I’m going to cut straight to it. For several months now, I’ve gotten such bad anxiety that cleaning has completely stopped. I live among filth and trash everywhere and as much as I’ve tried every night to talk myself into cleaning, I just bail. I found roaches the other night, lots of them and I told my gf whom lives out of state. She’s tried to get me help, but I’ve declined it. I told her I need to do it myself, how could I show anyone what I’ve become. Since that day, my gf stopped talking to me. It’s been a week, and I can’t blame her. It stinks in here, bugs crawling everywhere and as much as I want to escape this dump of a room, I can’t. I need this to change, I can’t keep going on like this. I don’t want to die, but this feels like death. Someone please help me, I’m so scared.
Hi Lina, thank you for sharing. I am sorry that everything is so scary right now. Do you have other friends in your life that you might be able to reach out to?
One thing that has helped me is touching tasks at least 4 times a week for 15 minutes. What I mean by that, is when you have a task that seems overwhelming, set a timer for 15 minutes and just start working on it. Once that 15 minutes is over, you can stop if you’d like or if you feel good, you can keep going!!
Often times, the most difficult part of any task is just starting. Once you get started, you will feel SO much better (I speak from experience ).
I am no professional, but I think you are doing what my therapist would call “experiential avoidance”. Basically, you are avoiding doing this task because when you start, you will have a high spike of anxiety until you are finished. So, instead, you have been settling for a low grade level of anxiety for a longer period of time. Again, this is not a diagnosis and I am NOT a professional anything, but this is something that I was doing with homework.
The problem is, now you are experiencing a high spike of anxiety all the time because you haven’t dealt with this yet.
You are so much stronger than you realize and I would encourage you to speak with a therapist or counselor in your area. They may be able to help you manage your anxiety in more helpful ways. I know it can be scary, but it is SO worth it!
And my last thought that I will leave with you is to reflect on why you might be responding to your anxiety this way. What are you afraid of? What is the worst case scenario here? What might be standing in your way from reaching out to loved ones for support? And I know you can do that last one because you just reached out to a whole group of strangers and that is a SUPER brave thing to do. So, I know that you have what it takes to deal with this because you have shown strength by reaching out here.
Hope this helps and never forget that your life matters. You are loved more than you know.
You got this. I believe in you.
Thank you for your quick and diligent response. I’ve tried the timer thing and it worked in the past, but that was before it got really bad. I also don’t have any friends near me. My online friends aren’t the type to talk with about this stuff. My only close friend is my gf of 3 years. I’m not the type to reach out for help, I’m very stubborn. I guess this is me trying.
I’ll look into experiential avoidance, thank you for that. It really helps me better understand how I’m managing to remain this way. You’re right that I’m feeling a high spike all the time because it’s caught up to me.
My biggest fear right now is the thought of encountering even more pests as I rummage through everything. I felt like I almost had a heart attack my first attempt cleaning when I found them. It almost feels like if I don’t get it all cleaned in one go, the battle will become harder when I disturb them. It sickens me to even think about it. I guess that would be the worst case.
Of course! It is my pleasure. And I am preaching to myself here too because I am using the forum to procrastinate on homework that I am several weeks behind in. I am right there with you, my friend.
Maybe try starting with the worst stuff first. Is there open food around? Pick that up first. Is there something else that might attract creatures? Start there. I know it is scary, but you will get the worst, most anxiety-inducing parts out of the way, and do the rest when you are feeling a bit more up to it, in those 15 minute increments I mentioned.
Ok I’ll start there. It’s been a week exactly since my last attempt. I hope I can find the courage tonight. I’m laying in bed trying to muster up the courage.
Awesome!! And I don’t know where you are on the world, but on the east coast in the US, it is mad late. So, there is no shame in going to sleep and starting in the morning. Open the curtains, and let the sunshine in. It will make you feel better. Put on the song “Good as Hell” by Lizzo and clean your place up!!
Please keep me updated and let me know if you need more encouragement. I will be sure to check here more often to see if you reply.
You got this!!!
Yeah I’m on the east coast. It might sound silly but I’m more fearful of my room during the day because then I’ll see the mess in its fullest, and that’s a terrifying thought. I’ve even changed my sleeping schedule to combat being up during the day.
I’m going to listen to that song on blast! I’ll keep you updated. Also get that homework done!
I will get my homework done if you get your room clean. We start now!!
It’s a deal. Let’s do it
I got 3 trash cans from outside and bagged them up. My heart is racing. I’m shaking and finding it hard to move.
That’s amazing!!! Throw them out and go to bed. I take melatonin when my mind is racing and I can’t sleep. Maybe ask your doctor if that could help.
I just finished a graphic novel that I needed to read for class, so we are both making progress!!!
I am so proud of you!!!
I’m going to sleep now and I hope you’ll do the same. I’ll check back in when I wake up.
You’re doing so well!! We will both start again later today!!
Take some deep breaths. You got this!!
Thank you! I’m off to bed too. Sleep tight
How have you been doing lately? I’ve been thinking about you
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