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10 'Gross' Things You're Not the Only One Doing When You're Depressed

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Even on a good day, being a person can be challenging. So when depression strikes and even getting out of bed feels hard, the most basic “adulting” tasks can feel damn near impossible. Sometimes, personal hygiene is the first thing to go.

Mighty contributor  wrote about this in her piece, “What You Should Know About the Girl With Unwashed Hair.” She wanted to know if she was the only one who “let herself go” during a depressive episode.

When I get bad, the thing that feels “grossest” about me is my personal hygiene… Lying in bed for days on end in the same clothes does things to a person, but the fact that I often go a week or more without bathing or washing (yes, it’s disgusting, but it’s the truth) is probably the worst thing that I do… It takes so much energy to just exist, I cannot physically pull myself out of bed for long enough to take care of my most basic needs. The reality of mental illness can be disgusting and horrible, but I hope I am not the only person who goes through this.

Because we know Chelsey is not alone, we wanted to ask our community what they felt was the “grossest” thing they did during a depressive episode. It’s important to remember that although living with depression can make you feel gross at times, it doesn’t make you gross — and you’re not the only one going through it.

Here’s what they shared with us:

1. Not Showering for Days, or Even Weeks

“I cannot bring myself to shower for days on end. Sometimes I’m able to get up enough energy to use baby wipes and take a ‘bird bath.’ But there have been times I haven’t showered for a week. It’s so embarrassing and I know it’s gross, but there are times getting out of bed is all I can bring myself to do, nothing more.” 

“I don’t feel like showering and end up with fungal infections.” 

“I let everything go, the house, my hygiene, I feel so bad for my husband. I just can’t get myself to clean or to even shower and get up off of the bed.” 

If you can relate, check out our list of 15 “hygiene hacks” for when you’re depressed.

2. Neglecting to Change Your Clothes

“Wear clothes multiple days in a row because I can’t bring myself to wash them, almost no personal hygiene and I lie around all day.” 

Wear the same clothes for weeks.” 

If you can relate, check out this list of comfy clothing brands you won’t mind going out in.

3. Not Brushing Your Teeth

My worst thing is not brushing my teeth. I’ve had so many cavities but brushing my teeth is just so hard.”

“The one that’s most prevalent is brushing my teeth. Some days, I can bring myself to do it. I’ll take a shower have clean clothes and everything else, but brushing my teeth is the hardest of all. If I go more than two days, I will really start falling into a cycle of ugly thoughts.”

“I skip brushing my teeth. I just can’t be bothered, I have no energy to do it. I’ll wipe/scrub my teeth on a shirt or a towel if there’s one nearby and I’m going out.”

If you can relate, check out this list of small things you can that might help your depression (even a little).

4. Skin Picking

“I pick my skin and my scalp… I’ve done it since I was a kid as a coping mechanism. And sometimes when I get into depressive episodes, I will go days without washing my hair.”

“I tend to pick at any blemishes anywhere on my body — they spring up like weeds if I’m distressed. Then the anxiety kicks in and I don’t wanna be seen at all because my skin is red where I’ve picked at the zits on my face.”

“I pick at my skin. I have really bad acne and sometimes I will sit there for hours on end just picking at my face until it bleeds, then picking some more. It’s a cycle; I pick, I feel bad about myself because of it, I pick some more.” 

“I pick at my skin. Any small bumps I’ll pick at until they bleed. Then I feel so guilty and I hate myself afterwards and it really just makes everything worse. But for whatever reason, I do it anyway, and I can’t stop.” — Katherine C.

If you can relate, check out this list of five fidget toys for compulsive skin picking.

5. Not Cleaning After Yourself

“I neglect cleaning my house and myself. I won’t pick up my clothes, wash my clothes or clean. I’ll go almost two weeks without showering or brushing my teeth or hair. I even neglect to clean my car. In the end, everyone thinks I’m just really lazy.” 

“I let my room get messy, cluttered and disorganized for a while. It feels like a reflection of myself when I’m struggling. Sometimes I force myself to get my room together like I’m forcing myself to function, or the episode passes and I feel content and able to manage my room.”

“I leave dishes in the sink, cans everywhere, leftover food on the counter and dirty clothes on the floor.” 

“If I do eat, I do all my eating in bed. Dishes and wrappers everywhere. I just throw my used tissues to the floor. I always feel ashamed and see how gross I’m being but I’m too depressed to change it.” 

If you can relate, check out this “two-minute” cleaning trick.

6. Not Eating or Drinking Enough Water

“I don’t eat, I stop drinking enough water, I depend on dry shampoo too much. Basically self-neglect.”

If you can relate, check out these 12 tricks for feeding yourself when depression makes cooking feel impossible.

7. Eating Too Much

“I eat. And eat. And eat until I physically feel nauseous. Then I eat more.”

“One gross thing I do is when I’m in a really bad place I binge eat. I’ll eat and eat and eat, long past being full to the point of being sick.”

If you can relate, here are seven things that help a woman who struggles with binge eating disorder.

8. Unable to Get Laundry Done

“I have a thing with laundry. I share the house with my mom and my sisters and I’m the one in charge of laundry. I can tell I’m slipping back to depression when there are piles of dirty clothes everywhere in the house. I don’t have the ability to change clothes often so is not such big of a deal for me, but I feel so guilty everyone doesn’t have clean clothes because of me.” 

If you can relate, check out these eight tips for getting laundry done when you’re depressed.

9. Unwashed or Unkept Hair

“Gross thing would probably be not brushing or washing my hair. It’s gotten to the point where my hair will have mats in the back so I just throw it in a ponytail so it doesn’t look as bad as it is.”

If you can relate, check out our list of 15 “hygiene hacks” for when you’re depressed.

10. Pulling Out Hair

“I pull facial hair out and eat it when down or anxious… pretty disgusting and hurts my face, throat and gets stuck in my teeth. It is what it is, which sucks but that’s dealing with it.”

If you can relate, check out these online resources compiled by The TLC Foundation.

Originally published: March 7, 2018
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