Depression and Personal Hygiene

Posted by nscappa @nscappa, Jul 25, 2022

Hello,

My name is Nancy and I have had had clinical depression for many years but it has really never been a problem. I have worked for 45 years but since three big events in my life almost 7 years ago (I left my job because my sister had a rare form of cancer, and I just couldn't concentrate any more. During this time my precious cat Sabrina was dying from kidney disease so she would sit on my lap while getting her fluids just like in a hospital (very difficult). On September 20th my sister passed away from the cancer. I left my job in August, Sabrina died a short time before my sister Judy passed in September. Since that time my depression has worsened and I am having difficult completing what should be very common things, like washing my dishes, doing my washes, but the most difficult one is taking a shower. You would think I were going to have a root canal. Anyone else having this much difficulty??? On top of that, my car died last summer, and I feel like I have lost my independence because we are a bit isolated. I'm also on a very strict budget which really doesn't help at all. Thanks for any responses. : )

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Depression & Anxiety Support Group.

@nscappa As one who suffers from depression and medication resistant can relate. Any additional stressors like limited finances, isolation and loss contributes to depressive state to the point of not getting out of bed, low to no energy, etc. You’ve gone through a series of losses and probably going through grief as well as depression. Maybe today you can’t wash dishes but tomorrow you can wash a dish or take a shower. It’s a very slow process. Please remember to be kind to yourself.

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Hi @nscappa, although not a lot of people talk about it, this is actually somewhat common in people with severe depression. The fact that you had several triggers that happened all at once, it's no wonder it had an effect on your daily life and hygiene. I am sorry you are going through all of this. You should read this article about mental illness and personal hygiene.
Yes, Mental Illness Can Impact Your Hygiene. Here’s What You Can Do About It: https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/mental-illness-can-impact-hygiene

Have you discussed this with your doctor? Are you currently taking anything for your depression?

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Hi Amanda,

Thank you for your response. I have been on antidepressants for quite while through my life. My depression wasn't really a problem for many, many years. Some people tell me that this sometimes happens when you are elderly. I was always a fanatic with my personal hygiene. After I left my job for the reasons I stated in my post things just have worsened and I am isolating myself and I know it. Lately I am doing a bit more and I am not quite as bad. Since I CKD-3 I am cooking more using more veggies, etc. This is actually good for me because it gets me up and lets me enjoy cooking healthy food for myself. The hygiene issue has been going on for maybe a couple of years. I do shower, but it takes me but it such an effort. Once I am in the tub I feel good but getting me there is quite a job. I have talked with my nurse practitioner (she orders my meds for me) and she was wary about my isolating myself but it's up to me to make changes which, when you are depressed, you need the energy or desire to change things. Right now I am taking Lamictal, Lexapro and Klonopin (for sleep). I can laugh but I feel very little happiness inside. I would love to wake up and feel happy but that doesn't happen. I always "flat" as far as emotions go. Some of this is genetic (my mother was depressed for good reasons, mostly my father), my sister had depression and she took meds, and my father was depressed. Oh Lord, I can't stop typing. I'll stop now because you know my life story by now. Again, thank you so much for your caring.

Nancy : )

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@marjou

@nscappa As one who suffers from depression and medication resistant can relate. Any additional stressors like limited finances, isolation and loss contributes to depressive state to the point of not getting out of bed, low to no energy, etc. You’ve gone through a series of losses and probably going through grief as well as depression. Maybe today you can’t wash dishes but tomorrow you can wash a dish or take a shower. It’s a very slow process. Please remember to be kind to yourself.

Jump to this post

Thanks so much for your comments. You are very compassionate, and I really appreciate that. When I do attack the dishes I am so happy that everything looks good again. I just have to push so much some days. I am overdue for a shower (I sponge bathe in between so I never offend anyone, never). Today is the day! I can't believe I am even talking about this, but this is a safe place where other people have some of the same issues, so I have no problem talking about it. I will persevere! : )

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@nscappa

Hi Amanda,

Thank you for your response. I have been on antidepressants for quite while through my life. My depression wasn't really a problem for many, many years. Some people tell me that this sometimes happens when you are elderly. I was always a fanatic with my personal hygiene. After I left my job for the reasons I stated in my post things just have worsened and I am isolating myself and I know it. Lately I am doing a bit more and I am not quite as bad. Since I CKD-3 I am cooking more using more veggies, etc. This is actually good for me because it gets me up and lets me enjoy cooking healthy food for myself. The hygiene issue has been going on for maybe a couple of years. I do shower, but it takes me but it such an effort. Once I am in the tub I feel good but getting me there is quite a job. I have talked with my nurse practitioner (she orders my meds for me) and she was wary about my isolating myself but it's up to me to make changes which, when you are depressed, you need the energy or desire to change things. Right now I am taking Lamictal, Lexapro and Klonopin (for sleep). I can laugh but I feel very little happiness inside. I would love to wake up and feel happy but that doesn't happen. I always "flat" as far as emotions go. Some of this is genetic (my mother was depressed for good reasons, mostly my father), my sister had depression and she took meds, and my father was depressed. Oh Lord, I can't stop typing. I'll stop now because you know my life story by now. Again, thank you so much for your caring.

Nancy : )

Jump to this post

Oh Nancy, You don't ever have to apologize for sharing your experiences with us! That's what Connect is for.
I am glad to hear you are cooking more. That is wonderful. I got obsessed with cooking during quarantine. My husband jokingly complained that we had so many bottles and spice jars that we were never going to use up because I would buy them for just one dish. He was telling our friend about it and jokingly said, "She buys things like rare spitting camel salt….When are we EVER going to need rare spitting camel salt again?" hahaha
So I added a card to my cooking recipes and labeled it rare spitting camel salt stew. He thought that was a riot. 🙂

With the three medications you are on and still having severe symptoms, has your nurse suggested a possible switch to see if that helps?

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@nscappa

Thanks so much for your comments. You are very compassionate, and I really appreciate that. When I do attack the dishes I am so happy that everything looks good again. I just have to push so much some days. I am overdue for a shower (I sponge bathe in between so I never offend anyone, never). Today is the day! I can't believe I am even talking about this, but this is a safe place where other people have some of the same issues, so I have no problem talking about it. I will persevere! : )

Jump to this post

@nscappa There are times we just have to push through that barrier we have set up, don't we? It is real easy to fall into a habit of not caring, whether about the dishes in the sink or dust bunnies or that protective layer of dust on the furniture or the plants outside. And when we do get the mental energy to do something, we feel good about ourselves afterwards.

Personal hygiene and mental health seem to go hand-in-hand. We learn to care enough about ourselves to be cleansed in body and mind. It's not easy! I know, been there, done that! For me, it is part of the healing, to know I am worth taking care of myself in all aspects. Does that feel right to you? We understand the basis for our depression, usually, and have to learn to be gentle on ourselves to raise back up to our useful self.
Ginger

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@nscappa

Thanks so much for your comments. You are very compassionate, and I really appreciate that. When I do attack the dishes I am so happy that everything looks good again. I just have to push so much some days. I am overdue for a shower (I sponge bathe in between so I never offend anyone, never). Today is the day! I can't believe I am even talking about this, but this is a safe place where other people have some of the same issues, so I have no problem talking about it. I will persevere! : )

Jump to this post

@nscappa Being of help to others and relating to others sometimes helps me get through the day. Thanks for sharing which helps me not feel so alone.

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You are so very welcome. Just got out of the shower!! : ) Yea for me!!!

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@gingerw

@nscappa There are times we just have to push through that barrier we have set up, don't we? It is real easy to fall into a habit of not caring, whether about the dishes in the sink or dust bunnies or that protective layer of dust on the furniture or the plants outside. And when we do get the mental energy to do something, we feel good about ourselves afterwards.

Personal hygiene and mental health seem to go hand-in-hand. We learn to care enough about ourselves to be cleansed in body and mind. It's not easy! I know, been there, done that! For me, it is part of the healing, to know I am worth taking care of myself in all aspects. Does that feel right to you? We understand the basis for our depression, usually, and have to learn to be gentle on ourselves to raise back up to our useful self.
Ginger

Jump to this post

Hi Ginger,
You have wonderful way with words and you are so correct. It does take a lot of pushing but, guess what? I just got out of a wonderful bath/shower and I feel terrific! I gave myself that big push and it worked. Everything you mentioned is spot on and I really enjoyed your reply. Thank you once again and take care and stay safe.
Nancy : )

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@amandaa

Oh Nancy, You don't ever have to apologize for sharing your experiences with us! That's what Connect is for.
I am glad to hear you are cooking more. That is wonderful. I got obsessed with cooking during quarantine. My husband jokingly complained that we had so many bottles and spice jars that we were never going to use up because I would buy them for just one dish. He was telling our friend about it and jokingly said, "She buys things like rare spitting camel salt….When are we EVER going to need rare spitting camel salt again?" hahaha
So I added a card to my cooking recipes and labeled it rare spitting camel salt stew. He thought that was a riot. 🙂

With the three medications you are on and still having severe symptoms, has your nurse suggested a possible switch to see if that helps?

Jump to this post

Hi Amanda,
I'm LOL re your spitting camel salt. That is too funny and thanks for sharing. As far as changing my meds, that is a tricky one for me because I have a very low tolerance for antis in the first place. I know that my personality has something to do with my depression. I have always been an introvert (nothing wrong there) and I love my peace and quiet but in this case I love it a bit too much. Some days I feel a bit happier, and I get concerned and wonder why? (I know, not too funny but it's true.) BTW, where did you get the emoji?? Here?? Well, I'm going to end here and again, thanks for your concern and sense of humor. Thankfully I still have mine. Stay well.

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