Home Forums Challenges Living with Clutterers clutter and depression remix

This topic contains 21 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  Ella 8 years, 1 month ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #159165

    bandicoot
    Member

    we’ve discussed this topic before.
    which causes which? which comes first? the clutter or the depression?

    i just wanted to add that i have recently seen this symbiosis in action.
    i dropped in on a gf whose home i don’t normally visit. (she comes here or we catch up at the markets. we like to entertain and some of our friends don’t. it’s all cool).
    she suffers from depression.
    she’s smart, she works, she has friends….but she lives alone and there isn’t much real joy or adventure in her life (in my opinion).

    her small two bedroom apartment was absolutely bulging at the seams with clutter.
    it was like a hoarder’s episode (seriously, it was pretty bad) and it took every ounce of sensitivity in me (i wasn’t born with much) to struggle past it and use her bathroom, and not blurt out anything, or look appalled.
    after that, we went out and spent the day buying her a new wardrobe (she was in dire need of decent clothes that fit and flattered and made her feel good, and i organised this BEFORE i saw the apartment).

    the next day, i invited her up home for a day of coffee and cake and looking at the rain, and so she could model all her new outfits for us. lots of layering pieces, so we had a boatload of fun styling up different looks for her.

    and i gently eased into the topic of decluttering.
    i am sure i was as subtle as a battering ram BUT the end result is that she was willing and keen to talk about it.
    almost RELIEVED to talk about it.
    i told her i was away until the second week of may, but that i’d be very happy to help her after that.
    she had a look around at my own decluttering efforts here, and agreed that the space and light and clean was very peaceful and kind.
    i told her she deserved the same.
    i got her talking about what was in the boxes and we discussed decluttering for a couple of hours.
    i asked her to simply consider the stuff for now, and to ask herself a few questions:
    is this thing serving me right now?
    is this thing something i love or use right now?
    would i replace this thing if the house burned down tomorrow?

    she actually left here looking more energised and happy.
    and i gave her some homework: she has to go through her wardrobe and get rid of 13 old worn raggedy items….so she can hang up her 13 beautiful new items.

    and come mid-may, i’ll be on her doorstep to help declutter, and i am really excited about it.
    i am dying to see how fast we can declutter her place, and how fast it will make a real difference to her.
    i know without shadow of a doubt that the depression and the clutter are feeding one another…..i walked in there and felt the sadness.

  • #182019

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    You are a good friend. New clothes can be such a boost and I can imagine how uplifting it would have been to model the clothes and get styling suggestions. Some of us struggle with that.

    I’m glad your friend was open-minded about decluttering, and it’s good you gave her a few things to think about. As we know, so much of decluttering is mental. Keep us posted on her progress.

  • #182022

    clutter and depression remix

    Good work.

  • #182024

    Ella
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    I could be the poster child for the awful cycle of depression and clutter. I’m in recovery from a major depression that hit me some four years ago, and the collateral damage has been severe and life-changing (not in a good way). I might write about this on a separate thread, after a bit more thought.

    I commend you for your immense kindness in helping your friend. I know, however, that I could not have accepted help from a friend; I have needed to do this myself, with the support of a couple of truly exceptional therapists along the way.

    I’d recommend that you keep reading and rereading Brooks Palmer before and during the process of helping your friend. His compassionate words have helped me so much. Brooks, my therapist, this amazing forum… I couldn’t do it without all of you.

  • #182025

    bandicoot
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    brooks rocks.
    reading his book was wonderful preparation for what i saw on the weekend.
    i think i actually channelled one of his quotes, when i told her: i won’t be coming to judge you…i will simply be coming to help you.
    i wonder what brooks would say about her art collection….she has a HUGE and amazing collection of artworks, all lovingly framed and wrapped in blankets and stacked into a bedroom (they take up the entire bedroom) and probably worth a good deal of money….and none of them get to see the light of day, even though she loves them madly. i am talking hundreds of paintings here. buying them is like a compulsion with her.
    if i can help her get the other room clear (kitchen/dining/living) she will have some wall space where she can hang a few up at a time and enjoy them daily.

    i am so happy that you are letting some light in, ella.
    it must feel simply wonderful.
    my friend is seeing a few people, but nothing seems to be helping very much.
    i feel it has been going on for many years, in a quiet, awful way. i knew she wasn’t happy, but i didn’t know about the hoarding.
    i think she needs some practical help, including someone to physically tote the stuff out to a car and drive it away to be donated.
    i’ll keep you posted.
    i am just sorry it has to wait for six weeks! i want to start now! she sounds pretty keen too!

  • #182028

    clutter and depression remix

    Adrenal gland check? I now take isocort (over the counter) and it’s made such a big difference in energy for me. Lack of corisol can lead to depression. Just saying.

  • #182034

    bandicoot
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    i’ll mention it to her and thanks for the idea, ncth.

  • #182036

    pkilmain
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    My sister has had both problems for much of her adult life. I really can’t say which came first. When I spent a couple of weeks with her about 18 months ago, I helped her partially declutter her tiny apartment. A lot of it consisted of just putting like with like, donating the extras (and there were a lot!) and then helping her arrange her furniture better (it was a furnished place, and we got the landlord to take out a few extra things). I don’t know how much more she did after I left, as a few months later she had a new boyfriend, and by the time I saw her again, they had moved in together in another place. I’m seeing her next month and they have moved from the last place (thank goodness, it had many problems, mostly landlord related). I’m anxious to see if being happier (as she seems to be) has any effect on her hoarding tendencies.

  • #182038

    Claycat
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    Bandicoot, I agree with JuliaJayne. What a good friend you are! You have so much compassion for others.

  • #182040

    vjb
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    Such a lovely idea, Bandicoot. I’ve had major depression, and it definitely fed off/fed into clutter. Now both are on the back foot! I hope the same happens for your friend.

  • #182047

    bandicoot
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    hearing about all your collective experience is very helpful, and i thank you for your candidness.
    i am more convinced than ever, that physically cleaning out the clutter is the most effective place at which to break the cycle.
    of course there will be plenty of inner work too, but surely with some space and light and air, we can hear ourselves think a lot more clearly.

  • #182066

    Netleigh
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    bandicoot, I love that your friend is brave enough to accept your help and at a stage of recovery that she can see that decluttering could help. It’s such an expression of your love and care for her.
    I’m an occasional sufferer from clinical depressive episodes, 3 in 30 years, and I’m learning recovery techniques with each one! Clutter mounts up because you are too tired and overwhelmed and it’s so hard to start when you feel you don’t know where to start.
    Just beware if she gets too enthusiastic and does too much, followed by a crash and burn.

  • #182069

    ninakk
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    Wonderful, simply wonderful. I know that some might refuse the help because of feeling ashamed or wanting to go through the experience alone, but if she lives alone and doesn’t invite people over, this is probably the right way for her. The best part for you as a friend is that you don’t live with her, but can stay much more objective on all levels and thereby most likely help her more than you could if you’d be roomies. Anyway, I wish you good luck and hope to hear more later this year. Do you think she’d like to read some book on her own too? I’m definitely going to read this Brooks guy now.

  • #182083

    ojorojo
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    I’ve had friends help me in the way you wish to do for your friend and it does help tremendously. Just another pair of eyes and mindset helped me when looking at my space.
    Another thing to ponder now that you are aware of the problem: Attention Deficit Disorder or whatever it’s acronym is now.
    Even a mild version trips you up in that you’re always flitting from one thing to another and getting distracted easily.

  • #182091

    lottielot
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    that’s great that your friend will accept your help, what a nice friend she has in you bandicoot 🙂

  • #182102

    SunshineR
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    yes, what a great friend you are, bandicoot. I think that was so nice of you to invite her over. Having a place to go to is important, and feeling safe and peaceful is so calming. 🙂

  • #182113

    lazycow
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    Bandicoot, brilliant work! All the best with it. I wish I could do something like that for people, I don’t even want to be paid for it: just the satisfaction of helping someone clear their clutter for clarity would be worth it.

  • #182118

    ninakk
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    Ugh, I looked into a Kindle version of the Brooks Palmer book and found out that I’d have to buy it from dot com, not dot co dot uk. Anyway, the ugh is referring to the price difference; how can it be that so many of the Kindle books at least in dollars seem to be more expensive than the paperback book? Sometimes more expensive than the hardback even!

  • #182119

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    I’m not surprised, Nina. They hooked people with lower cost ebooks in the beginning and are now raising prices as sales for paper versions are dropping.

  • #182120

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    Lazycow, helping other people declutter is so much fun. I have to help my mom declutter a few things. Sometimes she has a difficult time with it, but when it’s done, she shows all her friends. lol

  • #182128

    Ella
    Member

    clutter and depression remix

    ninakk ~ check out Brooks Palmer’s daily blog. I find it as good as, if not better than, the book.

    http://brooks-palmer.blogspot.com/

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.