwhelmed, I shut down - almost completely! I spend my time in bed, or leave the house (if I am able to get that far). It makes me feel lazy, but I am not a lazy person. I know that it's anxiety. I can't begin because something else always needs to happen first and so I never start. My husband usually gets me going eventually.
I do this, too. I don't lay in bed, but I stare at my computer and ignore and avoid. I get so antsy when my house is a disaster, I just can't functionally get myself back. I get overwhelmed. I have some perfectionism (bordering OCD) and anxiety issues in general, though.

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#8 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 01:55 PM
 
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I have feelings like this sometimes but I'm not sure if my cluttered/messy house is making me anxious or if the anxiety I feel about my cluttered/messy life is making me feel like my house is too messy... Does that make sense?

I hate when my husband says to me after I've told him we need to clean the house because it's driving me crazy "just relax and take it easy today and don't clean." That does not help at all, he doesn't get that I can't relax when my house is the way it is.
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#9 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 02:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sasha's Mama View Post
I hate when my husband says to me after I've told him we need to clean the house because it's driving me crazy "just relax and take it easy today and don't clean." That does not help at all, he doesn't get that I can't relax when my house is the way it is.
Is it possible that he says this because you get all freaked out and grumpy when you're cleaning? My SO tends to get upset and full of self-recrimination when he cleans ("How could we let it get to be such a mess? What is all this stuff? Look at this place!!!") and makes it miserable for both of us, so I've essentially forbidden him to participate in cleaning - I do it, and he makes it up to me by doing more of other shared tasks.

So maybe your husband fears the freakout and is trying to stop it by stopping the cleaning. Maybe you could tell him the right thing to say? Like, "I can see that it's already a lot better than yesterday. It takes a few steps to get there, but you're making good progress; there's no need to panic." Or something.

And if you do freak out while cleaning, is it possible to consciously make it more fun? Good music, TV, an unhealthy snack that you only allow yourself while cleaning, buying a bunch of flowers after the dining room table is done, a pound of some exotic fruit to put in the fruit bowl after the kitchen counter is done, whatever it takes?

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#10 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 03:21 PM
 
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Is it possible that he says this because you get all freaked out and grumpy when you're cleaning? My SO tends to get upset and full of self-recrimination when he cleans ("How could we let it get to be such a mess? What is all this stuff? Look at this place!!!") and makes it miserable for both of us, so I've essentially forbidden him to participate in cleaning - I do it, and he makes it up to me by doing more of other shared tasks.

So maybe your husband fears the freakout and is trying to stop it by stopping the cleaning. Maybe you could tell him the right thing to say? Like, "I can see that it's already a lot better than yesterday. It takes a few steps to get there, but you're making good progress; there's no need to panic." Or something.

And if you do freak out while cleaning, is it possible to consciously make it more fun? Good music, TV, an unhealthy snack that you only allow yourself while cleaning, buying a bunch of flowers after the dining room table is done, a pound of some exotic fruit to put in the fruit bowl after the kitchen counter is done, whatever it takes?

Crayfish
I wish it was because I freaked out when I cleaned, but I think it's because he doesn't want to clean, so by telling me to relax and not clean, he can continue to watch TV or play tennis or look at stuff on the computer and not help me. Most of the time it's me cleaning something while he's oblivious to what I'm doing (or ignoring the fact that I'm working so he can pretend it's not happening) and then afterwards telling me how nice it looks

ETA maybe I'm missing the point of what you're saying. It just doesn't feel fair that I have to make basic cleaning of the house "fun" for him so he'll help me. I just feel really nice and happy when the house is clean, but I get tired of doing it all by myself. Or him pushing his share of the work off on our 10yo.
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#11 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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ETA maybe I'm missing the point of what you're saying. It just doesn't feel fair that I have to make basic cleaning of the house "fun" for him so he'll help me. I just feel really nice and happy when the house is clean, but I get tired of doing it all by myself. Or him pushing his share of the work off on our 10yo.
Sorry, no, I was talking about making your cleaning fun for _you_, on the theory that you might be freaky and upset when you're cleaning - based on the cleaning rather than on him refusing to clean. I agree that it's not your job to make his share of the cleaning fun for him; that's his problem.

Is it just cleaning that he hates, or does he slack his share of all of the household work? If he just hates cleaning and you don't, could he take full responsibility for some other tasks? (Laundry, cooking more often, more childcare, something.) Or would he be willing to take on individual big ugly jobs while you do maintenance, if he's lousy at maintenance? Or could you hire someone to do his share of the housework, and he gives up some of his play money, or works some overtime, to pay for it?

I dunno. But, no, I wasn't saying that it's your job to make him enjoy housework.
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#12 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 08:37 PM
 
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I shut down when I'm overwhelmed too. I spend time reading about cleaning and avoiding it. I know I'll get into more of a groove once the baby is older and *sleeping*, but right now, I'm exhausted and overwhelmed. I'm also the only one who cares what the place looks like, which is a pain when it comes to getting help. However, I never have to hear, "What did you do all day?"

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#13 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My problem isn't that my house actually is a mess. Its just the normal little living messes make me nuts and I blow them out of proportion and that makes me see every little thing. I have people tell me I can get more accomplished in a day than anyone they know. I don't shut down, I go into over drive. And then I can't stop til its all done. There have been times, not recently thank god, I'd stay up til 2 or 3 painting the kitchen or some other odd thing. I just hate when that takes over. I used to keep working and working without even eating. I also have control over that too, thank goodness.
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#14 of 23 Old 08-05-2010, 12:41 AM
 
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1. you're not alone, not even close.
2. you can get help, although it may take some digging to get *good* help, and you deserve to, and you should!

I have anxiety and panic attacks. I have been wrestling with this for... wow, about five years now. no wonder I'm tired of it I also need a clean house to feel really calm; this is not outside the range of normal, but if I'm struggling the house can really be an issue for me. I don't trigger on it like you describe-- I do that over health symptoms in myself and my kids. (I'm afraid I might be a hypochondriac! )

what I have learned is really important here, is that it has absolutely nothing to do with your house, just as my anxiety has nothing to do with my health. anxiety and panic are secondary. there is an underlying cause of the anxiety and panic-- fear or depression or both. addressing the root cause will propel you forward, whereas focusing on the symptoms (the anxiety) only creates more anxiety, since that's how anxiety works. finding a really good talk therapist (quality is imperative!) or a good modern shaman who gives you the opportunity to sort yourself out and peel back some layers will empower you to get back to being the one in control of your emotional state

also here's my quick checklist of nutritional and physical things for optimal emotional health, which I go to when I feel my anxiety starting to go back up:
1. how's my sleep?
2. EFA's? this is super duper important! take fish oil, or if you can afford it, get udo's oil. I am completely serious when I tell you that one tbsp of that oil brought my anxiety to a complete standstill!
3.hydration- drink more water!
4. too much coffee? caffeine from tea doesn't seem to cause me trouble, but it may bother others. for me it's coffee.
5. protein intake?
6. B vitamins?

this isn't all inclusive by any stretch, it's just my top things to check. ymmv.

speaking of all that I should get some sleep now!
hth!

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#15 of 23 Old 08-05-2010, 06:28 AM
 
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I get very anxious and stressed if my house isn't clean/things in the right place. I obsessively vacuum up dog hair and go through drawers to find clutter. We recently went on vacation and ten minutes home I was already doing laundry and dusting. I was really grumpy too and annoyed that my dh was telling me to relax, wait until tomorrow, etc.

It is very hard to accept that there will always be a load of laundry to put away, dishes to unload, windows to clean, etc.

Sometimes when it gets really bad I just need to get out of the house and do something. Even just going for a walk allows me to relax and clear my head. I can come home and the work of the house doesn't bother me so much.

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#16 of 23 Old 08-05-2010, 06:43 AM
 
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I do suffer from anxiety and panic attacks...in relation to quite a few issues, but when it comes to the house, certain things do make me anxious!

We have a problem with a bad carpet that creates a lot of dust, and I get anxious about how much constant cleaning I have to do to cope with it, and we cannot afford to have the carpet removed. I feel like I spend the whole time chasing my tail trying to keep on top of the dust situation...

I get anxious when I think that we will never afford to get our renovations done, and that I will have to keep living with really nasty bathrooms and laundry.

I get anxious when I have spent a lot of time tidying, and the kids just mess it all up really fast...it makes me feel annoyed and also it's soul destroying to spend hours cleaning and tidying, only to have people stomp on your hard work! Fortunately my oldest DD does help a bit with housework, but the middle daughter still does not really help much. The youngest is an 8 yr old boy and he does small jobs if I ask him but that is about it.

SAHM to three
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#17 of 23 Old 08-05-2010, 09:03 AM
 
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I have periods when I am really bothered by the mess, it makes me feel sick, stressed and anxious. I usually shut down and feel so anxious that I can't start doing anything. We don't have a super-messy house, but I want it to be really nice, clean and calm, and it never is.
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#18 of 23 Old 08-05-2010, 09:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
I do this, too. I don't lay in bed, but I stare at my computer and ignore and avoid. I get so antsy when my house is a disaster, I just can't functionally get myself back. I get overwhelmed. I have some perfectionism (bordering OCD) and anxiety issues in general, though.
and THIS is what I am doing here right now

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#19 of 23 Old 08-05-2010, 01:31 PM
 
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and THIS is what I am doing here right now
me too! with my back to the sinkful of dirty dishes!

more from my paper list I forgot in my pp:
oatstraw infusion (supports nerves)
vitamin D
fresh air, walking, yoga (I know, like who has time for that?!)
calcium

ok, the 3 y.o. is demanding muffins gtg!

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#20 of 23 Old 08-05-2010, 02:04 PM
 
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what I have learned is really important here, is that it has absolutely nothing to do with your house, just as my anxiety has nothing to do with my health. anxiety and panic are secondary. there is an underlying cause of the anxiety and panic-- fear or depression or both. addressing the root cause will propel you forward, whereas focusing on the symptoms (the anxiety) only creates more anxiety, since that's how anxiety works. finding a really good talk therapist (quality is imperative!) or a good modern shaman who gives you the opportunity to sort yourself out and peel back some layers will empower you to get back to being the one in control of your emotional state

Thank you! This is what I was trying to get at in my first post. Usually if I'm over-focusing/stressing about the house and getting it clean, or clear, or *perfect*, there is something else going on that actually needs my focus. Or I need to take a step back and away from everyone to regroup.
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#21 of 23 Old 08-05-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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I can relate! I wouldn't say I get panic attacks but I get very high with the anxiety when I see a mess. Even if it's something someone wouldn't consider it a mess... I probably do.
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#22 of 23 Old 08-05-2010, 08:21 PM
 
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I used to suffer from the same thing. After finally figuring out that my anxiety came from not wanting to end up like my mother...the packrat...I realized I had to find a balance. I now only clean about 20 minutes a day...I take Sat. morning to do the big stuff...bathrooms, floors, windows...but set a time limit. I have found that minimalism, while creating a happy, comfy space is most important to me. I also agree with what others have said, just take time for yourself and find your time to enjoy.
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#23 of 23 Old 08-05-2010, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know one of the problems is I grew up an only child of a single mother. Our house was very quiet and always neat because it was the two of us. I was a bookworm too. I now have three boys-two teenagers and a 10 yr old. Things get loud and messy easily and I constantly battle to keep ahead. I made the choice to have three kids and wouldn't trade em for the world. Its just that noise and messes that trigger me.
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