View Full Version : I'm starting to think something is seriously wrong with me...


LittleD1981
10-10-06, 11:10 AM
Yeah, there's messes. Yeah, there's clutter and junk. Yeah, there's dirt. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But what do you do when it's so excessive you LITERALLY cannot let anyone in your house because of the utter embarrassment it would cause you? Not to mention ridicule and scorn, and the neverending questions of things along the line of, "Just DO it! It's NOT that difficult!" Yet, for some reason, somehow, it IS that difficult! I've read up on all sorts of procrastination theories, categories, and techniques to overcome it. I've read up on ADHD and Executive Functioning. Am I just lazy? :confused: Someone once told me no, as lazy would be that you DON'T want to do it. I, on the other had, WANT to do it (clean my house), I want to do it with a PASSION, but it's like I'm frozen, and I JUST CAN'T MOVE. Is there really such a thing as "Paralysis of the Will?"

I'm starting to think there's something seriously wrong with me. Deep down I'm a perfectionist, but you'd NEVER know it by the looks of my house. You'd think I could just buckle down and work on one small area at a time, day by day, until it's finally finished. But that is obviously too much to ask, as I moved 4 months ago, and I've yet to clean and unpack. It seems to just get worse and worse, too. When I was a kid, I was a NEAT FREAK!!! Now, I'm the slob I never thought I could ever be! I just don't know what to do. :( I'm ashamed of myself, disgusted with myself, and just plain disappointed.

~boots~
10-11-06, 01:05 AM
Yeah, there's messes. Yeah, there's clutter and junk. Yeah, there's dirt. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But what do you do when it's so excessive you LITERALLY cannot let anyone in your house because of the utter embarrassment it would cause you? Not to mention ridicule and scorn, and the neverending questions of things along the line of, "Just DO it! It's NOT that difficult!" Yet, for some reason, somehow, it IS that difficult! I've read up on all sorts of procrastination theories, categories, and techniques to overcome it. I've read up on ADHD and Executive Functioning. Am I just lazy? :confused: Someone once told me no, as lazy would be that you DON'T want to do it. I, on the other had, WANT to do it (clean my house), I want to do it with a PASSION, but it's like I'm frozen, and I JUST CAN'T MOVE. Is there really such a thing as "Paralysis of the Will?"

I'm starting to think there's something seriously wrong with me. Deep down I'm a perfectionist, but you'd NEVER know it by the looks of my house. You'd think I could just buckle down and work on one small area at a time, day by day, until it's finally finished. But that is obviously too much to ask, as I moved 4 months ago, and I've yet to clean and unpack. It seems to just get worse and worse, too. When I was a kid, I was a NEAT FREAK!!! Now, I'm the slob I never thought I could ever be! I just don't know what to do. :( I'm ashamed of myself, disgusted with myself, and just plain disappointed. hugs xx that's a start...I hate it that you feel so bad towards yourself..
start with one room...there are some great threads about this topic, I have read through them..there was a great suggestion about getting big boxes, and marking them RUBBISH STORAGE OP SHOP etc etc
then just chuck everything into the correct box, and get rid of the ones you dont want/need, and sort the others out later :faint:

ClearConfusion
10-11-06, 09:01 PM
Dana, I know what it's like. I'm like that too.

Yes, there is such a thing as paralysis of the will. Here's a link: http://add.about.com/cs/foradults/a/paralysis.htm

I haven't cleaned in months. I've done the dishes maybe once this month and washed one load of laundry.

My bf has gotten into a really good routine with doing the dishes now, before we were both bad at it, and needs to have them done his way so I'm not even venturing sharing them, told him I will be his backup if he doesn't want to/can't do them.

You could work on a small area every day, but there's so much more involved; you need to remember to do it, to be consistent, to have the energy to have a go at it when the idea passes through your head.

Also if you're a horder, or really want to check things through, that doesn't make it easier.

I wonder, could you perhaps start with a really small thing and try to do that consistently?

I'm starting with *being responsible for buying toilet paper* - ta da! . I asked my boyfriend what small thing in the household he wanted me to be responsible for as a start. It's not like I'm going to go from cooking every second day and occasional grocery shoping + any other household duties once in a bluemoon to a full sharing of duties. No one of us cleans, we both find that difficult to get started at, and have so little space and nowhere to put things anyway.

I had a thought when I saw how well bf was doing with the dishes to maybe try something like that in cleaning (or decluttering) myself, but I never got further than thinking.

So I'm starting with my toilet paper and then the thought is to add something else when I get a knack at that ( I still wait till there's no or almost no paper left before I buy new.); maybe do laundry regularly, etc.

Sometimes I'm frozen right from when I get up: "Do I eat breakfast or take a shower?, do I eat breakfast or take a shower? I don't know!" and I'm stuck.

FrazzleDazzle
10-11-06, 10:01 PM
I wonder if you had a friend come in and help you, one that you know is a good organizer. I was just like you when I was little, and my mom worked with me two summers during my childhood to get control over my room. It worked. She taught me how to organize and how to prioritize what to keep, toss, or donate. I couldn't do it alone, and what she taught me has stayed with me forever. I have a friend who is now like you, and I would love to go over there and help him, but he's never taken me up on it. Perhaps you two could tackle one room, learn some techniques, master it so you have something to feel good about, a success. Then you might have motivation to go to the next room.

Still, I know how oppressive your situation is, and I hope you find some ways that you can feel comfortable in your own home. This is very important!

~boots~
10-11-06, 10:13 PM
Dana, I'd come and help if I didn't live half way around the world :-)

LittleD1981
10-12-06, 04:49 AM
Awwww, thanks everyone! *HUGS* Even someone just BEING here (they don't have to clean or anything) in my house keeping me company will help keep me motivated and on task enough to get some things done. One friend was going to do that for me, but we're not really talking at the moment. I do have another friend who volunteered to come help me clean. She said she's bad at organizing, but very good at cleaning and loves to do it. I'm the opposite: I'm good at organizing, but I HATE cleaning and I need to clean before I can organize anything! ARGH! LOL The kitchen will be the hardest because I have to wipe the inside and outside of all the cupboards. Well, SCRUB, really. There are grubby handprints all over them from the person who lived here before me. Whenever I move into a place, I always have to wash EVERYTHING, and I do mean EVERYTHING, because I just hate the thought of some strange person's grub and dirt in my house...hehehe. I will be taking my friend up on her offer, though, but I have no idea when we'll be doing it. No time real soon, so for now, I just have to work on what I can do myself. My sleep is all out of whack (I slept from 11am Wednesday until 1am now Thursday), so I'm up for the night, and my tasks are to change the litterbox (I HATE how bad I let it get) and gather all the trash, as the trash needs to go out before this morning. Wish me luck! I will, however, procrastinate as long as possible...lol. There's this commercial (I think it's for auto insurance or something) that's begins with a guy running out of the house with his trash in his hand and the garbage truck is driving away, as he JUST missed it. One friend of mine laughs everytime she sees it, and says, "There's you!" Hahaha! Too true, too! Thanks again, everyone!

Foghat
10-12-06, 07:36 PM
My wife and I are exactly as you describe. We too are embarassed to have anyone over and both of us are "paralyzed" when it comes to cleaning/organizing. Not only is it getting started... It's following through. In one of my previous posts I advocated the use of Audio books to entertain while cleaning. It works Great... If you can get started in the first place. I cleaned my living room the one time I did get started... and I did a good job but I have yet to start the cd again.

The same thing now goes for putting the cd in the player... as was originally just the cleaning. It's like there's some force field on my brain... or a puppeteer controlling me... Pulling my attention to entertainment/brain stimulation. Bahh:mad:

Anywhoo... I understand your anxiety.

meadd823
10-13-06, 12:19 AM
I'm starting to think there's something seriously wrong with me. Deep down I'm a perfectionist, but you'd NEVER know it by the looks of my house. You'd think I could just buckle down and work on one small area at a time, day by day, until it's finally finished. But that is obviously too much to ask, as I moved 4 months ago, and I've yet to clean and unpack. It seems to just get worse and worse, too. When I was a kid, I was a NEAT FREAK!!! Now, I'm the slob I never thought I could ever be! I just don't know what to do. I'm ashamed of myself, disgusted with myself, and just plain disappointed.
__________________


Whoa Dana house work doesnít determine your value as a person. Just because some one isnít Harriet Nelson doesnít mean they are any less of a person. Could it be that you are measuring your self worth by your ability to clean? Placing too much weight upon perfect looking house would cause a definite freeze up. Shame and guilt also have the potential to drain any motivation the ADD may leave behind.

I know you came here looking for specific ideas on how you can keep your house clean however after reading the above quoted portion from your post I felt it wasnít the lack of organization that was holding you back but the emotional drain via self placed expectations communicated in your post.

Any one can be a neat freak when parents are still carrying you along in many ways not realized. As a child one my have what there room, laundry, a few chores and some home work the rest was social, hobby, and sleep time. As an adult one takes on the added stressors not faced by the person still living under their parents roof. Not only do you have more to keep clean once on your own you have more energy draining stress to deal with. There is working, bill paying, possibly school, meals transportation, ect. . . . . . . begin with trash control and give your self an emotional break by breaking the habit of unrealistic expectations via comparing you now on your own to the youth you who lived as a child under their parent's roof.

I have some friends who are very OCD about their house. Their home looks like one of those you see in the better homes and gardens magazine, they are nice people but seem as sterile as their kitchen floor. They are more worried about scrubbing their floor than giving distressed friends a hug. I have another friend whose house normally resembles a post tornado scene she is down to earth, helpful to others, and as real as the clutter on her kitchen table. Hugs are always offered to friend in emotional distress. I prefer real kitchen table clutter over fake sterile floors any day .

Imnapl
10-13-06, 12:52 AM
I prefer real kitchen table clutter over fake sterile floors any day .AMEN!

Scattered
10-13-06, 09:54 AM
Yeah, there's messes. Yeah, there's clutter and junk. Yeah, there's dirt. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But what do you do when it's so excessive you LITERALLY cannot let anyone in your house because of the utter embarrassment it would cause you? Not to mention ridicule and scorn, and the neverending questions of things along the line of, "Just DO it! It's NOT that difficult!" Yet, for some reason, somehow, it IS that difficult! I've read up on all sorts of procrastination theories, categories, and techniques to overcome it. I've read up on ADHD and Executive Functioning. Am I just lazy? :confused: Someone once told me no, as lazy would be that you DON'T want to do it. I, on the other had, WANT to do it (clean my house), I want to do it with a PASSION, but it's like I'm frozen, and I JUST CAN'T MOVE. Is there really such a thing as "Paralysis of the Will?"

I'm starting to think there's something seriously wrong with me. Deep down I'm a perfectionist, but you'd NEVER know it by the looks of my house. You'd think I could just buckle down and work on one small area at a time, day by day, until it's finally finished. But that is obviously too much to ask, as I moved 4 months ago, and I've yet to clean and unpack. It seems to just get worse and worse, too. When I was a kid, I was a NEAT FREAK!!! Now, I'm the slob I never thought I could ever be! I just don't know what to do. :( I'm ashamed of myself, disgusted with myself, and just plain disappointed.I heard a counselor call it a discouraged perfectionist once -- quite an apt description. Not hard to get discouraged when the part of your brain that does sorting, prioritizing, and such isn't working up to snuff. Don't feel alone -- we've been in this house three years and only on a handful of occasions has it been clean enough to invite company over. I'm reading the Myth of Laziness by Mel Levine right now and he was describing the type of cognitive dysfunctions that cause such problems -- it's not laziness!

Scattered

roseanne
12-11-06, 12:47 PM
I can relate. I was wondering about the frozen will thing also. I too get up in the morning after hubby wakes up me and the kids and wonder, do I get dressed, make coffee, make sure the kids are getting dressed or what? So I usually am unable to make a decision so I start my computer and check my emails. Then I take them to school and on the way home I am thinking of the house and how i'd love to surprise the family with a clean house...then I get home and start searching for websites on how to clean when you are lazy...I found this website today by searching for housecleaning tips for women..wanted to put lazy but didn't lol...anyway I am so off track.

Any1 get bugs from not doing the dishes in so long then when you try to clean up you can't get rid of them...ahem..not me...i heard about this happening..ahem...

charonshanti
12-11-06, 02:05 PM
Oh, yeah, paralysis of the will is REAL.

And it's self-perpetuating. For me the larger the task list, the more visual clutter, the less I'm able to do about it. Talk about a vicious cycle.

The day I started reading "ADD-friendly ways to organize your life" went down in my personal history as a life-altering turning point. That sounds exaggerated, but it's not. It puts things beautifully in perspective and explains the many, many ADD facets that contribute to this.... it's not the same cause for all of us just because we all have ADD. Clutter is the natural detritus of unfinished tasks, just to start with, and ADD is champion at creating unfinished tasks. This book was such a relief to me---a joy to read and immediately practical, with creative and unconventional solutions to engage the ADD mind.

I used to tell my mom I couldn't put things in my room away because if I could see them I knew where they were. She thought it was an excuse. I was DEAD SERIOUS. I have to keep important things in sight so I won't forget them--but I have to do it in a way that won't be visually overwhelming or distracting, or paralysis sets in. That's one of my particular challenges that the book helped me solve, and one you won't find in any regular organizing book because most people don't have that challenge.

My pre-ADD-solution was to simplify my surroundings more than I would really like. But I still always had piles of things I just couldn't decide what to do with or where to put... Well, anyhow. Yeah, I still have those, but now it doesn't look like it when you walk into my house, and I love this book!

roseanne
12-11-06, 02:27 PM
OMGosh, I am the same way. I tried to explain to hubby why I have everything laying around the house, my desk, my bathroom..if it is put up in a place I forget to use it, or anything about it. Yes it looks better but I have this fear of losing things or whatever. Sounds really familiar..I need this book!!

SolarLife
12-11-06, 02:51 PM
I'm lucky to have a wife who is neat and organized on the whole.

And, man, I completely understand the "if I can't see it, it doesn't exist" thing. If my wife doesn't put food front and center in the fridge or pantry, I'll never eat it. If I can't see it, it doesn't exist :D.

EYEFORGOT
12-11-06, 03:33 PM
Wow! What a giant pool of "right there with you"s.

I just moved in here two months ago. The transition has been..."interesting". My biggest culprit being the paperwork, and the bills and addresses to change and all that goes with the boxes and boxes of paperwork that we own. I would love to throw out every scrap of paper and start fresh, with a personal secretary at my side.

My added challenge is my mother-in-law. When she was a wife and mother she stayed home all day to cook and clean while her one child went off to school. Her house is pristine. And she does judge me based on these skills. She worries incesantly, and has spoken to her son about it. Not too sure what she's worried about...it's not like I have mice and bugs...probably it's how does her son feel living in such conditions...or what's wrong with me that I wouldn't be more skilled in domestic duties...blah blah blah. In her honor I posted a pretty little sign I made:

"Dull women keep immaculate houses."

I finally came to the conclusion that she is the way she is. The only ones who are frustrated at the mess and clutter are my husband and myself. We're the ones who have to deal with it, not her. I am never going to be the neat-freak she is. I yam what I yam, as Speedo would say.

I definitely will look into the paralysis of the will...that is certainly how it feels. When I am overwhelmed, the more that needs to be done, the less that gets done. But it's certainly not a reflection of my character or worth. I am the same loving person with or without dusted lightbulbs and see-through windows.

SolarLife
12-11-06, 03:40 PM
"Dull women keep immaculate houses."
LOL :D.

But it's certainly not a reflection of my character or worth. I am the same loving person with or without dusted lightbulbs and see-through windows.
AMEN!

bluehenjoan
01-14-07, 12:56 AM
I'm a great mom to my three boys, I cook well planned nutritious meals for my family, keep up with the bills and family finances, generally keep up with all of my son's school activities and paperwork, work a farm with my husband, create additional income from an at-home job, do beautiful handwork (knitting, sewing, toymaking etc.), but I cannot keep my house clean to save my life. It is incredibly frustrating that in spite of all my talents, the thing I really SUCK at is the one that people can most easily see (and the one I feel judged about). My goals aren't even that lofty- I just want the house clean enough so I won't be humiliated if someone drops by unannounced.

Funny though- when we had our house up for sale five years ago, I did manage to keep it spotless, but it was excruciating! It's almost like it's in my nature to be messy.

One housekeeping book I really liked is Sink Reflections[I][U]. I think the author's last name is Ciley. One of the best tips I took from it is that you don't have to clean the house perfectly- it's okay to cut corners here and there. Makes me think of the 'frustrated perfectionist' comment someone made earlier!

All I know is I gotta get to work and get this place cleared out. My 8 month old will be crawling any time now!

Joan

BabblingBrooke
01-19-07, 03:37 PM
Hi LittleD1981,
I like what EyeForgot said, "right there with Ya".
If someone came by my house everyday for a month I would be lucky if one of them saw my house clean. I HATE IT!
I am a perfectionist too, but only when it comes to certain things. I have tried to delegate more things to my husband and 15yr old son, and I try not to be to critical on the job they do, and just be grateful I didn't have to do it. I have a girlfriend who is married with two kids and her house is always a mess, I mean a real mess. I use to be embarassed for her, because she would have people over and parties and barely pick-up her house. But the more I got to know her the more I realized she didn't care what anyone thought of her house. If they wanted to waste time judging her & talking about her behind her back it didn't bother her. The truth is I don't think people pay as much attention to how our houses look as we think they do. We are always harder on ourselves than others.
I have been trying to work on not caring if people our judging me or talking about me, its hard.
If they are judging me and talking about me than at least I am giving them something to talk about and do with their time.
Everyone has flaws some peoples are just more noticeable.

I like what EyeForgot said, "Dull Women Keep Immaculate Houses" I totally agree and am going to remind myself of that the next time I am at someone's house that is immaculate.
Thanks EyeForgot!!!!
Most the women I know who have immaculate houses are BORING! I guess thats why I hang out with the dirty house women, we are way more fun!!!

minn306
01-19-07, 03:42 PM
I can relate to many things in your post. Actually it is kinda funny that I am a perfectionist in a way and people in my committee at school all think I am so organized...............but yet my house is a mess. I get very embarrased when people come over. I try to clean it and keep it clean, really I do


You have many people who understand what you are going through

lilyfrog60
01-22-07, 01:44 AM
I'm another one of those who COMPLETELY understands! I'm bad about the kitchen, living room, laundry, ect... But the most horrible, absolutely disgusting room in my house is the basement. I HATE going down there. There are boxes all over, bags of out-grown baby clothes, books, yadda yadda. BUT the worst part is my cat's litter boxes are down there. Well, you see where I'm going. I forget about them. When I do go down there and am reminded, I am so disgusted that I don't want to touch them. So what do I do? Go upstairs and ignore it. But now I've realized by doing this, they are no avoiding their boxes (I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND WHY) and peeing elsewhere. Okay, now I am incredibly EMBARRASSED! Yes my basement smells like cat pee and there are probably many many things that are ruined. I worry everytime someone comes over that they can smell it but it doesn't motivate me to do anything about it. Where do I even start down there? I also know that this is not healthy for my cats. I've considered giving them up, but man it breaks my heart. But if I can't take care of them properly they deserve better. It's a dilemma I need to resolve, but keep putting it off.

I'm so embarrased posting this that I've been sitting here looking at the submit button for quite some time. Okay...here I go....I'm really going to post this...okay....

LittleD1981
01-30-07, 03:11 PM
Wow, lilyfrog, I could have written your post, except I don't have a basement. I have 2 cats and a really small apartment. Small in that there is really only room for one litterbox, and that room is in the bedroom. I did JUST as you said you are doing. I would go into the room (I don't know how I even slept in there) and leave quickly because I was so overwhelmed and then just ignore it. Week after week after...you get the point...lol. Anyway, it was so dirty that I couldn't possibly scoop it; it needed to be dumped completely, but still, that was too much work. So what did I do? I threw out the entire litter box after buying a new one and filling it. Voila! And then how did I keep that one clean? I kept it SMACK in the middle of the living room! Hahaha! I know, not feasible for most folks. Anyway, a handyman has been coming around so the litter box has been moved to the bedroom for some time now. It's due for a cleaning now, but it's not nearly as bad as it was that last time. Not even close. And, yes, I had sweatshirts, towels, and other clothes ruined because one of my cats refused to use the litter box anymore. I tried washing them with LOTS of soap, but I think they are just trash now. Anyway, I wish I could be of more help, but since I started this post, I obviously can't! LOL My, I'm embarrassed too, but sooooo glad I'm not alone with that problem!

lilyfrog60
01-30-07, 03:21 PM
Thank God! I'm not the only one! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I have also done the just buy a new box thing, but end up doing the same. Ever since I have written that post at least I have been THINKING about cleaning the boxes. Right now, I am concentrating on my upstairs and really working to get organized and decluttered. The basement is on my to-do list. I am planning on asking someone to babysit my son so I can go down there and tear into it without distraction.

If you are still having problems with your cats avoiding their box, there is a brand of litter called Cat Attract that can help. I have used it in the past and it really seems to work. It has some pheremones or something that make the cat's want to use it. I stopped only because it is pretty expensive. I was mixing it half and half with regular and it still seemed to work. Looks like I will be buying some more and working to fix the problem again. Thanks again for sharing that with me. I need to get this problem solved because I don't want to be known as the cat lady whose house stinks like cat p*ss. :)

Grade A
01-30-07, 04:11 PM
Its amazing since living on my own, and the exercise motivating me, my place is cleaner.
Should of left a long time ago, if I had of known I would keep a tidier home LMAO.
Although, I could use some organizing skills. I have a hard time figuring out where I am going to store things in my place.

But before this, I have to admit I was a little sloppy. I would go on cleaning sprees if I knew I was going to have people over, I would be rushing around trying to get things organized, not good for anxiety.

So we all know where you are coming from. :)

Freckleface
02-02-07, 06:08 PM
WOW...all along I've been thinking that there was something wrong with ME, and here you've all written things that I could have written. It's amazing!

I am not a lazy person, but I always felt that I appeared that way to others because of my house.

Also, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law are like Martha Stewart. There is NOTHING these women can't do, and their houses are constantly spotless.

Whenever they would come over, I would go into a full-blown panic. I would be so self-conscious about the house, that I wouldn't even be able to enjoy myself while they were here.

And to top it all off, my husband has ADD also (quite the couple we make!), so that doesn't help either.

Thank you all for sharing your stories. Although I wouldn't wish this on anyone, it's really nice to know that I'm not alone. :)

Jett
07-21-07, 11:59 PM
Oh boy, can I relate!! Too many times have I had someone knock at the door and really panic. I am not talking about just merely a "messy" house, either.

I have made a lot of improvements over the years although I still have a ways to go.

My house has been so bad many times that it was a total embarrassment. We're talking about dirty dishes that had not been washed in weeks, dishes used as ashtrays, dirty clothes in every room, stuff all over the floor, trash on the floor,rotting food, nasty sink filled with scummy stuff, putrid smelling dishes, cigarette butts,and so on. Detrashing the house would take 4 or 5 large heavy duty trash bags. Dishes would take all day because there were so many of them. Things ended in the strangest places.

Before I drove a car, my dad would pick me up and take me places. Usually times I would be running late and I often lost my keys ( my mom and dad had extras just in case). That gave Dad plenty of times to see my place. He'd make comments like " It looks like hoboes live here" or "clean this pigsty up". He'd try to shame me and he nagged me endlessly about getting it cleaned up. Whenever I did do some work, he would tell me to finish it all or get it spotless. He also said, " How hard is it to clean such a small place" or "how hard is it to keep things off the floor?"

Since I have been diagnosed with my disorders and put on medicine, the house is still messy and dirty but not nearly as bad. Now my major problem is that I hate housework and procastinate like crazy. I also get overwhelmed when it gets really bad. But I throw more stuff away than I used to. I don't have as much money right now to accumulate a bunch of stuff. That's one of the good things of being broke... no money to spend so not as much clutter. If I were rich I would probably have so much stuff in the house you couldn't move. Being materialistic and a messy housekeeper is not the best combination.

I like many people grew up in a clean, orderly house. My mom would spend several hours a day every day cleaning our average sized ranch style house.My mom would make a big fuss over a chair not pulled in or one dirty dish in the sink. It's like her life was revolved around housework.

ProcrastN8R2
07-23-07, 02:26 AM
There is an illness, associated with OCD, called "hoarding". You can google the term to learn more. There is also a very good website called squalorsurvivors.com.

I've got some family members who are like that. I've shown tendencies toward it myself. I prefer to live in a clean, clutter-free home, but sometimes tendencies don't follow preferences...

piglet
09-11-07, 02:21 PM
Of course there's something wrong with you.:)

There's something wrong with EVERYONE.:cool:

As far as housework? Man, that's way beyond my abilities. Once in a while I have an "a-HAH!" moment can clearly see what needs to be done, and I do it. Usually, it's all a big blur of overwhelm, and I can't conjure up a way to tackle anything. And as far as parents carrying you? Hah! My mom was just as overwhelmed as I am, but she had a more presentable facade, and I'm realizing now that Dad carried her in a lot of ways. I had no idea, growing up, what doing housework LOOKED like, let alone what exactly needed to be done.

It's been hard to learn, and it's been hard on my family that I didn't know these things.

But there's plenty RIGHT with you, too. It's not about your WORTH. It's just STUFF. Objects. You're a high-level, spiritual person, far above caring about mere acquisitions. However, you do live in the material world and have objects around you.

Unfortunately, objects that demand a certain amount of attention. Reality bites.

I have decided to develop and nurture an obsessive-compulsive disorder. I have become obsessive-compulsive about cleaning the bathroom. I got so mad at myself for not doing it when I saw my husband AGAIN scrubbing the tub on his rare day off... and doing it the hard way, with elbow grease in lieu of good products. Now, I may not be neat, but I am SMART, and I know it doesn't have to be that hard. So I went and bought a bunch of products and decided which once I liked best. I stocked up on the ones I like best, the ones you can spray on the surfaces and it just slicks stuff away like magic... and I spray the damn surfaces every time I'm in the bathroom, while I'm sitting and conducting my business, even. Just to reinforce the obsessive habit.

Is there someone in your life who can help you and not judge you? To help you gain some perspective on the objects, and decide what to keep and what to throw and what gets stowed where? I find it hard to see things as individual items that I can do something with; I get overwhelmed and glop the whole thing into "the mess" and I despair. I know you've heard it before, but if you do one part of the house... focus on one area that you can do, and then say "I cleaned that, and I cleaned it WELL" and use that to build your ego again. Even if it's just one coffeetable, you can then focus on that clean, peaceful spot when you feel overwhelmed.

And I did finally have to read my husband and daughter the riot act for continually putting me down and blaming me for the house being a mess. I said "HEY! You have been mad at me for twenty years about not keeping the house clean, but for some reason I am still IN CHARGE of keeping the house clean. I'm clearly incompetent at it! What do I have to do to get fired from this job? WHo has the problem, me or you who think I'm someday going to be good at this if you just criticize me enough?" and I swear, I think I could actually SEE the light bulbs go on in their brains. It's been better since then. I'm still not organized but the house is not all MY responsibility, and that helps me get past the overwhelm.

I hope you feel the love we all have for you, hon. Your worth is not determined by the house. Every person has things to struggle with and learn. Many people don't REALIZE what their struggle is, because things come easy to them and they live on the surface of life and never get a chance to find their Quest. You and I are lucky enough to have our flaws right out there on the surface, putting our spiritual self-improvment journey right in front of us. Some people have their failings down so deep that they don't realize they're not perfect, and they develop too much pride to grow. I would much rather be like this, I think it's spiritually safer. I KNOW I have stuff to work on and pride is just not a stumbling block for me. And I think people like us have more compassion than most "Normal" people.

gridley
10-24-07, 10:26 AM
This is a thread worth bumping! This describes what I keep talking about lately. I am just so burned out of being at home wtih the kids.. I can barely make myself do any housework, much less the deep organizing I so desperately need to do (but of course seem to have zero skill or ability to do).

I always say that I rebel against myself. I want to do something, I need to do something, and I will NOT do it. This is pretty much exactly what I am talking about here on this thread.

Today is a "We are going to put on music and CLEAN the house today, kids!" kinda day. I hope it actually happens.

sloppitty-sue
10-24-07, 05:04 PM
I always say that I rebel against myself. I want to do something, I need to do something, and I will NOT do it.


Yep! To put it concisely!

Ugh . . . mine is so bad it feels as if it's going to kill me indirectly. I've recently met some wonderful, kind, generous and loving women: mothers of my 2nd-graders fellow classmates. They have all invited my daughter over numerous times, fed her FABULOUS dinners, etc.!! I am now beginning to feel their disappointment in my NOT reciprocating. I have even explained that it's my messy house that's getting in my way, that I've been going through a hard time, etc. Still - they KNOW I have the time to clean it . . . and it's been MONTHS since I've said I'm going to clean it . . . so WHAT'S THE PROBLEM!???

It's terrible to know that I am INDIRECTLY impoverishing my children's lives due to my . . . ISSUE with this . . .

I'm filled with shame and despair and humiliation over this. If only I knew someone to HIRE to help me. But I don't need CLEANING help as much as I need PICKING UP help. I can wipe stuff. I can vacuum! But every single surface is covered in PILES!!

Pray for me!


Sue

gridley
10-24-07, 10:59 PM
I know just how you feel Sue. And how can you explain to the moms about not reciprocating without coming off like a total idiot?? "Hey, sorry I can't have your daughter over, I don't know how to sort a pile. Sorry."

It sucks. :rolleyes:

rbrogan
10-29-07, 09:57 PM
This "paralysis" is something I identify strongly with. It's the main reason why I went in to get diagnosed. It is something I'm working on. These are my techniques, they might help you (or maybe not).

1. Do not be negative. Don't try to motivate yourself with fear or insults. Don't worry about what you planned to do but didn't.

Stopping negativity didn't stop procrastination for me. But negativity never got me anywhere in the first place. It all it did was have a negative impact on my life.

2. Know how to at least get started. Break it down into little tiny pieces and arrange them from easiest to hardest. Don't put something like "clean the house" on a todo list. That's way too big. Try to break it down into stuff that you can get done in like 5-10 minutes.

3. Just plan on doing the easiest thing. Maybe you keep going and do more stuff. Maybe not. But at least you know you got something done. Even if it just a little bit then it's better than nothing and you're starting to develop a habit.

4. Don't give yourself a deadline. I find deadlines to be negative and just make me more likely to procrastinate. If you have to then figure out how long you think it would take you then double that and see if you can get it done faster. Don't think of it as a deadline but how fast you can get it done from the time you start. If you stop in the middle to take a break then that doesn't count as time wasted. You just needed to break down what you were working on into two smaller tasks. You finished the first, took a break, then worked on the second.

5. Stack what you're doing with something else more interesting like music or a podcast or listening to TV or daydreaming or something. So you're not really "cleaning" you're really "listening to music" or whatever.

I'll give you an example. Over past couple weeks I've been cleaning the bathroom. First it was the sink. Next it was the toilet. Then I was putting off the bathtub for awhile. I was thinking I need a special cleaner to get the stains out. Well, finally I just said OK I'm just going to give it a once-over while I'm listening to the ballgame. I got working on it and once I got going I kept scrubbing and scrubbing and now it's pretty clean. I'm not trying to be perfect. I'm just working on getting better.

Skully
10-29-07, 10:25 PM
Yeah, there's messes. Yeah, there's clutter and junk. Yeah, there's dirt. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But what do you do when it's so excessive you LITERALLY cannot let anyone in your house because of the utter embarrassment it would cause you? Not to mention ridicule and scorn, and the neverending questions of things along the line of, "Just DO it! It's NOT that difficult!" Yet, for some reason, somehow, it IS that difficult! I've read up on all sorts of procrastination theories, categories, and techniques to overcome it. I've read up on ADHD and Executive Functioning. Am I just lazy? :confused: Someone once told me no, as lazy would be that you DON'T want to do it. I, on the other had, WANT to do it (clean my house), I want to do it with a PASSION, but it's like I'm frozen, and I JUST CAN'T MOVE. Is there really such a thing as "Paralysis of the Will?"


I'm starting to think there's something seriously wrong with me. Deep down I'm a perfectionist, but you'd NEVER know it by the looks of my house. You'd think I could just buckle down and work on one small area at a time, day by day, until it's finally finished. But that is obviously too much to ask, as I moved 4 months ago, and I've yet to clean and unpack. It seems to just get worse and worse, too. When I was a kid, I was a NEAT FREAK!!! Now, I'm the slob I never thought I could ever be! I just don't know what to do. :( I'm ashamed of myself, disgusted with myself, and just plain disappointed.
I can totally relate to you. My house was a mess for many months. I never had people come over because of it. My car is a disaster full of empty soda bottles and papers from work. I can't find anything in there and no one can ride with me because of it. It is embarassing me and I too am a perfectionist. I have made a medication switch in the last week and I have managed to get my house clean and my car half way presentable. I sure hope you can find your solution soon!

Spongedaddy
10-30-07, 12:28 PM
Here is my two cents:

Byron Katie, a spiritual teacher, has some questions that she uses for any situation. The first question (I believe) is what is the problem now? Eckhart Tolle often says when you are overwhelmed with the stories in the head ask yourself where is the now?

If you can break it down into the simplest forms you will get the best results. Okay so the mind says OH MY GOD THE WHOLE HOUSE IS A MESS HOW WILL I EVER FINISH? If you can watch it and go okay well how about the dished. I will start with one dish. The one dish at a time moment. If you can do that, focus on what you are doing right now, it will help diminish some of the charge. You also need to be aware that part of the condition/limitaiton/disease it doesn't matter what you call it, is that your mind will run. If you can accept this one thing, without judging it good or bad, you can take a huge step in the journey of dealing with this.

One moment at a time my friend, one moment at a time.

Good vibes your way.

LittleD1981
10-31-07, 12:45 AM
Okay, I started this thread just over a year ago. Wow! :eek:

There's some good things and there's some bad things.

Bad news first: It's now been 1 YEAR and 4 months since I've moved here, and I STILL have about 90% of the unpacking to do! This is just insane.

On a good note, I have come across, I wouldn't really call it a "technique," per se, but perhaps a system? :confused: Anyway, I go into a room, any room, and I pick something small to do in there. For example, if I go into the living room and notice a mug that should be in the kitchen, then I go put it in the kitchen. While in the kitchen, I might notice that I need to start a new trash bag and put all the trash on the counters in that bag. Next, if the bag still has room for more trash, I might go into the bedroom and find stuff in there to add to the trash. And so on. I've actually gotten a decent (for me!) amount of tasks done doing it like that. So, I can keep my house somewhat clean, but I still am working on how I'm going to "deep" clean (like I always do when I move somewhere new; I don't want former tenants' grime in my house, ya know?) and unpack all my stuff. At least some progress is being made.

emilybemily
10-31-07, 12:54 PM
I don't know where to begin. I'm in tears after reading this thread. You are all exactly like me - i'm not alone. It's not just me. That is HUGE. I have lived with the worst of tehse dirty houses mentioned here. I feel so much share about my house - my LAZINESS. The embarassment is awful. And in my experience, depression loves this situation - when you can't see a way out of the overwhelming mess.

I just last week figured out that I have ADD. My appointment is in 2 1/2 weeks to get diagnosed. Currently, my house is ok enough to have people stop by (which is really as wonderful as you think it would be!) but that is only because I let my ex-husband live in my basement and he cleans my house in exchange for room & board (he won't work). My depression has lifted since recieving help with my mess and counseling too. My life-long fantasy of having a live-in housekeeper has come true! How did I get so lucky? <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>

Here are a few coping strategies Iíve learned along the way:<o:p></o:p>

<o:p></o:p>

1. I need a cleaning person. For you this could be your husband, friend, or paid housekeeper. You NEED someone who can bail you out when you need it. For me I have an ex in the basement AND a really amazing housekeeper (for when things get especially out of hand or I have to clean for a party). <o:p></o:p>

<o:p></o:p>

2. I have to START with a clean house, so I'm not overwhelmed, then I have SOME hope of keeping it up (until I have a bad day, someone is sick, kids get overly messy etc. then I need help getting it clean again) To get it clean I had to hire a housekeeper (it was better than Christmas, coming home to a CLEAN house that was organized - she even dealt with my paper piles!) and enlist my ex-husband to help.<o:p></o:p>

<o:p></o:p>

3. Also, I have eliminated lots of furniture - no surfaces to put things anymore. Other than the couches & chairs & floor there is no place to put things - it helps me SEE that the items need to be put away. Otherwise, my knitting could live for years on the coffee table....so I just got rid of the coffee table and end tables and every other junk collecting surface.<o:p></o:p>

<o:p></o:p>

4. I am a hoarder (first time admitting this). I constantly battle my ďstuffĒ. I KNOW I need less stuff in order to function (you would think I would stop bringing home bags and bags and bags from the store of more STUFF, but I canít). Sometimes I can get rid of things and itís wonderful to live with afterwards. The only way I can really do this is to take everything out of a room and only put back what SHOULD be there, only put back what I WANT in the room. Everything else should be donated or thrown out (whichever is more likely to actually happen). Itís a bit extreme and does pose the risk of losing motivation midway through the project. If that happens you need your cleaning person (housekeeper, husband, friend, ex in the basement, whoever) to help you finish the project. But then you have less stuff and everything has a home so it really is MUCH easier to keep up after you do this job.<o:p></o:p>

<o:p></o:p>

5. Before I had an ex-husband to clean, I only used disposable plates & bowls & plastic wearÖI could not keep up with dishes so I did not use dishes. <o:p></o:p>

<o:p></o:p>

6. Oh yes, sometimes I can tackle and finish a big job! The only problem is that I never know what that job is going to be. For instance, maybe Iíll decide that the kitchen MUST be cleaned today because itís so awful but then will feel inspired to clean the upstairs hall closet Ė and I do. The kitchen is still a disaster and there are no dishes to cook or eat with but my towels are all neatly put away! Whatever, I just try to appreciate my accomplishment and not sweat the work that should have been done but wasnít. At least SOMETHING got clean! <o:p></o:p>

<o:p></o:p>

7. Also, Iíve decided to somewhat accept my level of messy and that it is not frivolous of me to hire a housekeeper Ė it is necessary. So now I try to budget $200 each month for cleaning (that covers 2 whole house sessions). Also, my children have jobs to help me, but that is very hard for me as well (the perfectionist part of me hates it).<o:p></o:p>

<o:p></o:p>

Those are my tips, maybe they can be helpful to someone. But even with these measures in place I am a mess. I want so badly to keep a clean and tidy house. Not perfect, but nice enough for a friend to stop by and clean enough that my kids and I all have clean clothes everyday and clean dishes for dinner. <o:p></o:p>

<o:p></o:p>

I just want to say THANK YOU to all who posted. I canít believe there are others like me. <o:p></o:p>


Has anyone recovered from this with medication? Is it possible to move past that paralysis and do the cleaning that I want to do? I want that to be true Ė I donít want to live like this forever. <o:p></o:p>

<o:p></o:p>

- EmilyBemily

piglet
11-02-07, 02:46 PM
ohhhh, sweetie. You think you're alone? Noooooooooo. I have spent years and years in that situation,and only now am I able to sometimes have someone over because I've finally made my family realize that I am not competent at this housework stuff and if they want it clean around here they have to take the lead on it. For a long time they thought if they were just disapproving and critical enough of me that I would somehow suddenly "get it".


It's so frustrating to have chaos all around and not know how to get out of it. I don't understand how some people can just have things tidy all the time. it's alll so hard. I just spent the morning cleaning and I look around and find just odd stuff out and about. My computer desk has many piles of cd's, papers, hairbrush, wallet, vicks' vapo-rub, dog bath products, dental picks, vitamins, old mail, plastic sipper bag that the shets came in, anti-diarrheal tablets, cell phone, old roll of film.... just the top layer. In about two square feet of space. And that's AFTER cleaning. I mean, anyone who comes over knows that the clean kitchen counter was JUST done because looking all around you see randomness of objects all over. The kitchen ocunter is clean, yes, but the floor is not, and the cabinet doors are grungy so it's clear that the kitchen isn't REALLY kept up. I have no idea how people do this stuff without some kind of emergency, like mine today being that the plumber is coming to estimate on a new water heater.

It brings me down, dpesresses me, makes me angry with myself and life, kills my self-worth.... I don't embrace those nice little sayings, like "a clean desk is a sign of an empty mind" or some such. I wish I could do this stuff.

piglet
11-02-07, 02:54 PM
emilybemily, I'm just rereading your last post and I'm so pleased you're finding some of your keys. Yeah, other people taking the lead has been huge for me. And I do find that medication helps. Also, I thikn the nutritional supplements help. If you read up on the topic, like Dr. Amen's website, you might find something useful. It reads to me - for waht it's worth - like you have inattentive ADD with your use of the word "lazy" - and I understand why you feel that way but it's not kind or fair to yourself, my love! - becuase that's what I have and you sound like a kindred spirit. Lighting a fire under me can be problematic. The meds definitely help. A lot. But I could easily fritter time away even with meds, I've also had to be brutally honest with myself and kick myself in the butt from time to time.


One thing that helps me, when I'm just exhausted but dogggone it the dishes need doing and it's my turn - if I want to put it off until I feel better, I ask myself, would I want to waste "feeling good" time on DISHES? Noooooooo. I would want to do something FUN. So go ahead and do the boring dreaded dishes now while I feel like crap anyway. That sometimes helps me get bits and pieces of things done. And yes, I've done the paper plates thing, too.

You're not lazy. You're working and your ex is not? YOu wouldn't call anyone else lazy under those circumstances. Be a friend to yourself, love. You are trying so hard against a really difficult issue that few people understand. We're proud of you.

hollyduck
11-02-07, 05:16 PM
Oh Dana, I am so with you.

I can clear a room or two when company is coming, and I've develeoped a savage ability to give things away (Yayyy FreeCycle!) But paperwork? Filing? It is to laugh!

And even I know that doing a little bit at a time ought to eventually complete the cleaning task. However, after a couple three four hours of sorting, when the piles look just the same, it's easy to retreat into a bowl of mac and cheese, and so to bed with a good book. Sigh.

Off to a support group meeting tonight, perhaps I will find a shoulder to sob on. (And conveniently they can sob on my other shoulder at the same time. Efficient.)

Ducky

piglet
11-03-07, 10:56 PM
emilybemily, you even have "an ex-husband to clean"? My husband cleans himself. He'd still be dirty if he waited for me to clean him.:D

emilybemily
11-04-07, 03:24 PM
Hi Piglet!
I meant that my ex-husband does most of my house cleaning! Not that I have to clean him! LOL!

Also, thanks so much for you post! It's so nice to get a bit of support here. What did you mean by "keys"? I am axiously awaiting my doctor appointment - 2 more weeks to go....I am almost positive I'll get an ADD diagnosis, I'm hoping to try medication as well. And I'm going to talk to my counselor about what options there are for therapy to deal with ADD problems or coping with it....
Anyway, thanks for the posts!

- Emily

piglet
11-05-07, 07:55 PM
"keys" - mine are, putting other people in the lead on housework, for one; choosing ONE small thing at a time, and making that just plain reflex... like the shower, I've made it my obsesive mission to keep the shower clean, I'm superoverstocked on the shower spray I like best and whenever I'm in the bathroom I'm spritzing the shower as I brush my teeth or as I... whatever.

This started because I was so mad at myself when I saw my husband scrubbing the shower on his one day off, and doing it with elbow grease instead of good product; and he wouldn't relinquish the job to me, he's too stubborn. So doggone it, I'm taking the job away from him before he can get into it. So one of my "keys" is, letting myself hyperfocus on something that makes me mad... my husband being stupidly stubborn - which was becuase he was mad at me for not paying any attention to the shower and wouldn't let me assuage my guilt by handing the job over to me... anyway, it's linked that particular task to the essence of who I am, as a dependable loving partner who gives a hoot about my hubby's one day off every week. Okay, maybe more l ke, he really ticked me off with his stubborness and I'm matching it with my own. Either way, the shower's been clean.:o