advertisement

Why Don’t We Want to Shower When We're Sick?

March 7, 2011 Natasha Tracy

Self-care, like showering, is difficult for people with a mental illness. Why don't the mentally ill want to do something that feels good like showering?

I know this seems like an odd question, but I was considering it this morning (in my shower). It is a common problem for people with a mental illness. I have a tendency to avoid showering (really) and I know of others with a mental illness have gone weeks without showering.

So, if all we’re talking about is standing in some warm water, why don’t we want to shower?

I think there is a tetrad of reasons, experienced according to mood: fatigue, crazy, self-hatred and pain.

Too Tired to Shower

If you’ve been seriously ill, mentally or physically, you know energy is in short supply. Sometimes it takes the effort of a thousand men just to open your eyes and get out of bed in the morning. Every muscle flex, joint bend, or even a thought is overwhelmingly exhausting.

And if you only have enough energy to accomplish two small goals that day, you might pick eating and paying the power bill. Both of these things are more important than showering. (And of course, you might not be lucky enough to have even that much energy.)

Too Crazy to Shower

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum. Hypomania (mania) is the fastest time on planet earth. Nothing holds my attention long enough to do it and I’m vastly annoyed at how slowly everything moves. I end up finding myself watching TV while doing yoga and writing the first scene of a book in my head. And then I look at the clock. Five minutes have gone by, but in my brain they’ve felt like 60.

And due to my extreme inattention and annoyance at single-threaded slowness, a shower sounds like the most boring thing in the world. Ever. It wouldn’t even occur to me to bother with one.

 

Too Hateful to Shower

Those first two I think are obvious, but I think this one is more subconscious and insidious. I sometimes find I don’t want to shower because I hate my body -- my existence) and therefore don’t want to be naked - rather a requirement for taking a shower. It’s not a conscious lack of self-care, or purposeful denial of pleasure, or low self-esteem, or any other therapy-esque interpretation you’re likely to find. It’s just that me, my body, feels really grimy and I don’t want any further proof of its existence. I want to pretend it’s not there. It hurts less to pretend it, myself, doesn’t exist. (I suspect this is an aspect of dissociation. I'm a dissociator from way back.)

But Showers Feel Good

Ah, spoken like a normal person. No, they really don’t. I mean, sometimes they do, sure. Warm water, citrus bodywash, what’s not to like?

It’s complicated.

When I’m in pain I want to put up additional barriers between me and the world. Some subconscious part of me is thinking extra clothes and blankets over my head will save me from my brain. Being naked removes barriers. And I can’t have that.

And I’m not exactly sure how to explain it other than to say the water is painful. It feels like an attack. It feels like I’m in so much pain already that a breeze grazing my skin makes me want to cry.

And I’m really, really trying hard not to think about that pain. That’s the stuff of death. So the last thing I need is to have shards of water splitting through my skin. I don’t want to shower; I’m in enough pain already.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at the Bipolar Burble, her blog.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2011, March 7). Why Don’t We Want to Shower When We're Sick?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, October 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2011/03/why-dont-we-want-to-shower-when-were-sick



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Michele
says:
December, 28 2015 at 3:05 pm
I was so relieved to read this. I used garden dressed to the t. I was physically fit and looked put together. Since a few breakdowns that has all changed. Showering is exhausting or so annoying because my mind is on the run. I feel so guilty because I'm not the person I was.
Summer
says:
December, 28 2015 at 10:26 am
Thank you for this. THESE are the kinds of personal things that need talked about regarding mental illness. I can so relate; self-loathing, feeling the need to protect a body that I hate by keeping my clothes on- you'll never feel more naked than when you ARE naked. Just...thank you.
missy
says:
December, 16 2015 at 8:18 pm
I am PTSD, bipolar, border personality disorder, and agoraphobia. I finally opted to look up why I don't want to shower, brush my teeth; I wear the same clothes 3 days in a row (cause they're not dirty, I didn't go anywhere and get sweaty and/ or dirty). I spent 4 1/2 years in the hospital from nervous breakdown due to extreme child abuse. I used to be quite festidious about my appearance, hair, wear cologne, shave my body in a regular basis. I haven't been this bad in years. I take 3 different medications to manage my symptoms but lately I'm not noticing any difference. I moved to 5 acres and "discarded" my friends because they hated me and my decisions. (I thought.) I've had suicidal thoughts go through my head but I have too many obligations to carry it out. My first husband committed suicide New Years Eve a long time ago but we had two children with him and am reminded every year and I feel responsible for his death. The constant crying and laying in bed and thoughts running amuck alternated with bursts of happy clean the house, rearrange the furniture, fix the roof on the chicken coupe is leaving me exhausted. I wish I had an answer to all of this and I can't go back to hospital because I have a family.
Ellyn
says:
October, 19 2015 at 4:24 pm
I'm with Deirdre. Seriously. I have major depression (Mdd), PTSD, & Borderline personality disorder... I have actually gone as far as showering twice in one year before when I was agoraphobic. Now I shower about once or twice every couple of months. I have never heard ir really explained so well before, the reasons why but yes yes yes to this entry. Spot on. Folks isolating: l did the same for years... and now and again still do... it's not good. I got way worse since I was untreated and became psychotic. (Now MDD w psychotic features.)
Good luck all!
E
Lmw
says:
October, 13 2015 at 3:11 pm
It's been 8 day's now without showering ..I sit all day to try to psych myself up&get up enough energy.I am struggling here.. I look and feel horrible so whats the use of it(what I try to convince myself when at the end of the night I once again haven't showered)I am on antidepressants and I don't think they're working. It's a struggle and I seriously mean STRUGGLE to eat and get 5 feet out of bed to the toilet. Some nights I realized I hadn't eaten.I bought some ensures and suffice with sipping one. I also isolate.. It's been 7 days since I've had any contact (face to face) contact with any one/thing outside of myself. I live alone. If I go to the hospital it'll be a waste of time I'll just do the same thing there and be annoyed with the presence of people. So what to do? I don't REALLYYYY think the issue here is about showering or lack of.But rather we need to probe deeper to find answers.. Why and what can we do to start living instead of merely existing. Not showering lack of motivation etc.are all signs and signal's of something far more profound than simple depression..
Marianne
says:
September, 13 2015 at 4:12 am
MMM, I can totally relate! I got to this post by a search for "Symptoms don't want to shower or leave the house."

I've been on antidepressants for many years and I don't FEEL depressed but I'm isolating -- I avoid leaving the house because interaction with other people is a chore. For the past several years I shower and brush my teeth only when absolutely necessary to avoid embarrassment.

UGH –– I'm just so tired of being so tired!
Laura
says:
September, 4 2015 at 9:49 pm
When I'm manic & also when I'm depressed I tend to go to bed really late (a good sign that I'm manic or depressed!) and just can't be bothered having a shower so late at night (it also wakes up my husband) I always have one in the morning though. When I'm on top of things I'll even have a shower as soon as I'm home from work... it does feel good and refreshes and revitalizes me too.
Deirdre Oliver
says:
September, 4 2015 at 5:20 pm
Sounds pretty normal to me. Who says we have to shower every day? Or ever? Why is it bad to just give yourself a once over when you start to itch, or when people say you smell bad? (Anyway, judicious use of deodorants takes care of that. Or live somewhere where everyone smells the same). Maybe a visit to a river, lake, dam or beach is a better option anyway. After all, a walk in the fresh air, exercise and the contemplation of nature can distract from the dwelling/ruminations of how awful it all is, is a therapeutic tool that beats a shower any day. If we can force ourselves out of bed go to the toilet we can do anything, like maybe going outside on a sunny day and standing under a sprinkler, clothes and all. That way, you get less smelly and itchy and wash your clothes at the same time (another horrible thought when you're down). Remember the French thought it was disgusting to bathe every day, and the Americans though it was disgusting to NOT bathe everyday, so we can adjust our beliefs ans expectations to suit ourselves, no right or wrong, just, whatever we need at the time. We really shouldn't use not having a shower to beat ourselves up and neither should anyone else. There's enough around that's worth feeling guilty about already. RELAX - stand in the rain!
(And don't dare say I wouldn't understand - 13 years of drugs and Electroshock says "Oh, yes I do")
MMM
says:
September, 3 2015 at 3:55 pm
WOW! I've never seen this topic discussed! I ran across it from Natasha Tracy's bipolar burble blog. (Love ya Natasha!) I think that's why so many chimed in because we recognized it in ourselves and/or loved ones and always wondered WHY we do this. It seems like such a small thing, but yet, we struggle. And it's next to impossible to explain why we can't do it.

Before bipolar disorder came in and wrecked my life, I was OCD about looking my very best everyday. I would spend from about 1- 1 1/2hrs daily on my routine. EVERYDAY without fail. I'd get up way early to ensure that it was done before I would go to work, or anywhere else, or nowhere. I'd heard the phrase somewhere in my life and it stuck, "You only have one time to make good first impression". It was my mantra. I did not want to be caught "not ready" for that opportunity.

Then my major breakdown happened. I started not reaching goals at work which in turn, caused me to get laid off after 12 years of perfect performance. After that I became increasingly anxious and irritable. Diagnosis? Severe manic episode due to bipolar disorder. That was my first trip to the hospital.

Since then (this was over 5 years ago), I just don't care. For a lot of the reasons you have all described: I pulled away from absolutely everyone I know or they turned their backs on me, I felt hopeless and severely depressed, I felt unclean (because of past trauma) and EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING exhausted me. And when I do shower, I usually don't wash my hair because that is just too much and I just wear the same icky hat everyday. And like some of you said too, I have absolutely no place to go so why bother?

My husband HATES this. For a long time, he refused to even try to understand. It was just laziness. I just wanted to scream, "If this were the case, then why do I feel so guilty for NOT doing it"? I would sit there all damned day on my couch and try to psych myself up to do it. And I'd feel worse and worse about myself as the day went on, and then still not do it. That's REALLY hard to explain to someone who has no information about mental illness at all. So he would resent me so much that I could physically FEEL his barbs. He has gotten better, but it's still a battle. Whether I'm depressed or manic or both. I'm a rapid cycler and am not fully stable so I feel out of control and/or deathly depressed.

Anyway, I seriously rambled. Sorry about that. But yes, I can totally relate with everyone here.
Jennifer
says:
September, 3 2015 at 12:27 pm
I can no longer shower with hot water. I would get panic attacks. I just shower with warm water now.
marilyn
says:
September, 3 2015 at 11:57 am
I am so happy to find more information on it, after my 3 breakdowns in three or so years ten years later I still hate to take a shower I can only make myself do it every other day and start dreading the next shower the moment I step from the one I have just taken
Debi
says:
September, 3 2015 at 9:57 am
I avoided showers at the height of a manic state as it seemed to be the place I would have full blown anxiety attacks....I would cry to the point of hyperventilating, unable to stop crying and i would find it so hard to breathe, however no one knew as the sound of water and loud music would drowned most of my vocal anguish ................tho a good cry is always great therapy this total loss of mind and body control scared me so much.....and when at my lowest I would just not have the energy to put myself through something as simple and necessary as self care......
AndiEM
says:
September, 3 2015 at 6:41 am
I can't stop my thoughts when I'm sick. They go so fast and furiously that it feels like climbing a mountain for me to shower. All of these points are things that I can relate with. When I'm that sick and in the shower I always end up arguing with myself, lying in the tub sobbing or battling with myself not to cut. Its a triggery place for me. I have really short hair now so I don't need to shower if I'm feeling really sick.
Sarah
says:
September, 2 2015 at 10:26 pm
I don't suffer from manic depression, however have moderate-severe depressive disorder which makes doing the smallest things incredibly hard! Getting out of bed itself is a huge achievement for me . I don't have a shower, so a bath is the only option for me, I find washing due to that is very time consuming as I have to run the bath, wash and dry my hair. I also find I can spend ages in there due to no motivation to move and I have to get up early/stay up late just to bathe. Also when I'm going through a particularly bad phase of depression I hate myself and I don't see why I should look after myself, in my eyes it's only me, it doesn't matter if I'm dirty/become ill from not eating enough ect. I hope that by not looking after myself some harm will come to me and I'm doing it in a more subtle way which hopefully family members and friends won't see what I'm doing. I hope that this has helped someone knowing that someone out there can relate to them
Sue
says:
September, 2 2015 at 3:56 pm
Thank you!
Sherry
says:
September, 2 2015 at 3:16 pm
I have been diagnosed with clinical depression and taking a shower is exhausting, even just the thought of it. I literally have to talk myself (which could take hours) into taking a shower.
Even then, I still may not take one because it's too late or too time consuming.
Debby
says:
September, 2 2015 at 2:44 pm
It's like you know me, I don't it tortuous to take a shower, even in 90° weather, I'm sweltering, hot, sweaty, but the thought of taking a shower is too hard to comprehend, no energy, self loathing, punishment, being depressed is like constantly living in hell! Even though, after I finally realize I stink, I feel so much better after I shower, I've accomplished something, I feel clean! Mental illness sucks!!
missianne
says:
July, 2 2015 at 2:22 am
My diagnosis is different, but I've lived this my entire life. Long before my diagnosis fifteen years ago, back in my early pubescence, I had to be finagled into showering despite the fact that I was going to school (no mental health days back then). I was almost twenty when I was diagnosed, and I'm only NOW starting to accept the idea that I can control my symptoms to an extent; please note that I'm starting to accept the idea, not actually doing. My diagnosis has changed I don't even know how many times, I've taken just about every drug on the market in just about every combination, and nothing has made me feel that 'normal' I'm supposed to strive for. Self care is such a benchmark in treatment, and I've NEVER actually achieved it. Thank you for writing this-I can finally show people what it's like for me in words they can understand. I've got two BPD's in my family and they're the opposite, Super Shower-ers who spend an hour or more in the water at least once, but often twice or more, a day. Nothing else gets done in their house, but showers are not their problem and they don't understand that it's one of mine.
Valerie
says:
May, 14 2015 at 7:42 pm
& in response to Ridge Taylor.. I hope you find a way to not take it personal when she will not clean. I am not an expert, however I have noticed the same personally traits in my brother and mom who have bipolar. I am assuming it could tie into some of the things mentioned in this blog post. I wish there was more we could do to help, I have learned to just help cleaning anyways even when they don't feel it's needed. And there are also things I have just learned to accept. I wish you well.
Valerie
says:
May, 14 2015 at 7:34 pm
I'm in tears from these comments. My mom and brother have bipolar, and I googled this in order to find some way to make showering easier for them. I will never fully understand your/their pain, but I can tell you that I would do anything to take it away if I could.
Sending light and love to anyone reading this..
-V
r
says:
May, 9 2015 at 3:27 am
The biggest hurdle I face each day is finding the motivation to care about the things that once upon a time mattered. As of this morning I weigh 303 pounds, the heaviest I've ever been because when I'm not working to "support myself" I'm sleeping my life away. I'm drowning in debt. My social life is almost non existent. Basically I feel like a loser 99% of the time. I'm surviving but definately NOT thriving. Every day is a struggle and a challenge. I realize no amount of medication is going to change my life circumstances. Only I can do that. But how do you find the motivation to make the necessary changes when you've lost all hope...

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) it's Mental Health Week (May 4 - 10). I discovered this from a link from in a newsletter at work. So I decided to check out the CMHA website. I discovered they have an 8 week program called "Living Life To The Full". It's quite reasonably priced, works out to about $25 per session. Some of the modules in particular caught my attention because they so aptly describe how I feel, such as "I Can't Be Bothered Doing", "I'm Not Good Enough", etc
Then our local news showcased a segment on Andrea Paquette who also has bipolar disorder. She recently won a Courage To Come Back award from Coast Mental Health.

And for a brief moment I have a tiny glimmer hope...
v
says:
May, 8 2015 at 6:22 am
Just came across your blog and I never thought I would see a topic of not bathing. I have told my therapist that the thought of getting undressed and showering scares me. It makes me feel vulnerable to what I don't know And yes I will wear the same clothes for days I used to love baths, read in the tub and things like that. Now I don't even look in the mirror when I brush my teeth. I am now trying to get aschedule down to help me. Joined a gym and am making myself go just to move. I also have a problem with eating. I can go for days and not eat and not feel hungry at all. So I bought protien shake mix and force myself to habe at least one in the morn and one at night to just get protien in my body. I am also slugging down water to keep myself hidrated Hoping at least some of this will help me manage
Faye
says:
March, 13 2015 at 6:56 pm
Natasha, you have made my month. I have asked my therapist and psychiatrist regarding this very concern and it seemed like I couldn't get anyone with a psychology degree to understand the words coming out of my mouth. I felt 'crazy', no one else feels this way. What's wrong with me if even the doctors didn't know what I was talking about. And you perfectly worded the response I needed to hear. Thank you!
Kelso
says:
March, 2 2015 at 8:40 am
Ridge reading your comment I wonder if it is a bit of both - personality and state?

I cannot be in between. I am either a neat freak or dirty depending on my state, but perhaps your girlfriend finds it too exhausting to be the neat freak and just stays in the 'dirty' frame of mind?
Ridge Taylor
says:
March, 1 2015 at 2:16 pm
I found this while doing some research regarding my girlfriend who is rapid cycling bipolar. She only takes baths and does not do so on a regular basis, maybe it is because of the bipolar (although she is on meds and has been for quite some time). I have only been allowed to go to her home once. The reason why? She says her room is a mess. I ask her to please clean her room so I can come over and it never happens. It makes me feel like she doesn't care about me that she can't even clean her room for me to spend time with her not at my home. Then her car...we have ridden in her car once. Why? Because it is absolutely filthy. I have offered to clean her room for her, I have offered to clean her car...she won't let me and thinks it is perfectly acceptable to have clothes strewn all over the place at her home then come to my home and do it. Is this a quirk of the bipolar even while on medications?? Or is this her personality??
Bibiana
says:
February, 25 2015 at 12:02 pm
One of my worst symptoms is lethargy, and when I am like this I cannot muster up the drive to do ANYTHING, much less shower.
Heather
says:
February, 25 2015 at 10:04 am
My 17-yr-old son doesn't shower. He avoids it like the plague. We have to ask him over and over, until we won't let him leave the house until he does. And even then, he doesn't and he leaves anyway. He has not officially been diagnosed, but he is in outpatient treatment (meds & therapy) for what appears to be the majority of the symptoms describing bipolar disorder. I am so glad you talked about this because we don't understand why he isn't wanting to be clean. We don't understand what he is living with inside his head. Thank you for helping us with this article - and the comments others are making are so helpful too. Many thanks!
Sarah Jennings
says:
December, 24 2014 at 6:10 am
Personally, I care about the people who help me make it through life as a mentally ill person, from my therapist to my grocery store clerk to the mail man to the physician. So, personally, I would never want to punish any of these nice people by smelling unsanitary and turning their stomachs when all they're trying to do is bag my groceries or give me a physical exam. *Nobody* can be paid enough money to justify helping someone who stinks and, unfortunately, the CNA's who probably suffer the most as a result of people being too lazy to bathe are making minimum wage and would be better off answering phones at a spa where the whole point is for everyone coming and going to feel good.

It's not that hard, people. Depending on your motivation needs, pop a Xanax or an Adderrall, turn the dial, lather up, and watch as the world suddenly seems to be a happier place.

There would be be less pollution if y'all bathed more, too, because 75% of the people driving their cars would ride the bus if y'all didn't make it so stank!
Kristal
says:
December, 3 2014 at 1:49 pm
Sometimes I go months without taking a shower. I never really understood why either. Saw this blog and gave it a read. WOW I think I have a better understanding of why I hate bathing and hygiene in general. I never thought of my clothing as a protective layer from reality but it makes perfect since. I do have a pretty good self image, but I rarely ever even look in the mirror. I just tell myself I am beautiful, and I take my word for it. Then I see myself naked in front of the mirror and I'm like wow I should lose weight and maybe shave, pluck my eyebrows etc... Which all takes time and effort which I for whatever reason I seem to have very little of. I've been very ashamed of this and don't talk about it I don't think about it I just know. I have the same of shampoo and soap for and year a half. I guess I'm just grateful that I don't know I'm not the only one. Even though every day I feel like I'm going alone, reading the commits and stories of others feeling and doing the same things I am doing...I feel a little lighter tonight. Thank you
Br
says:
December, 2 2014 at 11:05 pm
"I want to pretend it’s not there." THIS. 100 times this. And for the same reasons I also go to the store - to buy food - in my pjs, looking like a clown but also feeling comfortably invisible, which is the look I'm going for on days like that
Exhausted
says:
December, 1 2014 at 7:13 pm
Sighs*. This is totally me. I do not have the energy to shower. I do take a lot of grandma baths. Warm was cloths or even baby wipes work great. I tend to keep
My face washed every other day, same with my private parts. I worry that I stink
I'm mortified that my husband has to ask me when I showed last. I ask. Do I smell?
No he says. Then I say tell me if I ever stink and I will suffer through a shower.
My arms ache to lift them up to wash my hair. I end up crying in pain just to take a
Shower. Why in the heck would I take a shower more than a few times a month
Scary isn't it? The only times I will take a shower is if I have to go somewhere

But even then I will cancel my dr appointment just becUse I can't shower
That day

So sad
Marie OBrien
says:
November, 5 2014 at 9:50 am
Thank you everyone for sharing. Now I don't feel so alone. It takes so much effort to shower that I feel like if I have an ounce of ambition, I should attempt to do my dishes that I haven't done in a week...or take the trash out. I guess my brain feels that I need to do the tasks that I haven't been able to do...and showering isn't on the lists of priorities. It is so weird because you all know where I'm coming from...and I keep asking myself, WHY is it so difficult??? I actually love taking a shower. I do have a shower chair. I love the smell of the fresh body wash or soap all over my body! I love how I smell when I get out. Instead, I wait til I smell like a zoo before I venture into the shower!It is hell, but at least now I know that is a common occurrence with our disease ~
Doctor Love
says:
October, 5 2014 at 6:16 pm
Thank you. Im glad you can speak this for many of us that cant describe this plight. The water feeling like needles, the disgust with our body, the feeling that its pointless ate things I can completely relate to. But I have to say the biggest problem with showering is the "straw that broke the camels back" routine. It is thay EVERYTHING is too much. Jusy knowing I must refill the hummingbird feeder can ovetwhelm me. I bought a wig to throw on if my hair looks bad, I bought fine tipped permanent markers to use for lipstick and eyeliner because I dont want yo worry about anything. I believe Im having a nervous breakdown.
kristen76
says:
September, 17 2014 at 12:01 am
I thought I was also the only one. It's frustrating. I get so much anxiety when it actually is time for me to shower. I feel so alone with this disease.
Candice Graham
says:
August, 9 2014 at 6:03 am
"Candy says I've come to hate my body
and all that it requires in this world
Candy says I'd like to know completely
what others so discretely talk about.

Candy says I hate the quiet places
that cause the smallest taste of what will be
Candy says I hate the big decisions
that cause endless revisions in my mind

I'm gonna watch the blue birds fly over my shoulder
I'm gonna watch them pass me by
Maybe when I'm older
What do you think I'd see
If I could walk away from me"

"Candy says - The Velvet Underground
Beth
says:
July, 19 2014 at 8:39 am
I just saw this article, I feel so ashamed to say I only shower 1 or 2 times a week bur I do wash off a bit for work. I don't know why, because after I shower I feel regenerated. I just don't have the drive, energy, or that certain something that makes me get up my rear and do things. I get overwhelmed with all my problems in life and what I should be doing but am not. I guess I think I don't deserve to be better, have better, or do better, As a child I was sexually abused by a Aunts husband, and things I remember him saying are, don tell people won't believe you and they will say you are a dirty girl! I also resented when people said my hair was dirty blonde.....I am sensitive as a child, but now the wall I have built up keeps every one out, even those I love. I struggle to do things with family and friends!!! Who I truly love. My husband at the time had the nerve to ask the doctor when I will get over this problem, now he is my X.
Kathy
says:
June, 19 2014 at 12:46 am
I thought I was the only one! Strangely, sometimes it's easier to take a bath - seems like I can hide under the water.
Katy
says:
June, 10 2014 at 4:34 pm
I am relieved to see this topic. I thought this was just me, and have feared telling anyone. There is no one to tell, anyway. Sometimes I'm so totally immobilized that I cannot summon the energy to do anything relating to personal care. Also I have severe arthritis, which makes it painful to do most anything. I live alone, I have a dog who is my family, I take good care of her. Other than her I have no one. So why bother doing anything for myself. I just don't care.
Bron
says:
June, 9 2014 at 9:11 pm
Omg im a little worried now about this not showering thing. I have been like this for many yrs where I only shower when I have to leave the house mostly which tends to be about 3 times a week. Im seeing a lot of my patterns in my children though 3 of my 4 children hate to shower or wash but 1 of them dont mind having a bath. Im worried this is a trait of bipolar disorder in my children to. I also do a DBT course where a lot of people with mental illness have shared they hate to shower to. Seems to be a very common pattern I am seeing. Its very sad that we think we dont have to bother having a shower or even that we are not worth the worry about looking or smelling nice.
Holirock
says:
June, 4 2014 at 1:01 pm
My son is 22 and can go months without showering or changing his clothes. Needless to say his order becomes hard to tolerate and it gets to the point I have to insist he wash up and change his clothes. I am wondering if there is a more effective way to encourage at least minimal hygiene?
Danny
says:
June, 2 2014 at 5:37 am
Fabulous! I tweeted it to #mhsm #mentalhealth ... A while ago now, I reported to my partner that "showering is painful" and that "water stings," but I had no basis for believing it had anything to do with bipolar disorder... Of course it does! Thank you for explaining that to me!
Robyn
says:
May, 23 2014 at 1:37 pm
I have the same issue when I'm moderately to severely depressed. It just seems like too much to do when my brain is already completely overloaded and overwhelmed.
Cary
says:
May, 10 2014 at 1:26 pm
I have difficulty with caring for myself as well. When I go into a severe depression -which I am in right now- I have little desire to live or do anything at all. After getting on Abilify I gained 60 pounds in a year. So I have two reasons why I find myself too paralyzed to shower: I hate seeing and touching my body and I get so depressed I can't get out of bed.

-Bipolar II and former anorexic
judy hall
says:
March, 17 2014 at 9:01 am
I can't tell you how glad I am to see this post. I a terrible time showering, shampooing my hair or any sort of personal grooming most of the time. Teeth brushing and flossing are the only things I do and I have developed an OCD issue with that. I've always thought I must be a real "slug" because I didn't pay attention to my self-care. I believe I'm in a "who cares?" mode a lot of the time and other times feel like I just don't have the energy. I hate this behavior and myself for engaging in it, but it seems that no amount of desire, planning or self-contempt can change my ability or thought about this. Thank you my friends, for allowing me to find that I am NOT the only one who battles with this.
Deborah Polard
says:
March, 8 2014 at 12:40 pm
The title of this blog caught my attention because I've experienced so many of the symptoms that others have to cope with too. It is exhausting!

When I'm in a depressive phase, the thought of showering is so distasteful that I have gone a week or two without one. My body becomes dirty and more than a little smelly. I try to combat that with sponge baths. My face comes first. Then I care for the more personal parts of my body. Afterward, I apply a strong deodorant, spritz myself with a favored fragrance and attempt to find clean underwear. (Having clean clothes is a bonus!) Thankfully, I've discovered a decent dry shampoo.

Sounds like a lot of work, no? To me it is better than removing all my clothes and exposing my hideously naked and vulnerable body to the frigid air. It's better than going through the hair washes, the conditioning, the styling etc., and then standing sopping wet and freezing to death on my cruddy bathroom floor. The long length mirror screams at me and reinforces my BDD.

Yes, a fresh shower can ultimately make you feel better. It's the choice that makes sense. No excuse! I've got loads of towels and a blue terry bathrobe.

If I'm going to church that day, I'll reason with myself and drag myself into the shower. If not, I'll skip another day. As long as I don't repel others or make them gag, the world needs to accept me as I am! (BPII depression, BDD, OCD, borderline PD)

But on a good day, I can become indestructible!!!
Olivia Herman
says:
January, 25 2014 at 1:11 pm
Hi Natasha, first time reading your blog I got here by Binging Bi-polar and intelligence. I found your blog I read that blog and happened to see the other subjects like not taking a shower. Well I read that blog and said to myself omg thats me! I have Bi-polar disorder. Notice I didn't say AM Bi-polar. I find that just reinforces your attitude that you are a sick puppy. I have problems taking a shower, after reading your blog I know why. It is painful for 1, I don't have the energy 2 I dont care 3. If I don't have to go anywhere or if I know no one will be coming over, I say later then 3 days go by then later its been a week. Usually something comes and I have to get in there. What makes me mad is I should have gotten in there along time ago.
I had Major Back Surgery a year ago. I have Fibromyalgia, Arthrtis, in other words Chronic Pain. If I lay in bed I have racing thoughts about what I want to get done. I feel guilty and beat myself up self-loathing comes to mind. I am Mentally and Physically exhausted. I am under Psych care take my meds which make me fat, and have annoying side effects, always wanting to give me a pill for the other pill I'm taking.I feel like I'm drowning and space is closing in on me, and someone wants me to get in a tiny shower and just get it done. Easier said than done. I am so glad I found this place. Thanks Natasha and all who find this place.
phenomenal thoughts
says:
January, 18 2014 at 5:07 pm
In my case,I'm a empath (if it makes you feel better to just plainly refer to me as a empathetic person you may,I know the truth along with my friends and loved ones) I live with a person with narcissistic personality disorder,every single day for the last 4 years he's told me how I'm not good enough,and how everything I do is wrong,I know I need to leave asap but lets just say(with out getting to personal that I can't leave)it's done something messed up to me,I began not being able to find it in me to shower,without over exaggerating,in the last year,I've showered maybe 15-20 times,I don't know if its because I hate my self or because its been embedded in my head that I'm worthless,I just don't know
arae
says:
December, 17 2013 at 7:27 am
As I sit here I know it is time to shower but just can not seem to get motivated enough to do so....EVERYTHING that I have read here is so me. I do not want to shower! It is so overwhelming.. My husband works so hard everyday and I cannot seem to do the smallest of task.. "sigh" My therapist has given me a to do list to get motivated and I am to get up, take a shower, fix my hair and face and go some where to walk for about 30 min a day to get a routine going...yeah right! Have not started this as of yet.. My husband gets mad. I cant say I don't blame him I mean what the heck! I am bipolar and SICK OF IT!
sandracobban
says:
November, 29 2013 at 9:03 am
Right on again,Natasha.
When manic it's such a BIG deal!takes like
An eternity.
Yes I experience almost feelings like shards of glass fr the water.

Plus,depressed I'm just too tired to even go to the bathroom let alone....
Takes all your energy,doesn't seem important.
Plus hate my body now after the gain from the meds...

Ironically,I loathe showers only take them in hospital.
Baths I just love...soak for ages lots of herbal bubbles...but depressed don't bathe,but the OCD makes me not wait too long ...besides it helps my pain & meds for it work faster.
I believe hot baths help prolong relaxation particularly herbal,my fave is chamomile.
Very lovely/ gentle on skin....it's a coping mechanism for me...
I almost always achieve some relaxation from a bath.
Right now feel sleepy,recently emerged from the tub.
I don't push it when depressed.
I know I will come around in few days,usually.......as I always feel better so continuously
tell myself that.
Jay
says:
October, 26 2013 at 11:25 am
Diane, Thanks for posting your experience. I'm going through that same experience with me wife, who was a friend from many years ago before we married recently. Didn't realize her depression was going to be forever, and would happen with me. Tried to get help for her using methods and advice from the behavioral health medical system, and she got mad and ran away. She is doing just what you have done, and I continue to reach out to her, ask her to come home, remind her I love her.



Bfoofoo.... reading your post is just what I've seen and heard from my wife too. The frustrating thing is that as informed loved ones, we want to help, and we recognize there are a variety of reactions out there, and its an informational "mine field" when as a spouse or family member we try to get professional guidance to help our loved one.

Leave a reply