Mental illness and housework - Talk About Marriage
Physical & Mental Health Issues Marriage and relationships are difficult by themselves, but coping with physical or mental health problems can make things even more difficult.

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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-16-2016, 07:31 AM Thread Starter
QuietSoul's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 308
Mental illness and housework

Bleh.... I don't even know where to start right now.

I will reluctantly reveal my diagnosis. I have bipolar disorder. I mainly struggle with the depression, or moreso than the highs, and I am also known to be highly anxious at times...

My history lends itself to much trauma and dysfunction but that's life I guess...

I guess I am sharing this here because it affects how I function in my marriage and in my home (where I live with my husband who has to be around this, but who also has his own bipolar diagnosis to throw into the mix).

I feel like I am either all or nothing.... I am either on top of the housework, washing, organisation of life etc, or I am not. I am never in the middle. I either stay up until wacky hours trying ot be on top of everything like a super mum (I am a new mum) or I stay up trying to have some wind down time/"me" time and end up vegging on Facebook.

I have started cooking bigger meals in bulk so at least we can be on top of that while my husband works full time and we don't have to rely on take away meals when we are both tired or bub is having his crazy hour so i don't get time to put dinner on.

I just never seem to be where I want to be. I go to other people's houses and they seem to be so neat and tidy and clean all the time, and about 90% of the time, if people come here, even just to the door, I feel embarrassed. No, i feel shame actually... because 90% of the time our house doesn't look/feel like i want it to or in a state that i feel comfortable with others seeing it.

My husband works a stressful job. He is on a low income and works overtime some nights. I was working full time until i had bub who is now five months. So i have tried to take on the home stuff more and try to take care of other things so H can relax when he gets home and spend time with bub and not have to worry about doing too much.

I guess with the bipolar thing... my motivation is either up in the clouds where i feel like i could run a marathon while simultaneously doing dishes and cooking giant batches of food while bub is having his short naps in the day. But most other days, I am pretty tired and can't imagine how i can get on top of things again...

I want to know how people manage to be on top of housework and cooking all the time?

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-17-2016, 10:18 AM
Join Date: May 2014
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Re: Mental illness and housework

Omg!! That is my wife and no one is on top of house work. We hired a cleaning lady because I already deal with the kids while she has an Depressed outbreak or whatever you call.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 11:33 AM
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Re: Mental illness and housework

I feel you I'm recently diagnosed bipolar in November though been dealing with MI all my life. Married 8 years now I was very up front with hubby the minute we started dating about my mi. Flash forward I've been a sahm for almost 5 years we have 4 kids my two from previous very abusive relationship. 14,11,3,1 . I hit bottom after last birth. My house was never dirty we always sat at table for supper at 5:30. I managed ok until a year ago. Though I did self medicate to keep up the presence of me being ok. Now that I'm on proper meds and not self medicating. I'm trying to pick up the pieces. My home is a mess supper is always late I have fend for yourself days and at least once a month we even use paper plates. I can't even grocery shop without having an anxiety attach so I make a list and my hubby does it. Thankfully we are very much in love and best friends. We are old fashion country people. I don't let him lift a finger to woman's work and I don't do mans work. Yes there are times when we help each other just to spend time together but it's never expected. But this also makes it hard because I feel so overwhelmed. I've gone from working 50 hours a week and caring for a family to a volunteering sahm fun projects and crafty mom home spotless schedule set got it together wife to a broken woman terrible wife messy home no schedule can't even make it out of house without panicking. Wtf. Why! We have the American Dream and then my mi goes out of control! I am lucky though. My husband and children love me unconditionally and my meds are working only took a few adjustments and I think we are at a good place. I guess for me it helps to set small goals for the day but to remember the most important thing is to make sure to laugh and play with the babies. Don't expect a spotless house if I get one load of laundry and the floor vacuumed that's ok it will get better.
Finding the med combo that works will make it better. I'm not so tired anymore. That's a big plus.

No matter how small, a positive change deserves to be celebrated!
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-10-2016, 09:10 PM
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Re: Mental illness and housework

The short answer to your question: we don't stay on top of it.
Believe me, you are not alone. Your post almost could have been written by my wife. She is currently in the hospital for bipolar disorder. Before that, it was postpartum depression. Before that, hyperemesis throughout an entire pregnancy. Before that, grief from 2 miscarriages. Before that, respiratory difficulties. It has been over 2 years since my wife has really lifted a finger around the house. I do all of the cooking and cleaning and at least half of the parenting. She stays home, and I work full-time. And if you took one step inside my home, it would show. We've hired cleaning help in the past, but we just can't afford it these days.
Here are my tips:
1) Don't feel guilty. Just don't. If you are keeping up to the best of your abilities, it is not a reflection of your character if your abilities are not the same as someone else's. So just don't let yourself think like that.
2) Cherish your time with your little one. It may not feel like it now, but you will look back at these years for the rest of your life as the "golden years" when little feet pranced around on your floors each day. You will inevitably have regrets, but keeping a cleaner house during these years will be low on the list.
3) Be sure to express your gratitude to your husband when he ends up picking up some slack. I can't speak for him, but it is likely that you are more critical of yourself for the state of your house than he is of you. However, it is still important to reassure him that housework you leave undone is not a reflection of the expectations you have of him.
4) This is more of a practical tip. Instead of focusing on what your house should look like, focus on what you'd like to do be able to do in your house. For instance, when our kitchen looks like a bomb exploded in it, instead of focusing on what it should look like, I remind myself that what is important is that I have enough clean surfaces and dishes to prepare meals the next day. And instead of focusing on the clutter that covers every floor in this house, I focus on making sure that there is at least one uncluttered floor available for our youngest to crawl around on. This mindset helps to keep me from getting overwhelmed. Like your husband, I have my own mental health issues too.
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