Saturday, September 3, 2016

How Depression and Anxiety Manifests in an RV, Before and After the Storm

The organizational project of my Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler RV is going very well. But, I feel a bit of the backstory as touching the cause and effect of my depression is in order at this moment.
My latest Remodel of Our Toy Hauler Garage into Craft and Music Room
My Clutter and Depression Hand in Hand
When I became ill two years ago I was in  incapable of housekeeping for sometime. This caused me a lot of stress and anxiety because before this I had always been so proud of my RV.

Also, during my illness my husband was required to be on the road making a living so he was not able to take care of household duties. I worked out a simple system of housekeeping but it wasn't enough to keep clutter at bay.

 There were days and sometimes several days in a row where I would be bed bound barely able to do more than get up and cook for myself. This meant that regular cleaning duties were neglected and that in moving from room to room I tended to leave things out and not put back in their proper place. This contributed to an overall general cluttered appearance annoyed me to no end but there was very little I could do about it considering my health at the time.
How Anxiety and Depression manifests

 Once I started to feel a little better I was completely overwhelmed by the mess that I had left in my wake. I felt helpless. I felt anxious. I made several changes to my lifestyle that resulted in my depression and anxiety lifting.

I will be discussing those changes in the next few posts. This resulted in me being finally able within the last couple of months to get to the point where I could start doing some meaningful cleaning.

I started with the bedroom this by far was the worst area in my mind. I had gone so far as to sleeping in the back garage in a zero gravity lawn chair with blankets because I had felt so confined for so long in that small area. It was cluttered and depressing. it didn't take me long though once I felt better to completely muck out that room and make it better.
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This encouraged me so much to continue in my efforts and also to document, ashamed as I was. I wanted to be able to show other people that yes, illness does cause decay, illness does cause messes, but that once the Illness is better you can start to rebuild once again  and help regain not only your dignity but begin to win the battle with your depression.

 I will not make light of my depression and say it was caused by a messy house, it is so much more complex than that and I will not belittle those who suffer depression despite having the cleanest house in the universe. Often depression and cleanliness go hand-in-hand. I have found the women who have the most organized and the most clean houses are often the most unhappy.

Often because they're living a life of unrealistic expectations. They are expected to keep their house perfect therefore they are depressed and anxious about being able to continue fulfilling that role and therefore base their value or self-worth on there being able to fill that role.

BH and G Shelving
In my case my cleaning and organizing did not commence until I began to overcome my anxiety and my depression not the other way around.

With the bedroom organized I now turned my attention to the back living room of my toy hauler. it had become a catchall for everything from crafts to overstock dry goods such as paper towels. if it came in the door it generally ended up in the back room until I could deal with it. Now I wanted to reclaim that space once again.

With that in mind I begin sorting and moving things from the music/craft room into the main living area of the RV, in effect, emptying it out so that I could start fresh. These pictures show how things looked before during and then after my efforts.

Using  this type of system I was finally able to give my record album collection a suitable home other than in various totes of the Rubbermaid kind and was able also to put on the bottom shelves various craft satchels full of tools that I often used but no longer wanted to have just sitting out in the open.

The rubbermaid totes I was able to empty
I hope that my organization experience gives you ideas for either freshening up your own home or helps you organize your RV.  I hope also it gives you an honest and brutal look at what it's really like to be chronically ill and then fall into a depression where things get out of hand, which they do very quickly in a smaller home like an RV.

 I'm humiliating myself by showing the before pictures, I know this well, but in doing so I hope to reach out to my brothers and sisters who are out there, who live alone and who really need encouragement in order to get up today and do something to make themselves feel a little better. You are not alone! I care about you even if the only thing you do today is just get up and take care of yourself!
View of the Music Craft room from rear

There are many of us suffering just as you do every day and I'd like you to know that whether your house is neat as a pin or become something like a scene out of hoarders, that you can change whatever you have to in order to find you and to have a better life. The hopeless should never lose hope.

Once you begin to feel better, and eventually you will, you can take the time to make your home once again a wonderful place to be. Until then you still have great value to the universe and should never judge yourself for not having a perfect home.

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