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When You're Too Sick to Clean Your Home

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The shame of being a 30-something and not being well enough to clean my house is enormous. I’m a great cleaner. It’s something I’m really good at and somewhat enjoy. I love the feeling after cleaning an area really well and then sitting in it. Soaking in the splendor of the gleaming room.

I’ve always taken pride in that.

Now, my home is usually a disaster area. I’ve had pneumonia four times (I think? I’ve lost count) in the last four months. Add a few dental infections, some allergic reactions, swollen legs and feet and a bunch of kidney stones to that equation, and it makes it pretty impossible to have cleaning be a top priority.


I could ask for help. I’m pretty sure I have some people in my life who would help me. But, I know myself. I would be too embarrassed to have them see my home like this, so I would clean it before they came to help. Which would be way too hard on my body and defeat the entire purpose of asking them for help.

It’s silly. I know it is. But, I feel like a failure. It’s a visible representation of me failing at life, at the moment. I would rather not have help than show just how far I’ve fallen into a disaster area of overwhelming clutter and laundry.

So, writing this isn’t going to offer me, or any of you, any help, other than to know you aren’t alone. If you are struggling and your health is taking all of your available energy right now, just know I’m sitting here too. Pretending I can’t see the mounds of responsibilities that are piling up. Struggling to move as I stare at my stacks of dishes, piles of laundry and accumulation of prescription bottles and other things I’ve amassed around my spot on the couch, for ease of use while I’m stuck here.

My body and my health have to come before the mess of my house. I’m top priority right now, and so are you. So, let’s rest up and hope we can tackle some of it in the near future. It will still be there later, when we are ready and able.

Unfortunately, it never cleans itself!

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Thinkstock photo via gemenacom.

Originally published: April 5, 2023
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