Depression and Self Neglect.

Monday, 15 May 2017

mental health, self neglect, anxiety, depression, headcase, mindfulness, self care,

When you are depressed and feeling very low, one of the main side effects that people don't actually like to talk about is the self neglect and self abuse. The self abuse element is probably more widely discussed; someone suffering depression and anxiety turning to alcohol or drugs to either self medicate or try and find escapism is quite common knowledge however self neglect isn't always talked about.

Maybe because people feel a bit ashamed. After all it can equate to being pretty gross.

The thing is, when you are feeling hopelessly low the thought of looking after yourself or your appearance not only seems pointless it actually seems impossible. Every small life task such as washing hair or cleaning teeth fall by the wayside.

When I have been at a low ebb I haven't showered for days. yep, DAYS. I know it is gross, you don't have to tell me it is gross. I KNOW. But at the time I don't care. I have no self respect and no drive. My mind feels black and heavy and the idea of such an activity seems impossibly hard. I have sometimes gone so long between washing my hair that I actually cannot remember the last time I did wash it. I have neglected taking make up off at bedtime and even cleaning my teeth. Beauty routine? Are you fecking kidding me? If I can't be arsed to wash my armpits then I am not really bothered about cleansing, toning and moisturising.

The thing is the real me IS bothered about those things. In every day 'normal' life I either shower or bath every day. I love using different face washes and scrubs, exfoliating my skin and keeping my legs shaved. I love using hair conditioning treatments and making sure all of my make up is off and my skin is clean. I am also a bit obsessed with cleaning my teeth. So the fact that when I am low none of this matters to me is baffling really.

That low time robs you of anything you enjoy doing or feel necessary to do. It makes even the simplest of rotines seem impossible and anything that brings you enjoyment utterly joyless.

I have gone through stages in my life where I have looked so shit. Where I have had no interest in what to wear or putting on make up. Any love for fashion or make up or looking nice becomes a distant memory.

Part of your ongoing battle with depression - especially in the beginning - is to go against what it wants you to do. It isn't you that wants to not shower or not do your hair it is your illness. It isn't you that wants to sit indoors on a gloriously sunny day and watch mindless TV while everybody else is outside it is your illness.

You have to push yourself though. YOU are the only one who can ignore those thoughts, however loud they may be. Only YOU can do the exact opposite to what they are telling you to do.

Get Ready.
Make yourself look great.
Go out.
Make a lunch date.
Accept that invitation.
Go to the gym.

Don't think just do.

As soon as that alarm goes off in the morning jump straight out of bed and make it without a second thought, then jump in the shower. I find the moment I start to think too much or if I lay in bed for a while after waking up it causes trouble,

Don't think just do.

That positive and productive start to the day will make you feel great straight away and make you want to seize the day more. Any negative thoughts that try and creep in will be easier to quash.

I also find that when I am feeling particularly overwhelmed by what I have to get done or that I am finding it hard to get motivated in the mornings, writing a task list helps me out a lot. It sometimes literally is as simple as:

Get up and shower
Get dressed
Make Bed
Make breakfast

It seems crazy but it really works for me because it organises my thoughts. I feel I have a purpose to getting up and getting started AND I know exactly what I need to do first. Give it a go and see how you get on.

It is hard work but once you get into the mindset of organising your thoughts and thinking less but doing more, you will find you start to do it automatically. When you have days that those thoughts are really loud and negative you will STILL want to be productive and shut them out.

Each day is different so deal with each day as it comes.

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