Heidi Fischer

@heidi-fischer | contributor
Mighty LeaderSuper Contributor
Find me on Instagram @mentalhealthyxe and www.mentalhealthyxe.com I am a mental health advocate. I enjoy exploring and sharing my mental health journey. I write about depression, anxiety, C-PTSD, and more. When I'm not doing that you'll probably find me watching tv or napping.
Heidi Fischer

Learning to Live in the Middle Place for My Physical and Mental Health

I have two modes of operation. Either I run at 125% or total collapse. Both ways of existing have their place, and I’m rather skilled at each. Yet in truth this is not very healthy, and so I’m trying to figure out something new. I’m learning to live in the middle place. I function at these two opposites for variety of reasons, but in my opinion the biggest contenders are the trauma I experienced in my past and depression. Through decades of therapy and my own internal work, I’ve discovered that my nervous system is regularly running the show. As a person with complex post-traumatic stress syndrome (CPTSD), my nervous system tends to go about doing things in a way that worked for past survival. Depression also factors in, particularly when it comes to lack of motivation and anhedonia. I view collapse as a way to escape. I am able to forget the world, I dissociate, stress disappears, and I function on autopilot. Before you say that sounds awesome, it also involves getting nothing done, staring at walls, and losing my connection to other humans and my emotions. I don’t do this consciously, though I’m getting better at recognizing it. On the flip side the 125% overachiever is the great conquerer of all things. This “me” gets shit done… no matter the personal cost. I’m awesome when faced with a crisis. Some times this place feels good, it can come with an adrenaline rush, and I might experience some pride over accomplishments. Yet, in a somewhat similar way to collapse, I shut down a lot of my emotions, I rarely accept help, and I even forget about my basic human needs. A lengthy stay in this place inevitably leads me back to 0%. I now recognize that learning to live in the middle place is important for my mental and physical health. Yet this hasn’t been an easy lesson, and I suspect this may be a life-long goal. A visual that I came up with that helps me with this is the difference between a light switch and a dimmer. A light switch is either on or off, a dimmer is customizable to the situation. This flexibility is more in line with how I’d like to function. When I find myself in collapse, I try to ask myself what I could do that would put me at a gentle 10-25%.  Often this ends up being some simple housekeeping, connecting with a friend, or spending a few minutes with a hobby. As the overachiever I try to remind myself that burning too bright is also a problem. Remedying this might look like going to bed instead of continuing with a project, scheduling time for breaks and self-care, and seeking out the support of friends and professionals. As I find my way to the middle place I’ve also learned that a component within this is an acceptance that I won’t always get it right. It makes sense to me that in the middle place there isn’t even a true “right or wrong,” but rather a variety of options to choose from. That sounds more sustainable, and that’s why I’m trying to learn how to live here. Do you find that you operate in a similar way, either totally on or totally off? How have you worked at finding balance, or what does your middle place look like? Other thoughts or ideas, please share them below! If you enjoyed this article, please take a moment to check out some of my other articles here on The Mighty. If you’d like to follow along with my journey, you can find me on Instagram as @mentalhealthyxe.

Heidi Fischer

Healing My Inner Critic Means Realizing It's Trying to Protect Me

There is a therapy trick that I’m willing to bet you’ve heard of. It’s a popular technique used to quiet down negative self-talk, a type of reframing called “naming.” Basically, you give your inner critic a name with the intention of reducing its power over you. Some therapists might take it one step further by encouraging you to reimagine your inner critic as someone you are not a fan of. Then when that voice gets noisy, you go ahead and tell them off. It might sound something like this: Inner Critic: No one likes you. You: You know what *politician that I hate* no one likes you, I on the other hand, am awesome. So shut your face. Commence healing. As I mentioned, this is a popular tactic that works nicely for a lot of folks, and if you’re one of them that’s great. Sadly though, it doesn’t work for everyone, myself included. Indeed, it typically makes me feel even worse. So… It was exactly what I needed to hear when I found out that my inner critic is trying to keep me safe. Allow me to explain. This is a viewpoint that I’ve only come across recently, and I’ll be the first to admit that it can sound a little strange at first. It’s worth trying to understand, at least it was for me! Truthfully, this concept has brought me a sense of relief and it’s improved my ability to be compassionate toward myself . I think there’s good reason for this. I have complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD,)  which is something I’m constantly trying to understand better . As I’ve learned more about this disorder, I found out that having a loud inner critic is a common problem for individuals with C-PTSD. Naturally, I wanted to know why. There are a variety of theories about this, some of which feel like common sense. One idea is that in situations of chronic trauma or abuse, there is very likely to be constant negative messages and these eventually turn into similar self-talk. That seems obvious. Yet there is another idea that I find fascinating, the idea that the critical inner voice may be a misguided attempt at protecting oneself. For example, if I think I’m the worst person in the world, then maybe others will too, and if so, maybe I’ll be left alone so no one can hurt me. Or… I’m the one that’s fundamentally “wrong and bad” (not the abusers), meaning that if I could just magically change myself then perhaps I’ll no longer be harmed. Yet the perfect version of me doesn’t happen, so I’m trash. Whoa that tracks… and also ouch. It’s no wonder that telling off that voice didn’t feel all that great, it was already speaking to me out of a place of deep pain. Piling on more anger, blame, and shame was never going to help. I could never get the true message, and it was one I needed to hear: I’m trying to protect you. I continue to learn what it means to show this voice compassion , but the longer I try, the better I am getting at it — and it does cause things to shift. Now instead of telling that voice to shut up, I try my best to have a kind conversation with it. This sounds a lot different. Inner Critic: You are too much of a loser to get out the door. Me: What are you afraid of? Inner Critic: I’m afraid to go to this new yoga class because I don’t know anyone there and what if they are dangerous? Me: That’s a valid concern, but you know what? I’m an adult now. If class doesn’t go well, I’ll simply leave. In the past through no fault of my own, I couldn’t always do this, but now I can. I will keep us safe. Inner Critic: OK. Commence actual healing. Not all these conversations with myself are quite that smooth, happen quickly, and they can take a bit of thinking. Sometimes I need to pick things apart with the help of my therapist, a friend, or I sort it out myself. And yes I also occasionally continue down my self-hatred spiral, but it’s happening less. I will keep getting better, even with setbacks, and I’m proud of that. Have you tried the technique of naming your inner critic? Was it helpful to you or did you find it caused additional problems? What do you think about the idea that this voice is trying to protect you? Do you think it would work to try and understand this with compassion? Other thoughts or comments, leave them below! If you enjoyed this article, please take a moment to check out some of my other articles here on The Mighty. If you’d like to follow along with my journey, you can find me on Instagram as @mentalhealthyxe.

Heidi Fischer

Healing My Inner Critic Means Realizing It's Trying to Protect Me

There is a therapy trick that I’m willing to bet you’ve heard of. It’s a popular technique used to quiet down negative self-talk, a type of reframing called “naming.” Basically, you give your inner critic a name with the intention of reducing its power over you. Some therapists might take it one step further by encouraging you to reimagine your inner critic as someone you are not a fan of. Then when that voice gets noisy, you go ahead and tell them off. It might sound something like this: Inner Critic: No one likes you. You: You know what *politician that I hate* no one likes you, I on the other hand, am awesome. So shut your face. Commence healing. As I mentioned, this is a popular tactic that works nicely for a lot of folks, and if you’re one of them that’s great. Sadly though, it doesn’t work for everyone, myself included. Indeed, it typically makes me feel even worse. So… It was exactly what I needed to hear when I found out that my inner critic is trying to keep me safe. Allow me to explain. This is a viewpoint that I’ve only come across recently, and I’ll be the first to admit that it can sound a little strange at first. It’s worth trying to understand, at least it was for me! Truthfully, this concept has brought me a sense of relief and it’s improved my ability to be compassionate toward myself . I think there’s good reason for this. I have complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD,)  which is something I’m constantly trying to understand better . As I’ve learned more about this disorder, I found out that having a loud inner critic is a common problem for individuals with C-PTSD. Naturally, I wanted to know why. There are a variety of theories about this, some of which feel like common sense. One idea is that in situations of chronic trauma or abuse, there is very likely to be constant negative messages and these eventually turn into similar self-talk. That seems obvious. Yet there is another idea that I find fascinating, the idea that the critical inner voice may be a misguided attempt at protecting oneself. For example, if I think I’m the worst person in the world, then maybe others will too, and if so, maybe I’ll be left alone so no one can hurt me. Or… I’m the one that’s fundamentally “wrong and bad” (not the abusers), meaning that if I could just magically change myself then perhaps I’ll no longer be harmed. Yet the perfect version of me doesn’t happen, so I’m trash. Whoa that tracks… and also ouch. It’s no wonder that telling off that voice didn’t feel all that great, it was already speaking to me out of a place of deep pain. Piling on more anger, blame, and shame was never going to help. I could never get the true message, and it was one I needed to hear: I’m trying to protect you. I continue to learn what it means to show this voice compassion , but the longer I try, the better I am getting at it — and it does cause things to shift. Now instead of telling that voice to shut up, I try my best to have a kind conversation with it. This sounds a lot different. Inner Critic: You are too much of a loser to get out the door. Me: What are you afraid of? Inner Critic: I’m afraid to go to this new yoga class because I don’t know anyone there and what if they are dangerous? Me: That’s a valid concern, but you know what? I’m an adult now. If class doesn’t go well, I’ll simply leave. In the past through no fault of my own, I couldn’t always do this, but now I can. I will keep us safe. Inner Critic: OK. Commence actual healing. Not all these conversations with myself are quite that smooth, happen quickly, and they can take a bit of thinking. Sometimes I need to pick things apart with the help of my therapist, a friend, or I sort it out myself. And yes I also occasionally continue down my self-hatred spiral, but it’s happening less. I will keep getting better, even with setbacks, and I’m proud of that. Have you tried the technique of naming your inner critic? Was it helpful to you or did you find it caused additional problems? What do you think about the idea that this voice is trying to protect you? Do you think it would work to try and understand this with compassion? Other thoughts or comments, leave them below! If you enjoyed this article, please take a moment to check out some of my other articles here on The Mighty. If you’d like to follow along with my journey, you can find me on Instagram as @mentalhealthyxe.

Heidi Fischer

How to Clean the Kitchen When You're Feeling Depressed

Keeping things orderly is not my strong suit, especially when I’m dealing with depression. While all areas of my home suffer, no area suffers more than my kitchen. Dishes pile up, clutter is not organized and surfaces are not wiped down. Of course over time it only becomes worse, making it all the harder to find the motivation to get into cleaning it. I recently discovered a method that helps me to slowly get things into shape. One day while staring at the microwave, counting down the seconds, I looked around and thought about how messy things were. Instead of continuing to stare at the numbers, I wondered how much I could get clean in the time I had left on the clock.  I quickly filled up the dishwasher in those remaining seconds, and was amazed by how much I got done in the short window of time. It was in this moment that my two-minute rule in the kitchen was born. I decided any time I was in the kitchen waiting for something to be finished, I would use that time to speed clean. So whether I was waiting for the microwave, or my coffee to brew, I could slowly get things done, two minutes at a time. Two minutes sounds manageable when I am dealing with depression, and since I’m already in the kitchen, I don’t have to find the motivation to get up and get going. If I spend 10 minutes in the kitchen over the day, that’s 10 minutes I can also clean. More often than not, I will go over my time limit, as once something is started it makes sense to complete it. This system isn’t perfect, and I never quite get to the very clean state I would like, but I am able to keep things at a somewhat manageable level. If you would like to give this rule a try, here are some two minute kitchen cleaning ideas. These cleaning tasks can be done while waiting for the microwave, toaster, coffee machine, water to boil, the last few minutes on the oven, etc. 1. Load or unload the dishwasher. 2. Sweep the floor. 3. Wash counters, tables, etc. 4. Put bills and other papers in their proper place. 5. Place any trash in the garbage/recycling. 6. Start soaking dishes or wash as many as possible. 7. Put dirty dishcloths and towels in the washer, replace with clean ones. 8. Organize your junk drawer. 9. Make a list of kitchen items that are nearly out for your next shopping trip. (Dish soap, paper towels, plastic wrap, etc.) 10. Arrange your pantry, check for expired items and take note of any food you either need or have too much of. I have found that my rule really helps me to keep things tolerably clean, which is good enough for me when I am in the middle of a depressive episode. I offer you my method in hopes that it can help you too, especially when you have low motivation or energy. Happy cleaning. Getty Images photo via keladawy

Heidi Fischer

How to Clean the Kitchen When You're Feeling Depressed

Keeping things orderly is not my strong suit, especially when I’m dealing with depression. While all areas of my home suffer, no area suffers more than my kitchen. Dishes pile up, clutter is not organized and surfaces are not wiped down. Of course over time it only becomes worse, making it all the harder to find the motivation to get into cleaning it. I recently discovered a method that helps me to slowly get things into shape. One day while staring at the microwave, counting down the seconds, I looked around and thought about how messy things were. Instead of continuing to stare at the numbers, I wondered how much I could get clean in the time I had left on the clock.  I quickly filled up the dishwasher in those remaining seconds, and was amazed by how much I got done in the short window of time. It was in this moment that my two-minute rule in the kitchen was born. I decided any time I was in the kitchen waiting for something to be finished, I would use that time to speed clean. So whether I was waiting for the microwave, or my coffee to brew, I could slowly get things done, two minutes at a time. Two minutes sounds manageable when I am dealing with depression, and since I’m already in the kitchen, I don’t have to find the motivation to get up and get going. If I spend 10 minutes in the kitchen over the day, that’s 10 minutes I can also clean. More often than not, I will go over my time limit, as once something is started it makes sense to complete it. This system isn’t perfect, and I never quite get to the very clean state I would like, but I am able to keep things at a somewhat manageable level. If you would like to give this rule a try, here are some two minute kitchen cleaning ideas. These cleaning tasks can be done while waiting for the microwave, toaster, coffee machine, water to boil, the last few minutes on the oven, etc. 1. Load or unload the dishwasher. 2. Sweep the floor. 3. Wash counters, tables, etc. 4. Put bills and other papers in their proper place. 5. Place any trash in the garbage/recycling. 6. Start soaking dishes or wash as many as possible. 7. Put dirty dishcloths and towels in the washer, replace with clean ones. 8. Organize your junk drawer. 9. Make a list of kitchen items that are nearly out for your next shopping trip. (Dish soap, paper towels, plastic wrap, etc.) 10. Arrange your pantry, check for expired items and take note of any food you either need or have too much of. I have found that my rule really helps me to keep things tolerably clean, which is good enough for me when I am in the middle of a depressive episode. I offer you my method in hopes that it can help you too, especially when you have low motivation or energy. Happy cleaning. Getty Images photo via keladawy

Kyle Alexander

Doctors Failed to Check for Lithium Toxicity and I Nearly Died

If I could count the number of doctors I have seen, I would be a rich man. My BPD caused me to attach to the doctor I have been seeing and although she made mistake after mistake, she was kind and gentle and genuinely cared about me. In June last year, I had a shock diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease by a specialist in the field brought on by the years of psychiatric medication I had been on. Life got very tough, very quickly. I started to go downhill quite fast and every time I would see my neurologist, he would increase one of the meds I was on and I would just get worse and worse, to the point where I struggled to walk or drink anything without spilling it everywhere. I also started to fall over; in the months from August to June, I had fallen 34 times, requiring stitches in my head, and was covered in bruises. I and my family all put it down to the Parkinson’s getting worse, which was a huge concern for my future. So I had two doctors in the picture, one prescribing lithium for my mental health and one for my Parkinson’s disease. I was taking around 15 tablets a day at that stage. Around the beginning of April, I started getting very forgetful and confused about things like what day it was and whether I had been to appointments or not. I also started to hallucinate about people appearing out of the corner of my eye, and when I would turn they would disappear. I told both of my doctors about all these symptoms and they seemed unperturbed. I also started to lose my eyesight slowly. It became difficult to read anything even with my glasses on. I struggled to read emails and text messages and even went and got stronger glasses, which didn’t help at all. I didn’t understand what was going on, I was so confused and my mind was so jumbled up that everything seemed like some sort of strange dream that I was stuck in. I was forgetting to shower, sometimes for a week at a time, thinking I had had one yesterday and my self-care just went out the window. I continued taking the medication, hoping to god it would help in some way. I will never forget a day when my sister was at my place and I said to her “Michelle, I am going to fall today, I am 100% certain of it.” My legs were shaking uncontrollably and I had a sick feeling in my stomach, because I knew it was going to happen. We sat at the table and had a cup of tea and I got up to go to the bathroom, I only took about 10 steps and yelled to Michelle as I hit the floor. She raced over to me, but there was nothing she could do. It took what seemed like hours to get me up and onto the sofa. She had her kids at home so needed to go, but she got me everything I needed on the coffee table so I didn’t have to get up. By this stage, I was using a walker, so we put that nearby so I could use it to get to my bedroom. I sat in silence after she left, completely in shock at what I had become. As the night progressed, I mostly sat in a haze of confusion. I then decided to just go to bed. It was at this point that things became truly awful. I tried and tried to get up to the walker, but the sofa was too low and I didn’t have the strength in my legs to pull myself up. I panicked; I was literally stuck where I was. I called my sister and told her I couldn’t get off the sofa. I was in so much shock I could barely get the words out. She came over straight away and we tried everything for her to pull me up to the walker but it just didn’t happen. We both didn’t know what to do. She wasn’t strong enough to take my full body weight and it was as if my legs had stopped working entirely. With my head down, I knew there was only one option and that was to crawl on the floor using my upper body strength down and long wooden hallway to my bedroom. I will never forget the look on my sister’s face as she watched me struggle to go a few feet and take a break and then go again and again. I finally made it to my bedroom and with the last breath of energy, pulled myself up onto the bed. In the coming days and weeks, my mental state deteriorated more and more. I can’t remember, but I was acting like a completely different person. I was saying the most incredible things to my family and friends, simply outlandish stories like my stepfather running away with the Queen while my mum was at the shops. My sister came to the house to find me setting up all the chairs in the house for a press conference I had apparently organized. It just got incredibly out of control. Some of the things I can laugh at now, but it is a strange feeling to know I acted so unhinged. Soon enough, my parents and sister made the decision to call an ambulance after a couple of days of complete mayhem. I was taken to the hospital and admitted to the emergency department. They immediately rushed blood tests and it came back that I was experiencing Lithium toxicity. My kidneys were almost failing and the combination of the Parkinson’s medication and the critical level of Lithium in my system was the reason for all of this happening. It turned out later that my Lithium levels had been left off all my blood tests and had not been checked for over a year. The doctor ceased the medication and then made the decision between dialysis or trying first to flush my system. Thankfully, he went for the latter and it slowly started to work. I don’t remember the entire first week in the hospital even though I was conscious and my family visited every day. I was still telling them fanciful stories about the hospital and the special missions I was being given. I finally came to in the second week, wondering what on earth was going on and what had happened. It has been a long and painful recovery since I left the hospital. The space my delirium was taking up has been replaced with depression and severe anxiety. I can’t help but feel like something bad is going to happen. I also feel so many emotions towards the doctors that were involved in putting me there in the first place and the months of torture I went through beforehand. The neurologist treated me like I meant nothing and just kept increasing the medication even though I was clearly getting worse. My GP failed me in a huge way by prescribing me Lithium but never testing the levels. I have felt lost for a very long time. I lost myself for months and now I have lost my faith in the very people who I turned to help me. I am grateful for my physical recovery, but it has come at a huge cost. My medication has been changed but I feel empty and hopeless inside. I usually like to end my articles with something positive, but my message to you all is that if something doesn’t feel right with a doctor or a specialist, don’t think you’re not strong enough to see someone else. I was naive about the Parkinson’s situation because it was such a shock and I was seeing an expert in the field. But looking back, I knew I was getting worse each time I saw him. So I am hitting the restart button and am so far proud that I have managed to write this article, because taking writing away from me was and is one of my worst fears. I’ll keep going, I always do.

Heidi Fischer

How to Clean the Kitchen When You're Feeling Depressed

Keeping things orderly is not my strong suit, especially when I’m dealing with depression. While all areas of my home suffer, no area suffers more than my kitchen. Dishes pile up, clutter is not organized and surfaces are not wiped down. Of course over time it only becomes worse, making it all the harder to find the motivation to get into cleaning it. I recently discovered a method that helps me to slowly get things into shape. One day while staring at the microwave, counting down the seconds, I looked around and thought about how messy things were. Instead of continuing to stare at the numbers, I wondered how much I could get clean in the time I had left on the clock.  I quickly filled up the dishwasher in those remaining seconds, and was amazed by how much I got done in the short window of time. It was in this moment that my two-minute rule in the kitchen was born. I decided any time I was in the kitchen waiting for something to be finished, I would use that time to speed clean. So whether I was waiting for the microwave, or my coffee to brew, I could slowly get things done, two minutes at a time. Two minutes sounds manageable when I am dealing with depression, and since I’m already in the kitchen, I don’t have to find the motivation to get up and get going. If I spend 10 minutes in the kitchen over the day, that’s 10 minutes I can also clean. More often than not, I will go over my time limit, as once something is started it makes sense to complete it. This system isn’t perfect, and I never quite get to the very clean state I would like, but I am able to keep things at a somewhat manageable level. If you would like to give this rule a try, here are some two minute kitchen cleaning ideas. These cleaning tasks can be done while waiting for the microwave, toaster, coffee machine, water to boil, the last few minutes on the oven, etc. 1. Load or unload the dishwasher. 2. Sweep the floor. 3. Wash counters, tables, etc. 4. Put bills and other papers in their proper place. 5. Place any trash in the garbage/recycling. 6. Start soaking dishes or wash as many as possible. 7. Put dirty dishcloths and towels in the washer, replace with clean ones. 8. Organize your junk drawer. 9. Make a list of kitchen items that are nearly out for your next shopping trip. (Dish soap, paper towels, plastic wrap, etc.) 10. Arrange your pantry, check for expired items and take note of any food you either need or have too much of. I have found that my rule really helps me to keep things tolerably clean, which is good enough for me when I am in the middle of a depressive episode. I offer you my method in hopes that it can help you too, especially when you have low motivation or energy. Happy cleaning. Getty Images photo via keladawy

Heidi Fischer

How to Clean the Kitchen When You're Feeling Depressed

Keeping things orderly is not my strong suit, especially when I’m dealing with depression. While all areas of my home suffer, no area suffers more than my kitchen. Dishes pile up, clutter is not organized and surfaces are not wiped down. Of course over time it only becomes worse, making it all the harder to find the motivation to get into cleaning it. I recently discovered a method that helps me to slowly get things into shape. One day while staring at the microwave, counting down the seconds, I looked around and thought about how messy things were. Instead of continuing to stare at the numbers, I wondered how much I could get clean in the time I had left on the clock.  I quickly filled up the dishwasher in those remaining seconds, and was amazed by how much I got done in the short window of time. It was in this moment that my two-minute rule in the kitchen was born. I decided any time I was in the kitchen waiting for something to be finished, I would use that time to speed clean. So whether I was waiting for the microwave, or my coffee to brew, I could slowly get things done, two minutes at a time. Two minutes sounds manageable when I am dealing with depression, and since I’m already in the kitchen, I don’t have to find the motivation to get up and get going. If I spend 10 minutes in the kitchen over the day, that’s 10 minutes I can also clean. More often than not, I will go over my time limit, as once something is started it makes sense to complete it. This system isn’t perfect, and I never quite get to the very clean state I would like, but I am able to keep things at a somewhat manageable level. If you would like to give this rule a try, here are some two minute kitchen cleaning ideas. These cleaning tasks can be done while waiting for the microwave, toaster, coffee machine, water to boil, the last few minutes on the oven, etc. 1. Load or unload the dishwasher. 2. Sweep the floor. 3. Wash counters, tables, etc. 4. Put bills and other papers in their proper place. 5. Place any trash in the garbage/recycling. 6. Start soaking dishes or wash as many as possible. 7. Put dirty dishcloths and towels in the washer, replace with clean ones. 8. Organize your junk drawer. 9. Make a list of kitchen items that are nearly out for your next shopping trip. (Dish soap, paper towels, plastic wrap, etc.) 10. Arrange your pantry, check for expired items and take note of any food you either need or have too much of. I have found that my rule really helps me to keep things tolerably clean, which is good enough for me when I am in the middle of a depressive episode. I offer you my method in hopes that it can help you too, especially when you have low motivation or energy. Happy cleaning. Getty Images photo via keladawy

Heidi Fischer

How to Clean the Kitchen When You're Feeling Depressed

Keeping things orderly is not my strong suit, especially when I’m dealing with depression. While all areas of my home suffer, no area suffers more than my kitchen. Dishes pile up, clutter is not organized and surfaces are not wiped down. Of course over time it only becomes worse, making it all the harder to find the motivation to get into cleaning it. I recently discovered a method that helps me to slowly get things into shape. One day while staring at the microwave, counting down the seconds, I looked around and thought about how messy things were. Instead of continuing to stare at the numbers, I wondered how much I could get clean in the time I had left on the clock.  I quickly filled up the dishwasher in those remaining seconds, and was amazed by how much I got done in the short window of time. It was in this moment that my two-minute rule in the kitchen was born. I decided any time I was in the kitchen waiting for something to be finished, I would use that time to speed clean. So whether I was waiting for the microwave, or my coffee to brew, I could slowly get things done, two minutes at a time. Two minutes sounds manageable when I am dealing with depression, and since I’m already in the kitchen, I don’t have to find the motivation to get up and get going. If I spend 10 minutes in the kitchen over the day, that’s 10 minutes I can also clean. More often than not, I will go over my time limit, as once something is started it makes sense to complete it. This system isn’t perfect, and I never quite get to the very clean state I would like, but I am able to keep things at a somewhat manageable level. If you would like to give this rule a try, here are some two minute kitchen cleaning ideas. These cleaning tasks can be done while waiting for the microwave, toaster, coffee machine, water to boil, the last few minutes on the oven, etc. 1. Load or unload the dishwasher. 2. Sweep the floor. 3. Wash counters, tables, etc. 4. Put bills and other papers in their proper place. 5. Place any trash in the garbage/recycling. 6. Start soaking dishes or wash as many as possible. 7. Put dirty dishcloths and towels in the washer, replace with clean ones. 8. Organize your junk drawer. 9. Make a list of kitchen items that are nearly out for your next shopping trip. (Dish soap, paper towels, plastic wrap, etc.) 10. Arrange your pantry, check for expired items and take note of any food you either need or have too much of. I have found that my rule really helps me to keep things tolerably clean, which is good enough for me when I am in the middle of a depressive episode. I offer you my method in hopes that it can help you too, especially when you have low motivation or energy. Happy cleaning. Getty Images photo via keladawy

Heidi Fischer

How to Clean the Kitchen When You're Feeling Depressed

Keeping things orderly is not my strong suit, especially when I’m dealing with depression. While all areas of my home suffer, no area suffers more than my kitchen. Dishes pile up, clutter is not organized and surfaces are not wiped down. Of course over time it only becomes worse, making it all the harder to find the motivation to get into cleaning it. I recently discovered a method that helps me to slowly get things into shape. One day while staring at the microwave, counting down the seconds, I looked around and thought about how messy things were. Instead of continuing to stare at the numbers, I wondered how much I could get clean in the time I had left on the clock.  I quickly filled up the dishwasher in those remaining seconds, and was amazed by how much I got done in the short window of time. It was in this moment that my two-minute rule in the kitchen was born. I decided any time I was in the kitchen waiting for something to be finished, I would use that time to speed clean. So whether I was waiting for the microwave, or my coffee to brew, I could slowly get things done, two minutes at a time. Two minutes sounds manageable when I am dealing with depression, and since I’m already in the kitchen, I don’t have to find the motivation to get up and get going. If I spend 10 minutes in the kitchen over the day, that’s 10 minutes I can also clean. More often than not, I will go over my time limit, as once something is started it makes sense to complete it. This system isn’t perfect, and I never quite get to the very clean state I would like, but I am able to keep things at a somewhat manageable level. If you would like to give this rule a try, here are some two minute kitchen cleaning ideas. These cleaning tasks can be done while waiting for the microwave, toaster, coffee machine, water to boil, the last few minutes on the oven, etc. 1. Load or unload the dishwasher. 2. Sweep the floor. 3. Wash counters, tables, etc. 4. Put bills and other papers in their proper place. 5. Place any trash in the garbage/recycling. 6. Start soaking dishes or wash as many as possible. 7. Put dirty dishcloths and towels in the washer, replace with clean ones. 8. Organize your junk drawer. 9. Make a list of kitchen items that are nearly out for your next shopping trip. (Dish soap, paper towels, plastic wrap, etc.) 10. Arrange your pantry, check for expired items and take note of any food you either need or have too much of. I have found that my rule really helps me to keep things tolerably clean, which is good enough for me when I am in the middle of a depressive episode. I offer you my method in hopes that it can help you too, especially when you have low motivation or energy. Happy cleaning. Getty Images photo via keladawy