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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 19 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.

Pauline
says:
October, 25 2013 at 5:11 am
I used to love showers. Now, it takes real effort to do so, especially when I'm in a depression or manic episode. I feel sick most of the time. I force myself to take a shower every 2-3 days, even when my hair is stringy after one day. I'd rather stay in bed, but I work part time and have to get dressed. My fiance is my lifeline. I have no family except for my daughter, who is 1200 miles away and has her own family to deal with. Today I'm in a depressed state, and can't think of anything, let alone a shower. I am bipolar 1.
Legina
says:
October, 16 2013 at 9:29 am
I had been experiencing this for years. Then I was diagnosed bipolar. Since the diagnosis, I still find this crazy, but I find myself still doing it. I remember in a therapy session mentioning it to my therapist and she was like that was new information to her. She had never heard of that before. I'm thinking, ok I know I am not the ONLY one, but I didn't what to ask or who to ask. Now, I share this information wherever I can. Hopefully, the ones with the advance college degrees will learn a thing or to.
judy
says:
October, 2 2013 at 5:30 pm
Diane - so sorry to hear of your experience. It is all too familiar. I don't think it's possible for anyone to understand if they haven't gone through it themselves. It is exhausting.

I wish you well.
Diane Osgood
says:
October, 2 2013 at 12:54 pm
I left my husband while manic and it ended in divorce. I moved to another town to distance myself from my old life. My family pretty much disowned me and I lost any kind of support system I had. My family doesn't understand bipolar or how it affects my life, as if anyone would choose to live like I do. Once the manic phase wore off, I went into a deep depression that lasted for years. I tried many therapists and psych doctors. I was misdiagnosed for years. I didn't shower because I had no where to go other than doctors appts., drugstore or for food. I thought if I didn't have to leave the house there was no sense in showering. I was almost an automatic daily thought. A very small part of my brain told me not to give up and I finally found the right doctor and therapist. I'm doing well on my current meds, but have been unable to try to reach out to old friends or make new friends to create a support system. I also have a multitude of physical problems which makes it harder to function. I live in a rural area which makes it even harder to make new friends or create a support system. My daughter and my son have stood by me in the toughest of times, but they work and have families of their own. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent. I love your blog.
bfoofoo
says:
September, 16 2013 at 2:53 pm
Because I have nowhere to go

I guess I tend to shower/do my hair/makeup if I'm going somewhere. What's the point of showering if I'm going to spend the day in bed with my laptop?

Showering/hair/makeup is also called getting ready. It's kind of hard to "get ready" when you don't have anything to do. I do wash my face/brush my teeth though.

Here's hoping tomorrow is better. I do plan to take a shower at some point.
j
says:
September, 6 2013 at 11:48 pm
showers/having wet skin make me feel utterly disgusting. i also have had bad joints since my teen years, so any use of my legs is super-painful. drying off-- *really* feeling dry-- can't happen quickly enough, which leads to irritability or outright explosions, me storming out of the shower every night, grumbling, "why do we effin have to shower?! i effin HATE showers; i feel so gross!", etc. when i'm feeling my worst, it doesn't occur to me to shower, either-- unless i plan to have sex. knowing that i'm dirty only makes me feel worse about myself, but there is just no reasoning with my brain. it's on self-destruct mode, and there's no "off" switch. :(
Maxcine
says:
July, 31 2013 at 3:55 pm
FINALLY! you put it into words for me! Thank you I love your blog it helps so much to understand what I have been dealing with for over thirty years.
Jan
says:
July, 8 2013 at 8:38 am
When depressed, the shower feels like thousands of needles trying to penetrate my skin. The act of washing my hair and body, then drying them and then having to blow-dry my hair is absolutely exhausting. The whole process takes 35 minutes when well. Can you imagine how awfully long and exhausting the process is when moving your body feels like you are drowning in a pool of clay?
judy
says:
June, 30 2013 at 10:18 am
I can definitely relate to the first half. When showering ceases, it is usually associated with a deepening depression. Everything is just sooo exhausting. My limbs feel like lead.
strugglingme
says:
June, 11 2013 at 12:58 pm
can totally relate! im often too tired to deal with everything that comes with taking a shower. and its cold when i take my clothes off no matter if i have a space heater in there with me or not. i cant ever get the temperture right so im always either being attacked by freezing or scalding water...or so it seems to me. i love being clean and smelling good. but alot is to be said for some soap and a wet washcloth.
rachel
says:
May, 13 2013 at 5:58 pm
I have this right now and don't really understand why,when well I can maintain a good hygiene routine.
I had not thought about it being a painful experience but as I read a light went on , so thank you yet again
Sabina
says:
May, 9 2013 at 8:56 am
Dear Natasha
I have experienced some elements of this. A shower kind of wakes you up to the world, and that's exactly what you want to hide from. Your ability to express and explain things totally fascinates me. I am an abstract thinker and find it difficult to put the things I know into words. I often read things and think: 'That's exactly what I want to say'. Love this and will follow you.
Rhonda
says:
April, 19 2013 at 4:20 pm
R u kidding me. U people r telling my life story. Its as though you are spying on me. In addition I am getting older losing what little looks I had. What's the point knowing I have no where to go and if I did know one would find me attractive anyway. Doing nothing for such a long time has made it hard to do anything. It hurts! Lifting my hands to wash my hair made my hands tingle. Drying my hair was even harder. It felt like a waste of clean cloths to get dressed. Just added to the laundry. What a cycle. I have since started studying the bible with Jehovah's Witnesses at my house and is worth the effort to get cleaned up for the time they share with me teaching me about the bible. It is still very hard. I spend a lot of time crying when they r here. I am thankful for their fellowship at my house. They don't judge me. At times they even cry with me.They recognize my bipolar as real and r sincere in wanting to help me. I am new on this sight and am happy to have found it thanks to all of you.
Sherieto
says:
April, 19 2013 at 4:19 am
I try so hard to avoid this "no showering" episodes that I have I just don't feel good about myself and thus I don't care how I look. I am now a stay at home mom I used to work as a CPA in a professional setting so I always had to look my best well groomed dressed professional and now I put on my fuzzy pajama pants, fuzzy socks fuzzy warm robe and that makes me feel like I am in a big hug. Good thing the kids don't care how I look they still love me I am here when they get off the bus and I still have to care for them no matter what I love them and they are my life. Showering takes so much effort to just get in and I think too much in the shower when I am depressed is when I go through the not showering faze and I have negative thoughts about myself and how I am a failure I am now on disability because of my mental illnesses I am bipolar 2 with depression and personality disorder I think so much about who I used to be and now I don't really have a purpose or a reason to be I know I am a mom and I am trying to raise them the best way I can they are both smart and have lots of friends and I will force myself if needed to do what I need to for them. I love the feeling of being in my comfy safe clothing and showering is just one of those things I have to force afterwards I do feel better I try to put makeup on dress up and do the whole bit I used to never ever leave the house without a shower or makeup now I run from the thought of a shower
Christy
says:
April, 16 2013 at 9:32 am
I can't say that I hate to shower but I hate to blow out my hair. I have Bipolar 2 and just haqte the fact that when I shower that I have to style my hair. really it only takes about 10 mins but it bothers me none the less. I enjoy my showers! I wish everybody could be in the same boat as me....I'm sorry you all feel the way you do... best of luck to you!
Beth
says:
April, 15 2013 at 12:41 pm
I thought I was the only one.
lisa
says:
March, 24 2013 at 12:13 am
thank you so much for bothering to write this. i don't have bipolar, just anxiety, depression and aspergers sydrome, yet, apart from the speeding/ slowness thing, i could identify with what you said. it is a relief to read someone else name these states.
i will add something, that will sound a bit disgusting, but sometimes, i just want to claim my own smell, like soaking in myself and not having to strip myself of everything just to face the world, which i don't want to face anyway... this phase only lasts a couple of days. i can't go longer than 3 days without a shower or bath. i miss having about bath, they are very good when i am dizzy, i don't have to stand up in a bath...
Laurel Lewis
says:
March, 17 2013 at 9:35 am
YES! YES! YES! I hate to shower, brings up all kinds of triggers....thought I was the only one. Everyone talks about their bathrooms like they are sanctuaries and my childhood experiences say differently. Wow, I just never really thought of it like this.....Thank you!
Bernadette
says:
February, 25 2013 at 4:22 pm
I sit here crying, overwhelmed by this article on not showering. I feel that I have FINALLY found the answer to a question that has plagued me for many years. I am not disgusting, I am not gross. I feel that showering is physically painful on my skin. My body aches as the "shards" of water touch my skin. I avoid it as much as possible. I go about a week between showers, and then it is only out of shame that I force myself to shower. Thank You so much for this article. I am Grateful to you.
Paula
says:
February, 5 2013 at 7:34 pm
People!! I have come up with the perfect solution to the showering-and-tooth-brushing problem!! I have often thought of the dislike of showering, and why it exists, everyone has pretty much covered it. For me, yeah no energy. Too cold. Won't see anyone because I used to be an RN, but on SSDI for six years. Oh, I have gotten jobs, I can be a great 'show pony' but cognitive deficits get me fired. And a lot of times I feel 'paralyzed' just can't move off the couch or bed, just to pee or a quick bite. And I JUST DON'T WANT TO BE NAKED! So unlike me in the old days...but this here is the answer to your prayers, my fellow smelly friends! WIPES!!! And also, there are these little tiny disposable toothbrushes, must cater to the OCD'ers! Now, you may cleanse your face, neck, pits and privates with the wipes if you are feeling really gross, from the comfort of bed or couch.As well, when your teeth are getting WAAAYYY too fuzzy, don't even need water for the little toothbrushes. And it does feel really good to have the minty fresh breath, get rid of the mittens your teeth have been wearing.

Lastly, go to the old folks section (or request a loyal friend if it's a bad day) and get some waterless SHAMPOO! It does wet your hair, but doesn't need to be rinsed out, just dry with a towel. What is so cool for me, somehow I do manage to drag my ass out of the house to get my hair bleached, then a girl curls it. I made it through to a MONTH over the holidays without totally washing my hair. And it is long and BEAUTIFUL, just at night scrunch it up in a clip, morning if you gotta go somewhere shake it out, finger comb and SPRAY!!! Waterless shampoo just the roots when they start looking greasy.

This also works GREAT when you are forced to leave the house, but you put off getting out of bed until the last possible minute. All you really need to do before you leave the house is use the wipes and put on clean clothes. BTW, there is Clinical Strength Deo-for-your-B.O., lasts a couple days, keep a travel size in my car. So in the car you can use the mini-toothbrush, put on your deodorant, fix your hair and swipe on some lipstick if you wish. SHOW PONY! Hope this helps, I feel your pain <3
Gwen
says:
January, 1 2013 at 1:20 am
Hi Natasha,
Thank you for writing this article, it makes perfect sense. I've had severe depression for years and I never knew that my hatred for showering was connected to it. It kind of calms me to know this! It really is amazing how mental disorders can make every little thing so daunting. Even more amazing is how difficult it is for the general public to realize this... I hope someday people might be more accepting.
Cheers,
Gwen
Rhoda Bonnen
says:
December, 28 2012 at 11:34 am
I detest showers. I wish I could take one just any
time as my sister does. My last shower was in Oct., 2012. I smell bad so I must force myself to take a shower tonight (Dec. almost Jan, 2013) I wish I were normal. I'm mostly okay and well- managed. I must change my sheet and now-black
pillow case before I bathe. I have to do too much to bathe: Drop something clean for my clean feet to step onto after the bath. I put a clean night-gown to put on after the bath, I pick up towels, etc., to put them in the wash or hang them to dry.
I know this is stupid, but I wish the bath/shower would be soft like fur. It's impossible though.


Rhoda
Rhoda Bonnen
says:
December, 28 2012 at 11:26 am
I detest showers. I wish I could take one just any
time as my sister does. My last shower was in Oct., 2012. I smell bad so I must force myself to take a shower tonight (Dec. almost Jan, 2013) I wish I were normal. I'm mostly okay and well- managed. I must change my sheet and now-black
pillow case before I bathe. Hold your nose.


Rhoda
April
says:
December, 14 2012 at 2:04 pm
I really had to read this article when I saw it listed because I was just trying to figure out why I don't do it and to explain it on my disability application. I wanted to convey how even taking a shower sometimes is hard.
I just hate taking all my clothes off and it seems like so much work. My bathroom is yucky too even when it is clean. It makes me feel gross just being in there because the tub is stained from the previous tenants and nothing I do makes it feel clean enough.
I have eczema and arthritis too so it literally hurts to take a shower. I am glad I am not working now so I don't need to take one every day like I used too.
I think you should do an article about not brushing your teeth since it seems like a bunch of us have that problem. I know I should and just had to have two teeth removed this year but it seems like too much work.

April
Aeda
says:
December, 4 2012 at 12:34 am
Hi. Thank you so much for the honest sharing. Wow.. this really makes me to understand the whole 'dont-want-to-shower' thing from another deeper perspective. I kind of get that showering is not just a physical thing. It's actually a mental / psychological thing to do. 'Dissociate'.. something for me to learn to understand. Thank you again for sharing.
coco smith
says:
September, 30 2012 at 7:21 pm
think about when u were a kid and what had made showering fun. a little toy some good sweet shower soap or maybe singing and watching your reflection in the water.

they also have digital waterproof radios specifically for showers. they sell them online as well. maybe put on some music and wash all your cares away.
coco smith
says:
September, 30 2012 at 6:41 pm
I hate to say this but I feel compelled to. But showering has to be part of life. It is the reason why we are part of this ocean of wonder...think about it as being part of an aquarium floating around weightlessly bathing in a sea of goodness..

I found this poem thought it would be interesting it is titled "shower with you by josh crummer" from barebackmag it embodies the sensuality of the human form as it is in its most simplistic state like in a state of transcendence. He describes " that bodies melt as one and as amoebas we must return to the ocean unashamed and free"
Max
says:
September, 26 2012 at 10:39 pm
Hi Natasha !

Great post ! made me laugh too :) Thanks .. Hey ! can we be online friends ?!!


Regards.
Bonney Lake Mom
says:
September, 25 2012 at 6:34 am
Wow! This hit home for me! When I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar 2 in addition to my prior diagnosis of major depression I was finally relieved to have a name to identify it with. Shortly thereafter after severe depressive bouts occuring every 2 months or so I started to realize I needed to be self-aware and find predictors so I can "catch" it before a bout would start. While there wasn't a whole lot I could do to prevent it at least we could hit it head on. One of the first things I realized is that I don't brush my teeth... which made me laugh and cry at the same time. But it was subtle enough that my boyfriend could "notify" me when he thought a bout was coming. Other symptoms would arise as well but we brush our teeth together so it was what he would notice right away. Sometimes I wouldn't recognize that I was headed towards a downward spiral but he would and he would tell me. When he knew it was coming I gave him permission (before the bout) to physically force me to get dressed, take a walk, take a shower, eat etc... Because we knew I wouldn't do those things if left to my own devices. Preparation is key. I do feel like my bouts were shorter when we learned how to see them coming and when he "made me" get up and get out it encouraged my brain to recover. He got me outside which helped during the winter especially to get extra Vit. D. Now that I've been consistantly on the same dose of Lamictal (150 mg a day) for almost a year now, my depression is almost non-existent. My super rare bouts now last a half day and are very mild. So I take a nap and usually I'm fine. Thank God for Lamictal as I have had no more "yucky thoughts" as I call them (a.k.a suicidal thoughts) either. I am now on day 2 of Pristiq because I also have A.D.D. (which I have had for over 30 years now), PTSD (My H.S. tennis coach physically attacked me when I was 16; I believe attempted rape) and to top it off 2 years ago severe anxiety / strange phobias started after a concussion I suffered after I hit my head then worsened even further due to a car accident a few months later... grr! (Whew!) It's not been fun to try to treat 4 intertwining issues but I feel very lucky to have my 3 kids and boyfriend to encourage me along. I am functioning ok (self-employed working 16 - 20 hours a week) even though I have been through at least 7 medicine trials to get my other issues to settle down. But defeating my depression was job 1. Keeping me stable and alive had to happen first. I am blessed! Your site is now bookmarked... it's healing to know we are not alone. Tom Cruise makes me SO mad. What we have is VERY real and yeah it IS all "in my head" (literally) ... people can't see past their noses I suppose. People don't commit suicide because it is "made up". I would never wish upon anyone the mental anguish I have been through on anyone. But suffering has made me more compassionate and has made me SO very grateful to be in America where I can seek help rather readily. So many don't have that option. Great site!
martin cardozo
says:
September, 22 2012 at 9:51 am
Oh...i forgot one very important thing...why i don't shower and do all those things that need to be done?
PUNISHMENT! for being weak, for being helpless and for not fighting against all those things that you think you could do, only if you only have extra strength to go on!
PASSIVE DEATHWISH: life is unfair for bipolar people. no matter what the doctors or therapists say that it's the chemical imbalance(stupid!)we should be able to accept and embrace it just like a diabetic person or one that is suffering from cancer: i am NOT discounting their pain and seriousness of their illness - but I envy them.

With their mind being clearer compared to us, they could work with lesser disurbance and can be efficient, promoted and soar! They (can) have no-depleting COURAGE!
martin cardozo
says:
September, 22 2012 at 9:24 am
i don't shower.i don't change my shirt. i don't eat,. meaning cook or dtive to McDonalds or even shabby restaurants. i don't wash the dishes even cockroaches climb them like Mt. Everest,i don't brush my teeth, i don't watch tv, collect my laundry, hop in my car and go somewhere, i don't go to the gym, i don't call my wife and kids (living in 2 different states), i don't pay my bill even if it's over due or they've cut off my phone service twice, i don't call my office or answer their calls or text messages, one time i purposely drop my samsung note in the toilet and peed on it (i got a cheaper phone now) i don't open my laptop, nor look into my e-mails.

these are what i could or forced to do: i have to pee, my body forces me to get out from the bed,command my left and right leg to move one in fornt of the other. sometimes i have to shit (certain muscles furces you to do it)even if i don't have not eaten anything, i make coffee and sip the top quarter of the cup...but most of all:
i sleep, 24 hrs most of the days, my waking hours is only to pee and...or if i can't sleep anymore due to oversleeping, i read books, or re-read old issues of TIME or Newsweek...

and this goes on for 4 days, sometims they're the 2 day weekends with Thu and Fri with it or Monday and Tues with it. Or I only work on Monday and Friday. And I'm the head of the interior design department with 6 people under me and at leat 1 projects running at the same time.

All because I could feel the "overwhelming" mental confusion settling, my mind is getting disorganized and my spirit goes limp on my body.

Why do I force to sleep? So that in my sleep, I could live in another world, through my dreams and nightmares, I'm a different person. Why do I read? To "dumb" my mind and the "painful chatter" it brings. There is nothing I could do, until it ceases and leave me for a while...but deep within it, i feel the sel-pity, the unfairness of these things happening, you also are worried about your work and the office and it pains you that you are helpless to do it...

I know it when it's gone...I'm refreshed and my mind is clear, and like a scattered pearls, I could sring them all together, I could see right trough them. All the things I refuse or has no energy to do...done i a day, shower and shaving included.

Back in the office, I come back like as if nothing happened, then I'm in command. Pissed off clients I could charm to cool down even over the phone...

Good luck..enjoy it while it lasts...another episode is just another corner. But life is realistic and can't wait or let your BP behavior like having a carte blance...I was fired from that company which
I founded, 20 years ago...i understood and i have actually offered to resign before...

For people like me who are into professional practice, it is a common concern and focus of pain is about not being able to work effectively, or get things done...that is the focust of my mental chatter and my pain...
coco smith
says:
September, 14 2012 at 11:50 pm
u can turn the shower head to adjust the water pressure so it feels like a short mist instead of a spray. sometimes just running the faucet helps in the sink. let ur hands touch the water to make sure the temperature is ok and test the pressure the smaller the pipe the less amount of water will come out.
coco smith
says:
September, 14 2012 at 11:46 pm
the thing about a shower is that it gives u a clean amount of water every time it seeps out. If you have a hard time adjusting to the temperature turn the hot and cold knobs and experiment i tend to turn the cold one first but that's just me.

if you don't feel like stepping in the shower you can use a bucket but the thing is it might not be clean cus you just keep using the same water.

and in hospitals they make u sit in a chair sometimes if u don't feel like standing up.
coco smith
says:
September, 14 2012 at 8:23 pm
Showering seems monumental to some but to others it can be seen as a spiritual cleansing. Washing out the bad thoughts and replacing them with good thoughts. Singing and so forth. If nothing else just start with soaping up arms and so forth just the whole essentials armpits lowers and face. It'll make you feel better even if u don't always wash your whole body but keep it fresh with douches sometimes running the tap and washing in it seems less scary so maybe do that first.

Just imagine that if you do this simple thing like washing your face at least you'll have the strength to maybe wash yourself daily. Baby steps.
coco smith
says:
September, 14 2012 at 7:55 pm
I think you're right In some ways that makes sense. If we don't shower those "shards" won't shatter our already tightly stretched thin barrier of our psyches. It leaves us feeling different. But isn't change necessary in that aspect to free our minds?

Sometimes I feel that if i step in the shower my whole head will explode and I will turn into an gibbering maniac but i figure it can't be any worse than where i am now so why the hell not?
Natasha Tracy
says:
September, 3 2012 at 7:54 am
Hi Inez,

You're welcome.

As for reposting, no, I'm sorry but all content here is owned by HealthyPlace and subject to copyright. You may post a quote from the article, and then link to the rest.

Thanks.

- Natasha
Inez Holger
says:
September, 3 2012 at 6:49 am
Natasha,
Thank you so much for sharing about something most people attribute to laziness. May I repost this on my blog for sufferers of severe mental illness and their caregivers?
kaitlin panda
says:
July, 26 2012 at 8:34 am
Hooray, I feel less disgusting now. :)
Alexandria
says:
July, 25 2012 at 1:00 am
Holy cow this is SO true! I never understood that subconscious aversion to taking showers. You hit the nail on the head. When manic, I find showers to be a worthless excuse of my time. When depressed, I was more inclined to conver up than shed all my clothes and "cleanse" myself when I didn't feel like being cleansed...

Great post!
Ernie Richards
says:
July, 21 2012 at 11:48 am
I suffer from bipolar 1. Without fail during my depression cycles, I do not have the energy nor desire to shower/bathe. This can last for up to several weeks. I believe this is because I also do not want anything to do with the world. I hide from the world, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Carole
says:
June, 30 2012 at 2:37 pm
I have had trouble with showering and have gone more than a week without showering or washing my hair. I hate my shower, it is dark, small, low water pressure. When depressed I can hardly make myself get out of bed, much less take a shower. Now I go to the Y and exercise for 30 minutes 3 times a week and take a shower afterwards. Then it feels good washing the sweat off my body.
SithSnoopy
says:
June, 25 2012 at 12:42 pm
I have OCD and Depression. Love swimming in a pool. But showering and brushing my teeth, not so much, lol.

My son has mild autism. He may have OCD, don't know yet. He loves baths. He dislikes being rinsed off with the shower head after his bath, especially if I'm rinsing his hair off. I sometimes use a cup instead.

Huh, does it feel worse to have to wash your hair than to just wash your body? It feels to me like having to deal with my hair, shampoo and conditioner, is, well, a big deal!

I shower for work, although on rare occasions, have done a spit bath in order to get in earlier and not have to deal with my hair, etc. I often miss showers on the weekend. Seems like too much trouble.

I know we lose electrolytes when standing in the shower. Is that part of the problem? We're depressed, low energy, and the idea of trying to move around and get clean while rinsing away more of our energy is too much! Taking a shower feels like the start of a huge project that once started, we have to follow through to completion no matter what.

Maybe I should start taking baths like my toddler, lol!
Anna Laura
says:
June, 23 2012 at 1:57 am
When I become depressed I get totally apathetic, body included. Body sensations cease to exist. Taking a shower can be painful then, because I can't feel any pleasure either from the warm water washing on my body nor from smelling a scented bath-foam. The only smell I feel all along is of something rotten or stale; I can smell it on my hands, on my arms, in my room, even outside in the streets, but the truth is that that smell lies deep in my nose up to my brain. Shower is a real torture without a body, constantly reminding you you've lost everything, smell, taste, touch and even sight 'cause sight changes also. Damn melancholia! I know I have to shower today, sooner or later, no escape.
Julie
says:
May, 13 2012 at 5:32 am
I have anorexia nervosa and have recently gained weight. It makes me disgusted when I shower and no longer feel all the bones. This is intolerable to me, a torture. What's worse is that people who love me applaud this horrible weight gain. They don't understand that gaining weight does not mean recovery. It makes me feel entirely alone in this world. I never bother to go out anymore, so why shower? I've lost almost all of my friends because of this disorder, and the ones that stick around are very careful to keep a few steps away from me, and no, it's not because I smell, either.
JohnT
says:
May, 12 2012 at 3:51 pm
"I don’t want to shower because I hate my body, my existence". When I saw those words I almost cried with relief. My body is wracked with pain (from chronic Psoriatic Arthropathy) and I live with depression/anxiety. I get care worker visits three times a day, prompting me to eat, shower, get out of bed, take meds, etc.

One elderly care worker suggested I have a good old-fashioned bath instead (I live in an unrenovated Victorian house!) I tried it today and immersing my body in the water felt so much gentler than being hit by shards of water from the shower head.

Many thanks for your article, Natasha, which explains much about how I feel frequently but have never been able to put into words.
ajsouthpaw
says:
May, 12 2012 at 11:54 am
I find showers, especially now, when I am so sick, to be an extreme form of sensory overload...does that make sense? It is kind of how you were saying the water is painful, it really really is. I'm glad others understand finally.
Katy
says:
May, 12 2012 at 9:25 am
Why Shower when you feel like you have nothing to live for? Why shower when you know you won't see anyone? Why shower when no one cares about you? I shower when I have dr's appts, usually. That is my life. I am very sick and have no family or friends by my side. So, why bother? Just hoping it will all go away soon.
Kristine
says:
May, 11 2012 at 4:48 am
I go to an OCPD site (which my bf has) and it had this site on it. Saw the not showering article and had to read. I have felt this way for quite awhile. And I always thought..hmmm..am I lazy? It does feel like sooo much work to me at times. I have depression. I can go days without. I do clean with a washcloth, which seems sooo much simpler. Feel like if people really knew they would look at me like I was a pig. People dont understand. I find it funny though...I can lay here in bed reading the internet forever, but a shower...is too much. I literally have to force myself. I hate feeling this way!
Ecca
says:
May, 10 2012 at 11:51 pm
Not just this article but the comments have made me realise things about myself that I didn't before.

I thought the whole not-being-able-to-brush-my-teeth thing was just me and shameful. I don't have bipolar - I have borderline personality disorder (which is on the spectrum of bipolar) and I find I can now find a connection between the two- if I hit an up mood I'll find the energy to shower and the purpose to brush my teeth (unless I am on an extreme up and can't stay still at all) and when I hit a low or a lot of lows (which is quite often) I just forego it all for many reasons you listed above and more. Thank you for writing this article- I feel so much less alone!!!
Gretchen
says:
May, 10 2012 at 10:09 pm
Such has been my existence over the past 8 months or so. I can relate.. I have also been lax about brushing my teeth. It just seems like it takes too much energy and exposes me somehow. Good Grief...such struggles seem to multiply. I do well for a while, then I over do... and relapse. How do I keep progressing and know how much I can expect from myself? I am trying to run my own business. It almost feels like I am going to have to apply for disability in the not so distant future. :( How sad and scary. I mean... Showering and brushing our teeth is one of the basic basics, right? And if I dont have the energy and/or strength to do that, then what??? :::sigh::: Not really asking for answers, here... just realizing that I have the questions, really.

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