Now for many people reading that title, they may be wondering what on the Earth I am talking about. Surely we all know the importance of showering? We are taught from infancy about keeping clean and self care. We are taught to brush our teeth twice a day. Brush our hair. Shower or bathe. Keep our finger nails trim. The basics of self care are ingrained in us. For most people, these daily tasks are done without thought. They are programmed into our day. Part of the routine of day to day life.
But what happens when the routine of day to day life unravels? What happens when suddenly leaving the house feels like too much to bear? When getting dressed is beyond your capability? What happens when depression takes hold making even basic self care seem like hard graft?
When I feel low, I hibernate. I cocoon myself in the warmth and security of my bedroom. I don’t move. I don’t really even think. And before I know it, all of these ingrained routines have fallen away.
And it’s a cycle that needs to be broken. Because the reality of not getting dressed and not showering is pretty gross. Your skin feels horrible. You don’t want to leave the house because of how you look. Your hair starts to itch. You feel dirty. And that is not good for the soul. It’s like a physical representation of how you feel inside. And it perpetuates how you feel meaning you are trapped in a fog of depression.
I’ve been trapped in that fog for the last few days. I had a couple of really low and anxious days that saw me start to hibernate. I didn’t leave my room. And the festering began. Gross I know, but that’s depression for you. On Saturday I was really lifted by a visit from my sister. I got out of the house. I laughed. I felt like the fog had lifted. But yesterday, I didn’t feel well. Since miscarrying, I get really painful cramps when my period is due. They make me double over. And so I stayed in bed. Not because I was feeling down, but because I was feeling ill.
But I could feel the fog descending. Because I am vulnerable right now and when my body feels dirty and I’m curled up in bed, the associated feelings of depression creep back in.
So today, when I woke up feeling so very low, I forced myself to shower. And now I have energy again! I have a smile. I still feel vulnerable but I don’t feel overwhelmed. For me, if I’m going to stay on top of my depression I need to stay on top of basic self care. Seems straight forward, I know, but when you have depression, nothing really seems straight forward anymore.