New here. Feeling terrible about my years of mess

Hi there. I’ve struggled with my mental health for the last 5 years or so. Probably longer, but I was unaware. Had a stay in the hospital in 2014 due to suicidality. I’m 30 years old now. I don’t know if it’s because of my condition (bipolar II), but I’ve just never been able to learn how to take care of myself. Some of my laundry can pile up for up to a year, dishes go unwashed, everything’s so cluttered. I don’t know how to fix my hair properly, I rarely use body lotion. I’ve never had an evening routine and almost always go to bed without washing up.

Every time I try to get started on something around the house, I just get so overwhelmed by the clutter and upset that I’m so bad at cleaning that I give up, then just retreat to my bed. Then I spend hours and hours online reading random articles and watching videos. A lot of the things I look up online are about mental health but I can’t get myself to apply anything that I learn about recovery and self care. I try to stay off social media because it makes me feel bad about myself, but sometimes I give in. I feel like I just get so addicted to the internet even though it doesn’t really get me anywhere.

I somehow finished my masters degree last year (ironically, in counseling and I used to work as a suicide prevention peer educator), but ended up getting a remote job with old contacts that screwed me over and committed wage theft (never paid me, then stopped all contact). Since then I’ve been able to try to entrepreneur route with some of the event skills I have, but I’m having yet another bad depressive episode and can’t get myself to do anything. There are prospective clients that want to work with me, but I can’t get myself to follow up and am thus self-sabotaging myself. There’s also some conversations I need to have with some people I had brought onto my team as partners, but it feels like we’re not on the same page and I’m too anxious to address it. It’s made me really stuck after I had built so much momentum. My husband ends up having to help me at gigs. So he is working full time and helping me. And doing a lot of the household chores. I just feel so terrible about myself.

In my earlier 20s, I volunteered a lot and did so much for other people. People thought I was so inspiring. But I realize now that I would burn myself out doing things for others in hopes of being liked, then I would go home and neglect everything about myself.

My family and friends try to reach out to me, but I just keep ignoring their phone calls and texts because I don’t know what to say and I want to isolate myself. I don’t know if I will ever get better. There are so many bad habits I have to get rid of and I just don’t know where to begin. I keep finding old journals from the last few years and my problems are always the same as if I had just written them yesterday. The last month or so I’ve mostly just been in bed scrolling mindlessly through the internet or binge-watching things on Netflix. I feel like I’m wasting my life away.

My therapist moved away and now offers video counseling, but it’s out of pocket and not really affordable right now. My mom offered to pay ( I finally called her back today after weeks of ignoring her calls), but I just feel so ashamed that I have to keep asking them for help with money.

I’m sorry if this is all over the place. I’m just in such a bad place and I don’t know what to do.

Do a little at a time. I had the same problem. If you think about everything it will become overwhelming.
I start at something small. I reset. When the problem was the dishes. I kept two sets for me and a friend. 1 cup, 1 plate, fork, etc. I threw away all the other dishes. Them when I ate, I forced myself to wash them immediately. What I did was when I would eat I’d turn off the TV and just sat there eating and that helped me when I got up to wash the dishes.

When I do the cleaning of my apartment I cut it off into sections. The first thing I do is get rid of all the garbage. Then I pick a room to clean.
So now I chose the living room. Why? If I have some company that is the first room they see. I would grab a garbage bag & dump everything in it while I dusted. So the first thing I picked was the coffee table. Everything in the bag & dusted. When I was done dusting. What was trash was I left in it. What I took out was stuff I actually used. Books I read, pens, pencils, etc. This is how I clean.
As for laundry, I use those shopping carts you wheel around & use. I separate my laundry into darks & lights. I do lights first. Go do them then I’d do the dark. (The reason was that my undies were light colored). It is easier to push a cart full of clothes than to carry a basket or bag. Afterward, I’d vacuum.
I swept the floors first then I’d vacuum. (Reason was instead of using the dustpan I’d sweep everything onto the carpet when I first started then vacuum it up.) Now I’m not lazy anymore. I vacuum first then I sweep & mop the floors (I use a dustpan now.)

This is how I deal with cleaning. I piecemeal it. Sometimes it takes me a whole week just to clean my apartment. (I vacuum & take out the trash every other day though.) Take your time. The reason being is it will just get dirty again. My attitude is as long as I do one room a day I am good.

Today my apartment is very clean. I never let my apartment go no more than 2 days. (It might be harder to do this though if you have a 9 to 5 sort of job. I am a freelancer that does odd jobs so I got a lot of time on my plate.)

Thank you so much for sharing. How did you find the motivation when you had the same problem?

I don’t know how to get myself off the computer/phone either. It’s so much easier to just sit/lie here numbing myself than to take action. I don’t know how to get the motivation. Sometimes I’ll get up, stare at the mess, then just give up and lay back down and go back to the internet. I’m so scared I’m never going be able to learn how to take care of myself and my home because of it. I’m embarrassed that I’m this way at this age. I feel like I have no excuse, but I’ve lived this way for so long and I don’t know how to change.

Why does doing simple day-to-day maintenance come so much more naturally to some people? I just want to be normal. Times like these make me feel like such a weak and incapable person.

I wish I could find the words to type to explain exactly how I’m feeling and what goes on in my head. It’s all just so painful and debilitating. It feels like my brain isn’t functioning properly. This is such a sad existence. It’s so much more than the messy living space that is making me feel this way. It’s the complexities of the problems I’ve created in my life that I’ve let build up.