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Borrowing Trouble 12/49

Borrowing Trouble 12/49 published on 12 Comments on Borrowing Trouble 12/49

Kale: You see this, Niamh? Thorn wants to visit! And I — Stars, I want to see — well, anyone.

[just a regular low-tech brush]

How bad an impression do you think he’ll get? Can I get anything clean by the time he gets down the stairs?

. . .

Okay. Ooo-kay. I have cleaned myself in the past . . . um, 52 hours . . . and that’ll have to be enough.

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Okay, I need some light shed to help me understand. Why is it so hard for him to apparently pick up after himself and shower up? Laundry and cleaning are not that difficult.

When you are in a deep depression, there feels like no way out, no light at the end, no hope. Then, everything seems pointless. Your own body’s needs seem like too much effort, or you feel like you “don’t deserve” to have a clean body or home, so you don’t bother. Unfortunately, many people in a depression don’t realize that by not taking care of themselves and their homes, it reinforces the trap they are in. It takes a great deal of effort, willpower, and strength of character to start trying to improve your situation, or by asking for help.

Heck, try having anxiety or ADHD. Tasks that can be done in five minutes right now seem like they can take days.

I mean, personally for me, if I sit down and do laundry I CAN do it–but there are catches. If I put a load in the wash and walk away and don’t set a reminder, I WILL forget to put it in the dryer and it could mildew. Oh, and the washer/dryer is downstairs, so I’ll put it off because the step of walking down the stairs is just “another obstacle” in my mind. And then my grandmother lives downstairs, and I constantly get trapped in conversations with her and can’t figure out how to leave politely–so I avoid doing laundry when she’s in the living room to catch me, which means it’s even longer. Oh, and then if I remember a load that I did and forgot to put in the dryer, I get guilty and anxious and put it off because I’m avoiding it. The easiest way to do laundry would be to sit downstairs for two hours while the laundry rotates–but I don’t have the time to do that for every load, I’d be down there all day. And that’s not even taking into account things like delicates, which have to be sorted out and hung up to dry–I sort it out, but my brothers and dad don’t, so if I get a load to wash from them I have to separate it out myself.

Sorry for rambling, it’s just…it’s not easy. I’m trying, especially since I WANT to live on my own–I’m 2-freaking-2 and still not capable of living on my own. But cleaning can be a really big hurdle for people, even if it’s just something as simple as considering “walking downstairs” a step that you have to accomplish.

….feck. That’s even more reason for me to get screened for anxiety and/or ADHD, because everything you said is how I also act towards laundry and… well, every chore. :/

::edit:: For the record, I’ve been wondering for years now if I have ADHD (and I *know* I have anxiety, I just can’t afford treatment, yaaay), but the past year has really made everything I feel/do (or don’t do) even worse… ugh.

I have anxiety, depression, and ADHD. I use coping mechanisms I learned in years of therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), or how to retrain your brain. I also take medication for all of the above.

One thing I have discovered about the “Ick, tasks take FOREVER” mindset, is that I have no concept of time. So I actually timed myself doing certain tasks. I now know that it takes me 5-7 minutes to unload/reload, and restart the dish machine.

Another trick you could maybe try: if you have a life partner/room mate/good friend/nearby loved one, you can negotiate a chore trade-off. For example, I LOATHE folding clothes, but I don’t mind sweeping the floor. Also, going to SOMEONE ELSE’s place to do a chore there is much less stressful than in your own home (for some people: this doesn’t work for everyone). Just need to have good communication to reach a good compromise.

Echoing what Lurker said. The general thing is called “executive dysfunction”, and it’s a common symptom of all sorts of mental disorders, from depression to anxiety to ADHD to autism. The reasons why things aren’t getting done vary, from “I don’t deserve to feel good” to “wow trying to do this feels like trying to climb a mountain” to “if I don’t do this Exactly Right it’s as bad as if I didn’t do it so I’ll just not do it” to “I just…. keep getting distracted”.

The upshot is that, for some people, seemingly simple tasks are exactly and precisely this difficult. So, hi, Kale is distressingly relatable.

It’s true that I could easily pick up a few things. But everything under those things has sat there long enough that they’ve built up dust, which I’m allergic to.

There’s also ostensibly important papers there that I should not lose, but I’m not sure where to put them. I don’t know what I really should be doing with them next. I mean, if it’s a bill, I’ve paid it. But apart from that, a lot of the papers are things I would like to have organized, and I don’t have anywhere to put it. I could get a filing cabinet, but I don’t have anywhere to put it. There’s too much crap everywhere. At least, as things is, I know where they are now.

I could at least pick up the dirty dishes and put them in the sink. But there’s a coffee cup that’s covering a stain on the table and I don’t know how to clean up the stain. I can’t remember which it is, so I just need to leave all of them there.

It’s all a series of completely trivial obstacles. Take one step out of the insanity, and it’s all easy to handle. But that first step’s a big one. It’s kind of like some of the people I tutored in math, back in the day. This set of people all understood everything they needed to do to get the math done.

If I just asked them, “What do you think the next step is?” and followed that with, “Ok, try that.” they could solve basically any math problem in the scope of their class’ current and prior states. If I was there often enough, they could manage to do that a bit even without my prompting. By the time they had an exam, they’d be good.

But without that prompting, they couldn’t get through even the first step of the next problem.

Other people are like this with taxes, or even non-math stuff such as cooking, solving puzzles, shopping, navigating through places in their immediate vicinity, and all kinds of different things.

For a lot of people with physical limitations, the term ‘differently abled’ is offensive. To quote one person, “I lost my leg in an accident, so I can’t walk. That didn’t suddenly make me able to fly or shoot heat beams from my eyes.” But for a lot of people with mental limitations, it’s apt. (There exists people with physical limitations for which it’s also apt. Some of them are even people who take offense at it, because they don’t even recognize the stuff that they’re better at due to their disability. It’s also not always a causal thing. Sometimes, it’s just something that the person could do better than nearly anyone else that’s not impaired by their impairment.)

Noone mentioned overload yet. That’s when you have so many things you should be doing you can’t choose which to do first and don’t do anything. Or, possibly, you start doing one thing, then decides to do another thing instead … and final effect is same.

such good replies here 🙂
I’ve developed a lot of good coping skills to keep on top of these things, but still, the most reliable indicator that depression’s waking up is when the thought of showering or brushing my teeth makes me desperately want to curl up and cry. And at that point, trying to push through will only make things worse – the fastest way to put myself back together is to acknowledge something’s wrong, clear my schedule, and fall apart as much as I need to to get to the bottom of those feelings.

I’ve gotten really good at cleaning, but it took a *lot* of work and creativity, and I don’t think I could both clean and hold down a job (if I could hold a job at all at this point – my body is kinda fucked). I have routines, and I stick to them, but if Life Happens and I can’t do the routine for just one week, it’s noticeably harder to get back into it the next week. The longer I go without, the harder it is to get back on that horse.

And, like, I’ve gotten some routines down so well I could almost do them in my sleep – but they still feel kinda fragile. When everything follows the normal pattern, I can offload most of the effort to autopilot and habit, but if something is Different or I have to make a decision that isn’t in my mental flowchart (like, if there’s too much laundry, what do I leave out? if someone’s abandoned clothes in all the washers, do I wait for them to come back, or take their stuff out myself and risk pissing them off?) that’s a whole load more effort and I need a separate set of coping skills to navigate that.

And once in a while, my brain just sorta… misplaces a few of those skills for the day, and attempting to use them will basically segfault my brain and it’ll either freeze up or fall back to a shitty coping mechanism that causes its own problems. :/

I am *really* not looking forward to dragging myself back to the gym once I think it’s safe to go there again 🙂

Flyboy, I am really proud of you and impressed by your willingness to learn about people that you just don’t understand. Your thoughtful question sparked a whole series of insights that we can all benefit from. Thank you for taking the time to ask this question. 🙂

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