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Personal hygiene issues remain after depression has (pretty much) left


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I am mostly recovered from the worst episode of depression I have ever had. It lasted about three years, and I've been recovering over the last year - I'd say I've been mostly well for the last six months or so, and of course it's not been a nice tidy straight line recovery. I'm 61 years old and this was probably my seventh? multi-year episode; I quit counting at four or five. 

When I'm well, I keep up with my hygiene fine, but even though I feel pretty good now, I still catch myself wondering when the last time I showered was, and not being able to answer the question. It seems such a huge effort to clean myself when I'm sick, and it often is because I put it off for so long. Now when I finally make myself shower I realize it's not a big deal and doesn't take long, and it definitely makes me feel better, so why am I fighting it so hard? 

I'm lucky to work from home so I don't have to get dressed if I want to (we just use audio, not video, thank god), but I know it's better for my overall mood if I do get fully dressed. This seems like such an easy thing, and the last really depressive-episode-behaviour to keep hanging around. Has this been your experience, and do you have any suggestions on how to get back into the habit of unremarkable and reasonably frequent showers? 

 

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I have a similar issue, especially now that I work from home during COVID (have for 11 months) and nobody can see my greasy hair or smell me.  I have hygiene related rashes sometimes, yet still have trouble showering.  I have had intermittent low mood during COVID, but I've been better for a few months now.  

I wish I knew why I find it so difficult to keep up with.   But you're not alone.

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Like @jarn said, you are certainly not alone.....I have to force myself to take a shower and wash hair.......Mainly I struggle because I have long, very curly hair that takes forever to wash, style and dry.............I schedule my bath days on 2 certain days a week, and literally force myself to just do it......I have found this works for me........I concentrate on how clean I'm going to feel afterwards.

My hair stylist said that washing my type of hair 2x week is perfectly adequate.........My GP doc said 2x week bath is fine for me.....He is of the opinion that bathing every day is not neccessary for most people, unless they have a job where they get really dirty, or if someone exercises a lot and generates a lot of sweat.

Edited by CrazyRedhead
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I used to enjoy daily showers but now I don’t, not sure why. I do have to go to work briefly some days so for that, I shower. Otherwise, I try to set days, like every 3rd day, and I do it. I do feel better afterwards I admit. I especially hate washing my face and sometimes use wipes now, wonder if using wipes would be easier for you?  Seems easier to me than getting wet, and yes that probably makes no sense except to me. 

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20 minutes ago, sugarsugar said:

I used to enjoy daily showers but now I don’t, not sure why. I do have to go to work briefly some days so for that, I shower. Otherwise, I try to set days, like every 3rd day, and I do it. I do feel better afterwards I admit. I especially hate washing my face and sometimes use wipes now, wonder if using wipes would be easier for you?  Seems easier to me than getting wet, and yes that probably makes no sense except to me. 

I used to use wipes...that's actually an idea for me too.  I found them helpful.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is an issue for me as well. I used to be fine when I was always having to go out and see/meet people for work, etc. But now, being at home almost all the time, I find that it’s easy to avoid the shower. Similarly, I have trouble with housecleaning since I almost never have anyone over these days. It’s gotten so bad now that it seems like an insurmountable task. 

As for solutions, I don’t really have any, other than to somehow alter the things that led to this situation in the first place, which seems unlikely to happen. Beyond that, maybe making a schedule that you adhere to? I’m thinking of trying it.

Set an alarm and get up like you have to go in for work, and schedule a shower for sometime within the first 30-40 minutes of getting up. Be dressed and ready to “commute” to work within another 15-20 minutes. The problem, of course, will be actually doing it when you know you really don’t have to. In any case, it’s just a thought.  

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been told it's got a name: avolition

Most of what is out there mentions it as a symptom of schizophrenia but its also a possible symptom of Bipolar and depression and can exist outside depression. While knowing that has not helped me bathe it has let me put a name on it and be more gentle to myself as well as look up what might work.

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