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Anxiety attacks over a messy house

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Posted

This may seem stupid, but I had a few anxiety attacks over not being able to straightening out my house. I am physically able to, I just can't get myself motivated. When I see my downstairs, or think about it I have horrible anxiety. I haven't had a panic attack in years before these two within two days. Any ideas, advice or support?

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Posted

I have had this happen and found that if I break it down and just make a list of all the things that need addressing then pick a few off the list it does not seem so overwhelming

like if it is my bedroom (that is the worst for me I am always afriad I will run across something from my son and loose it) I will pick the closet do that feel good about myself and then do the next thing

smaller bits are for me less overwhelming than the whole job

gardening the same thing ..my yard is MASSIVE and it freaks me completely out to attack it ..but if I say "I will weed just the front left part of the garden today" then it is so much easier

I usually end up doing the whole job but have the mental "out" if I break it down

hope this helps and good luck

also something key for me is music or a radio show I love to put something on that I can listen to and the time flies! TV and I start watching it so that is not good but a listening thing helps loads

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Posted

smaller bits are for me less overwhelming than the whole job

I do my dishes in increments. I don't have a dishwasher. So sometimes I start freaking out because there isn't a clean dish in the house. So I watch TV and do my dishes during commercials. Since I've been disabled my whole approach to housework has changed. I can't just rip through the house and have it done in 3 hours. And just like the cats will always poop as soon as you change the litter box, kids will always be right behind you making dishes dirty and leaving their shit all over the house. I stopped bitching a few years ago and just started delegating.

If my kitchen is fairly clean and the bathroom I can deal with the rest not being done.

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Posted

I have no useful advice... I just wanted to post in solidarity. Because yeah, I can't clean, and it looks like teh lazy, but its really the oh holy shit there's too much omg, they're gonna take my kid away, i'm gonna get locked up omg i'm gonna die!

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Posted

I freak out to the point of crying over a cluttered or messy house. I hate it, I panic a LOT when it comes to that because I typically need things to be a certain way for me to feel comfortable and cluttered and messy is NOT how I feel comfortable.

I have a kind, and a man that live here, so I don't contribute to the mess, but when I leave them to their own devices, I know I'm going to have a panic attack because the place will be such a fucking mess.

The only thing that has helped me is to lay down until I get a little more calm, and convince myself I can clean up this litter corner over here, and that might turn into another little corner, and eventuallly, it will all be clean again aand I'll feel good, of course, sometimes the panic is so unrelenting that I can't fucking move and when asked what's wrong, I burst into tears.

Glad I'm not the only one, sorry you are another one though, if you know what I mean, I just saw this topic and HAD to reply.

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Posted

big time problem with this too. at some level i have a very high tolerance for clutter, so things can get pretty out of hand. eventually, it crosses an invisible threshold and i start to freak out.

i find the best way to get my place clean is to have company. i will clean up for visitors. but not for myself.

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Posted

Yeah, I'm notorious for that one. When there's too much to do I get overwhelmed, freeze and then can't do anything.

In terms of dealing with it...

~ Music can help. Groovin' to the beat gives the mind something else to focus on besides the anxiety.

~ Set a timer. Make a deal with yourself that you need to clean something for like 20 minutes. It's easier to handle if you know that in 20 minutes you can go hide in the bed. Most of the time, once you get started you will end up cleaning for longer then the alloted time, and even if you don't - you still got something tidied up. 20 minutes of cleaning is still better then zero minutes of cleaning.

~ Get a friend of family member to help, or to even just hang out with you while you clean. Unpleasant tasks can be made easier with pleasant company.

~ If you're at all good at reframing, this can help. Take yourself out of the equation and look at the situation as if you're in the house of a loved one and your loved one is having a lot of anxiety about cleaning the house. It is so often easier to deal with other people's problems then our own. If you can look at it from that angle, it can make the tasks seem less overwhelming.

~ Pick a room, or a section of a room, or a closet - any small portion of the house and just clean that. Large projects are less stressful when broken up into smaller pieces.

Hmm, those are all the ones I can think up off the top of my head. Don't know if any of it is helpful - those are just some of the things I use when the house is a mess. Clutter drives me fucking nuts.

~ May

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Posted

me too.

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Posted

I have one piece of advice: time yourself. Tell yourself you will clean for 15 minutes. Then give yourself a 2-4 hour break.

You would be really surprised at how much you can get done in such a short period of time, yet you will be surprised at how fast the time passes.

I know you can do it!

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Posted

smaller bits are for me less overwhelming than the whole job

I do my dishes in increments. I don't have a dishwasher. So sometimes I start freaking out because there isn't a clean dish in the house. So I watch TV and do my dishes during commercials. Since I've been disabled my whole approach to housework has changed. I can't just rip through the house and have it done in 3 hours. And just like the cats will always poop as soon as you change the litter box, kids will always be right behind you making dishes dirty and leaving their shit all over the house. I stopped bitching a few years ago and just started delegating.

If my kitchen is fairly clean and the bathroom I can deal with the rest not being done.

Wow, I completely agree with you. Kitchen & Bathroom. The rest can wait.

"Cleaning up after children is like shoveling the sidewalk while it's still snowing"

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Posted

I don't have panic attacks about it, but I worry myself to the point of exhaustion about my house. Especially the *laundry* (hate that word).

My best friend recently pointed out the fact that since I can't control my emotiona/mental/physical health, I am transferring that emotion into something I can control. Like the house. A cluttered house makes for a cluttered mind. But how can you fix one when you can't fix the other? Another perk of having MI...more bullshit

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Posted

I get nutty over a dirty house. And what I consider dirty most people wouldn't notice. It's just that I know it's dirty cause I've yet to do it, whatever task, for the week.

But at least we don't have kids tearing up the place. I can usually clean and keep it that way for awhile. Just have the cat hair to deal with.

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Posted

This year, I am going to assign a room to each day of the week, write them on my calender, then spend thirty minutes an evening in that room for the day. So Monday I will spend thirty minutes in my kitchen, Tuesday in my bathroom etc. I have a lot to clean and declutter and that is how I am going to start.

Flylady always says that your house didn't get that way in a few hours, it won't get clean in a few hours either.

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Posted

It's kind of ridiculous how often I feel like I am the only one in the UNIVERSE who experiences stuff like this (hence my search for a support-type place). My husband and I are both pack rats, and our house makes me completely insane. There is crap EVERYWHERE. At least, I feel like there is.

There are great suggestions here - I am in love with the timer idea, and tomorrow is day one of trying it. I also turn on my iPod when I clean because it distracts me from how much work there is to do. Thanks for the advice!

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Posted

Do everything one section at a time. You can simply move your mess to the other side of the room, but at least you can have the peace of mind that one part of the house is clean, then go on from there. Eventually everything will get done, and you know that to be true because of the progress you continue to make by cleaning one part at a time.

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my kids make alot of clutter with their toys...clothes and just about everything!!!!LOL So I sweep everything together and sit on the floor and go through it...that way i dont get out of breathe (I'm 32 weeks pregnant) and freak out about what a mess i have to clean up! and i also dont touch their mess (unless its a have too, spilt milk and such) until they are asleep...If i try to clean up after them i will never stop....I have a BIG anxiey when it comes to a dirty house...thats how i found this board...i was literaly having a panic attack when i sat down and was catching my breath...i just started looking online...reading helps me calm down...the best advice i heard on here was to time myself...20 minutes every 2-3 hours..Or only doing the dishes during commercials....these were great...THANKS FOR EVERYONE INPUT!!!!!!

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Posted

Scatty, how are things going now? Any progress?

I've been trying to be more brutal and throw things away/freecycle them. I can't understand why I'm attached to the weirdest things.

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Posted

Wow, I tottaly felt crazy all day. I'm 18 wks prego and I have soo much anxiety over cleaning and taking care of the house, I feel like there is never enough time for everything to get done. I'm glad to hear that I am not tge only one feeling lke this, and Its good to see this website because I feel like someone understands me. I tried to explain to my husband just how anxious I feel and how much a messy house drains me, I get so overwhelmed that I can't get myself to even start cleaning it. The funny thing is that my house is not even that messy I don't have any kids yet ( only a dog). Just the simple everyday cleaning is what gets to me, the kitchen ( no matter how much u try to keep it clean it still always gets dirty), and the bathroom also you clean it one day and 2 days later there is dust and hair on the floor and spit up on the mirror and soap scum on the glass shower door. Also it doesnt help that I have a messy husband who is sooo clueless about cleaning its ridiculous. He "tries" to help but it just seems like he is halfassing everything. We have been married for 8 years and 2 weeks ago was the first time in my life I have ever seen him clean a bathroom. He did an okay job for a first time it only took me 20 mins to fix whatever he didnt do right... Anywho this weekend all i could force myself to do was laundry and I just sat around all weekend having alot of anxiety. I also work 40 hours a week and I try to cook every other day so that I dont run out of snacks to munch on because it seems like Im hungry every couple of hours. I am completely overwhelmed and worried about how much more there will be to do after the baby is born. Well it felt good to vent, good luck everyone.

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Posted

I agree with WOODNUT. :rolleyes:

Look for places in your house that are bright, feel new. It will indeed give you enough space for smile.

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Posted

I suffer from Narcolepsy, depression and anxiety. For the last several years I struggled and eventually had to go on disability for my illnesses. During those years, I kept tossing things into my spare bedroom when I wanted to pick up the clutter in the house. That room is now so cluttered I cannot even hardly open the door, much less walk in there. So, things started spilling out into the entire house. This place used to be spotless and now it's an embarrassment. It depresses me that it's such a mess, but I'm still depressed so my motivation to fix it sucks. Plus, with my Narcolepsy, I'm always exhausted. I do have parts of days where I feel ok and I try to tackle a corner of one room or do a small task, like all the pros tell you to do, but I still wind up totally overwhelmed and then my anxiety skyrockets. Before long, I'm a complete mess. I've tried doing so many minutes or just one corner, but my mind still sees SO much that it doesn't seem to work for me. The anxiety gets me every time.

Anyone have suggestions how I can turn off the panic button and learn to deal with this a bit better? I simply cannot tolerate my house any longer the way it is.

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Posted

I have had this happen and found that if I break it down and just make a list of all the things that need addressing then pick a few off the list it does not seem so overwhelming

like if it is my bedroom (that is the worst for me I am always afriad I will run across something from my son and loose it) I will pick the closet do that feel good about myself and then do the next thing

smaller bits are for me less overwhelming than the whole job

gardening the same thing ..my yard is MASSIVE and it freaks me completely out to attack it ..but if I say "I will weed just the front left part of the garden today" then it is so much easier

I usually end up doing the whole job but have the mental "out" if I break it down

hope this helps and good luck

also something key for me is music or a radio show I love to put something on that I can listen to and the time flies! TV and I start watching it so that is not good but a listening thing helps loads

I agree with you totally wondernut, this technique has helped me through many long and tedious tasks and you are so right once you get into it often it becomes almost pleasurable and the sense accomplishment factor really can lift the mood.

Colinmichaels

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Posted

You can simply move your mess to the other side of the room, but at least you can have the peace of mind that one part of the house is clean, then go on from there.

THIS is brilliant!

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This is what I do since I lived on minimalist Japan for several years- hope it helps anyone interested: quality not quantity- Put a picture of an ascetic living space such as a Japanese room overlooking a zen garden to inspire you. Think only of the one task at hand. Grab a basket put some stuff in it and sit in your favorite place of the apt or even sit outside to sort things. Get detached. If it's nice and in good condition and for some reason you no longer care for the item: give it to charity. It's a great deed that the Universe will thank you for. Nature is abundant. Live like a cell. Fear not. One day we will leave this earth to probably am afterlife and think of living each time more simply: that's what I'm trying to do. Be honest with yourself. There is much peace found living the middle way and even a little towards the ascetic way. Makes one think about what really maters in life and what really makes us human: the intangible. The ineffable.

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Posted

Messes definitely contribute to my anxiety level. If it's not clean in the house I can't relax all the way, even if I can ignore the mess.

I try and do a little bit everyday and clean up behind myself to keep it from getting overwhelming.

My friends and family all know that if things are getting messy in my apartment, then my anxiety is really kicking in. Having panic attacks makes me push everything else out,

even the stuff that I need to stay calm and relaxed. Someone will usually stop in and help me clean up if I'm struggling.

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Posted

Messes definitely contribute to my anxiety level. If it's not clean in the house I can't relax all the way, even if I can ignore the mess.

Amen!

Oh and then if you live with other people who don't understand why the mess bothers you... anxiety hell!

~ May

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