I’ve spent the day doing a spring clean – the bookcases, washing windows, mopping floors, scrubbing the bath tiles, everything. It’s been sweaty, hard work and really invigorating. It’s something that needed doing as apart from a quick wipe round and my son hoovering once a week I’ve not been doing it.
In the book Counselling for Toads, a mental health take on depression, Toad’s friends first spot the signs of his depression when they visit and see the normally proud animal living in squalor. Now I wouldn’t go that far in describing my own house but it’s fair to say that people who are struggling with mental health issues don’t pay much attention to the every day things such as cleaning the house. When you’re in the grip of the blackness you tend not to care that the sink is full and there are dust on the shelves. I know I don’t.
Cleaning today is my way of knowing I’m coming out of my own fog. It’s been five months of stress starting with doubling up on courses alongside work and ending with two deaths in the family in one month and sent me back in some of the bad habits I had when in the grip of full depression. It’s these five months that have actually led me to see that I’ll never be fully ‘cured’ and will always have to live with this but also led me to see that I have about 90% good days to the 10% bad something that was once the other way around. Having a good scrub about the house was a good way of clearing the cobwebs and bad vibes and being able to feel like I’m alive again.
If you’re worried you’re friend may be depressed try looking at their behaviours and see if you can spot any changes. An obvious one is drinking more but have they changed their cleaning habits or maybe personal hygiene? Have they stopped going out or going out more. Quite often people don;t always realise themselves just how much their habits can define them. For me, it’s not cleaning and not getting out of bed. I’m a functioning depressive so I’ll get up and go to work, I’ll keep appointments with friends and then as soon as it’s done I’ll rush back to the safety of my bed. I’ll watch TV or read or even study from there but I barely see the rest of the house. These are my give-aways
But today has been a good day. I ache everywhere from using muscles that haven’t been stretched in months. I feel like I’ve had a work out. I’ve a shiny clean house and I’ve even this weekend knitted one scarf and started on another – from the lounge and not the bedroom. I’m up and facing the world and I feel like I can finally start 2014