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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Garyl Offline
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Shame, guilt, and motivation - November 24th 2020, 05:16 AM

I have this problem. I know I am not alone in it, but the nature of it makes me feel very alone and ashamed. I don't know if it's because of depression, or anxiety, or something else, but I have very little motivation. This mainly shows up regarding household tasks like laundry, dishes, trash, cleaning, and maintaining the little box. The litter box I generally do in a timely manner, because my cat is my baby and I want him to have a clean, neat place to relieve himself, but sometimes I put it off a day longer than I should. I have had laundry sitting in baskets, clean, for weeks, and my dirty laundry is overflowing. I used to try and keep the sink clean but there's dirty dishes accumulating in it, and I have put away the clean ones that took me several days to bother to wash. My kitchen and dining room are a wreck. There's trash everywhere, food left out; it's disgusting. I live in squalor. There's even roaches coming in. They die pretty quickly thanks to pesticides, but I don't clean up the dead ones; they're left out.

I feel like something is wrong with me. I feel so much shame for how my home looks. I know I should just do the chores I need to do, but when I think about it I feel so terribly overwhelmed. It got this way before, too, and I asked my best friend to help me clean. She did and of course my place got messy again. I don't want to ask for help again because I feel like I put her to work every time she's over just because I don't get things done. I do pick up alongside her, of course; I don't just ask her to clean alone, but I am still so ashamed of that.

It's making me hate myself. I feel like a slob, and I don't want to feel like that. I want to know what's wrong with my brain and why I can't do this. I don't feel depressed, really; I'm generally looking forward to the future and everything. But this is a symptom that generally goes with depression, right? And I am anxious, but I am always anxious. I don't know what, if anything, makes this different.

How do I get better about cleaning and how do I stop hating myself for not being as clean as I want to be? I know the hatred only makes things worse.

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  (#2 (permalink)) Old
ladoglover Offline
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Re: Shame, guilt, and motivation - November 24th 2020, 04:50 PM

I struggle with the same thing. You are not alone. Its lack of motivation. It could be laziness but usually its avoidance. For me I feel it may be Persistent depressive disorder, formerly known as dysthymic disorder. I thought maybe im just lazy but now Iím thinking maybe I have persistent depression disorder. Itís a very very mild depression that you just have forever. I am not trying to diagnose you and I am not a doctor. Maybe you have that too especially if you have always been this way. For me I have always been this way as well like my whole life. Since persistent depression disorder is soo mild I think it can look like laziness when its not. Also, because its so mild I feel you probably can still look forward to the future and still have persistent depression disorder at the same time. I look forward to the future too. I still get out of bed. I still go to school. Its just hard to motivate myself to get chores done, cleaning and so on. I would rather watch tv or nap. Its hard I get it. It takes a lot of motivation to get things done.

My parents are lazy too so maybe thatís where I got this from. While growing up with them and still today my parents have never cleaned the house like most people do and are supposed to. My mom was always lazy. Most weekends she would just watch tv, little to none cleaning was done by her or my dad. They do not clean the kitchen floor regularly, I know gross.. They only vacuum. It has not been cleaned in many years. When I go in my parents bathroom its disgusting they have not cleaned there bathroom in years and the shower is not clean so it has that pink soap scum on it, gross.
They also do not organize bills and paper work so the kitchen and dining room table is covered with papers and bills. I feel maybe their laziness has rubbed off on me because thatís what I grew up with. I didnít see my parents clean often and I didnít see my parents really have routine for laundry either. I remember when I was a kid my sheets would only get washed like every 6 months or something. I know how gross that is and now as an adult I change my sheets at least once or twice a month.

So yeah it takes me a while to get things done. I put things off all the time and wait till the last minute most times. I would never go years and years though like my parents and not clean the bathroom and others things as I see how disgusting that is and do not want to live that way.

I hate bugs especially cockroaches so I would be cleaning that up right away. Just make sure the pesticides your using is safe for your cat and in spots he or she is not likely to lick it. Leaving dead roaches on the ground is also a health hazard for the cat as roaches carry parasites that can affect the cat and can cause gastro upset.

I would try some behavioral activation worksheets to help you with this. Ill send you the links in pm since I think we are not allowed to here. Behavioral activation will help you to not avoid those tasks that need to get done. It will help you start small. When trying to change any behavior its best to start with small steps and small goals. For example, a small goal you could set is every day put on a timer for 5 min and put stuff away and clean for just 5 min. Then slowly work your way up to 10 min and so on. Also. if you clean as you go like clean up right after you make a mess and put stuff away as soon as possible it makes the room less messy therefore you will feel less overwhelmed. I know easier said then done. Its hard trust me I get it. I have pushed myself to clean as I go and put stuff in their place as I go. This has helped me feel less overwhelmed and have less to clean up at the end of the week.

Once you get in the habit of doing it , it will become easier. Eventually you should be able to make a cleaning schedule. I would suggest before bed time every day putting stuff away for at least 5 min before bed and then on a Saturday or Sunday is the big clean day.
In all, giving yourself small goals and small steps will help you to overcome this. Your not alone
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  (#3 (permalink)) Old
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Re: Shame, guilt, and motivation - November 24th 2020, 05:08 PM

Motivation Tips

1. Keep it simple
2. Break it into smaller pieces
3. One thing at a time
4. Set realistic goals
5. Do activities at times when you are most
likely to succeed
6. Use self-compassion- reward self with a candy for a small step completed
7. be okay with setbacks
8. Reinforce healthy behavior choices
9. Reflect on what works and what does not
10. Use visual reminders
11. Talk yourself into itóchallenge negative
12. Use a timeróstart with just five minutes
13. Use reminders/alarms
14. Focus on long-term benefits
15. Commit to making decisions based on what you
know, not on what you feel
16. HAVE FUN!!!! Turn on music and dance while cleaning
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  (#4 (permalink)) Old
Celyn Offline
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Re: Shame, guilt, and motivation - November 24th 2020, 08:13 PM

I really like Lauri's tips!

I have similar issues so I think the first thing is to try and be gentle with yourself. I think it's particularly common for those who struggle with mental health, motivation or executive functioning (organising, starting, changing tasks) to find cleaning and keeping a living space clean and tidy. So try not to beat yourself up too much, especially if it makes you feel worse and doesn't motivate you to tidy up.

The next thing I would suggest is.....little and often! When we have a lot of chores to do it can feel difficult getting started. Writing to-do lists can help but can still feel overwhelming. So I would suggest maybe trying to do one thing a day. It's up to you how you start- for me, I find starting small helpful or starting in one area/room and working may around over the days/weeks/months helpful. Just try and pick something that is easy that you can just do, even if it's just the one thing- like cleaning one dish, or putting one item of laundry away or throwing one item out. Sometimes it's starting the task that is hardest and you may find that when you have done one task, you may want to carry on (which is great!). You might not always feel like that but remind yourself that every little effort you make, each day, will add up over time and your living space will get cleaner.

If you think it might help, then you may want to consider asking your friend for help. I understand that you don't want to rely on her, and that's completely understandable, but the next point is keeping a schedule and making your living space work for you.

I second Lauri on keeping a schedule. Pick one day a week to do a decent cleaning but also try to spend a few minutes each day just for basic upkeep- taking trash out, making sure dishes are washed for the next day etc.

You might also want to prepare for those times where you may struggle. If dishes can become a problem, perhaps you can resort to disposable paper/plastic dishes/cutlery/cups. It's not a long term solution but it can help if you are struggling. You might also want to try rethinking how you manage organising your living space. For example, you mention you have laundry baskets for clean and dirty clothes. Maybe it might help to get rid of the one for clean clothes as you'll have to put away the clothes?

I also think that finding motivation can help. I find visualising a clean and tidy room as good motivation, but you can try other things- for example, maybe you can invite friends over when your place is tidy? You might also find it helpful to keep a blog or to let your friends know (if you feel okay with that) about how you want to clean up your place, to keep you accountable. Keeping photos to monitor your progress can be good too, especially if you feel satisfaction seeing before and after.

But generally, try not to be hard on yourself. You recognise there is a problem and you want to change- that's good. Try and be realistic- you know that it's hard trying to get motivated to clean so start small, even if it's just one thing a day or just a minute or so each day. Reward yourself but also don't be too hard on yourself if you skip a day (setbacks happen). Try do little and often, and find ways of keeping motivated and accountable and set up a routine for the long term (which may help in preventing you from sliding back).

Hope this helps a bit

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  (#5 (permalink)) Old
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Re: Shame, guilt, and motivation - November 27th 2020, 05:22 AM

As someone with executive functioning issues, keeping up with household tasks is something I struggle with at times too. I won't claim to have it all figured out, but here's some tips that I've found useful:
  • Remove any obstacles to getting tasks done. Sometimes tasks that have multiple steps can be daunting, so if you can simplify the process - even if it's in a way that might seem strange or inefficient to others - you're going to have an easier time of it. For example, I found that I sometimes get overwhelmed doing the laundry because I had to sort the clothes out before I even got to actually washing them - so now I do the sorting as I go, and I have separate hampers for different loads that I put things into immediately after I've finished wearing/using them. It makes my room a little more cluttered, but it means I don't put the laundry off as much. I also found it hard to hang my clothes up in the wardrobe, so most of the time I just fold them and put them in drawers; it's not as pretty, but it's a lot easier to do. So think about the types of tasks you have trouble with, and see if there's anything you can do to make them easier.
  • Where possible, do things immediately. Some things can wait a while, but some things can also build up really quickly. If there are small tasks you can do in the moment, do them the second you notice them. For example you could use one of those dish sponges that has a handle you can fill with dish soap; that way you can wash individual items as you're finished with them, so they have less chance of building up. Or if you find yourself thinking "I should wipe down this sink" or "this mirror looks a little dirty", cleaning it quickly might bypass the motivation issue because you won't have time to talk yourself out of it. Otherwise your brain might start thinking of it as a bigger task than it actually is, and you'll have to talk yourself back into it.
  • Do things while other things are happening. If you're not good at setting time limits, you could try getting cleaning done while you're waiting for other, more tangible things. For example you could wipe down a counter while the kettle boils, or do some vacuuming while waiting for your dinner to cook. Or you could clean for the amount of time it takes to listen to a podcast or a chapter of an audiobook. That can be less intimidating than aiming to get an entire task done, or telling yourself that you're going to clean for x amount of time. I've found that it's helpful to get things done this way, because I'd be in "waiting mode" anyway, so I may as well get some work done.
  • Some is better than none. It can be very tempting to talk yourself out of doing a task because you know you won't be able to finish it in one go. I've often found myself not doing larger tasks like vacuuming or gardening because I know I won't get them done all at once, but then I end up in a loop of waiting until I have both the time and energy to tackle the whole thing, and that... well, it doesn't happen often. But if you chip away at the tasks bit by bit, either they'll get done eventually anyway, or they'll be more manageable when you finally do have that burst of energy needed to complete it. Another thing I do is give myself tasks or time limits that will be unsatisfying - for example I'll clean one section of a cupboard, which is easy enough for my brain to focus on, but then when I've done that I always end up cleaning the other section as well. Often the hardest part is just starting, so you might be able to trick yourself into making that easier.
  • Focus on what makes you happy first. That sounds weird, I know. What I mean is, are there any tasks that you immediately feel better after doing? Maybe making your bed, or cleaning up your main living area? For me, I find myself getting stressed if my desk or couch are cluttered, so I always start there. Once those areas are clear I'm usually in a brighter mood, since without the visual clutter I can focus better, and I can usually tackle a few other jobs while I'm at it. Maybe try to think about areas in your house that are bringing you down, and get those out of the way first.
  • Work out the timing. Some tasks can be left for a while without getting any worse, but others are more time sensitive. Figure out which of yours fall into which category, and then make a schedule that works for you. Maybe you need to do the kitty litter every day, but the dishes only need doing every second day. As for things that have the same deadline, or that aren't time sensitive, you can always randomise. Roll a die, toss a coin, ask an AI - anything that means you don't have to make the decision, because sometimes just figuring out where to start is harder than doing the task itself.
  • Gamify it. Sometimes housework is downright boring, but you can do things to make it more fun. I use a free app where you gain XP for ticking things off your to-do list, and you get in-game items like pets and outfits. You can even party up to do quests with other people, where you complete your own tasks to deal damage to bosses or find items. I may not want to do the dishes, but my avatar might level up if I do (and you'd be surprised how motivating that is). That's also why I don't call them "chores" - just the word itself makes me feel like rolling my eyes, so as simple as it is, calling them "tasks" reduces some of the resistance my mind puts up at the thought of them.
In all, it's about finding out what works for you, and remembering that this isn't a moral failing or any indication of your worth. You're not lazy; something's just making it difficult for you to get things done. That's not your fault, but it is something you can work to improve. Best of luck, and let me know if you want to talk about this any further!

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