Clean My House!

Awhile back, I heard a joke that went like this:

A woman is sitting at a bar enjoying a drink with her girlfriends when an exceptionally tall, handsome man enters.

He is so striking that the woman can not take her eyes off him. The man notices her overly attentive stares and walks directly toward her.

Before she can offer her apologies for rudely staring he leans over and whispers, “I’ll do anything, absolutely anything that you want me to do for $20. But only on one condition.”

Flabbergasted, the woman asks what the condition is.

“You have to tell me what you want me to do in just three words.”

The woman considers his proposition for a moment and then removes a $20 bill from her purse, which she presses into the man’s hand along with her address.

She then looks deeply into his eyes, and slowly, and meaningfully says, “Clean my house!

Now. I don’t know about you, but I can totally relate to this lady!! Part of my anxiety comes from the fact that I am physically and emotionally unable to keep my house clean by myself. I’ve lived in my apartment for two years, and never really deep cleaned it. My roommate is much neater and cleaner than I am, but he doesn’t do much housework as far as sweeping and vacuuming floors, etc. I believe that he thinks it’s “women’s work” but that’s just a guess. He’s a nice guy, 42 years old and a friend of mine. But it’s difficult to communicate things like this because English is a second language and sometimes we have a difficult time communicating very meaningfully.

However, we agreed to split the cost of having a cleaning service come and deep clean the apartment. This meant the living room, dining room, kitchen and hallway. I paid extra to have them clean my bedroom and bathroom. My roomie did not want that, so that was fine.

They came three weeks ago (I think I mentioned this before in a previous post) they came and spent four hours making this place sparkle! It felt SOOO good! They were able to get into places that I physically can’t. They scrubbed the oven and stove top inside and out (it was gross!!). They cleaned the countertops, swept and mopped the floor, the area rugs, wiped down the cabinet faces, wiped down the outside of the refrigerator, cleaned the baseboards everywhere, wiped down the washer and dryer, and scrubbed my bathroom from top to bottom and it looks like new.

I was so happy!! It looked amazing and I noticed that my anxiety had eased. I didn’t realize how much my guilt over not having a clean house caused so much anxiety that I couldn’t make myself clean up even the dishes! I have pretty much kept up with everything, but the last week I’ve been slipping, and I feel my anxiety rising again. I still have anxiety over other things, even things that don’t exist (it’s the “waiting for the other shoe to drop because no way I can be this happy and if I am, then something bad will happen” anxiety. The generalized anxiety disorder. When things in my life are going well, I get nervous and anxious and unable to enjoy it much. Anyone else have this? It’s very annoying.

Btw, there is a comment box on my posts, if you are so inclined to comment. All you have to do is click on the Comment button at the top of each post! 🙂

Since that cleaning gave me so much relief, I am going to see about having the service come out once a month a nd clean. That way it can be maintained. By “maintained” I mean both the cleanliness of my house and the reduction of my anxiety. Goodness knows if I can keep even one part of my anxiety at bay, it’s a win. Unless I stress about paying for it…. There’s always something to worry about. It’s a wonder my adrenal glands aren’t fatigued, since I live in “fight or flight” mode most of the time.

Thank you for reading, and comment if you would like!


7 Things People With Generalized Anxiety Disorder Wish Others Would Stop Saying

This article was copied from an amazing website called The Mighty. The link to the original article is here: 7 Things People With Generalized Anxiety Disorder Wish Others Would Stop Saying.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive, persistent and unrealistic worry, and caused by genetic factors, brain chemistry and personality. In fact, 40 million people in the United States are affected by an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America

As someone with GAD, here are 7 things I’d like to ask you to stop saying.

1. “Stop thinking about it.” Don’t you think if it was that easy I would not think about it? It maybe easy for you, but as a person with GAD I have to practice the coping strategies I’ve learned in therapy. And sometimes I can’t even do that. So telling me to not worry simply does not cut it.

Instead, try asking me to go for a walk or if there is anything you can do to help me process what is happening.

2. “Everyone feels anxious.” Yes, everyone feels anxious, and it is completely natural. Anxiety actually pushes us to get things done, but when your anxiety stops you from being able to function, guess what? That’s a problem. So please do not compare GADers (yes, I created this word) with non-GADers (this word too).

Instead, acknowledge what I’m going through. Say, “I see this is really hard for you. Would you like to talk about it?”

3. “I’m stressed too.” Not to discredit your stress, but you are certainly discrediting ours. What you do not understand is that we have a hard time controlling our thoughts, and whether you realize it or not, no matter how small it may seem to you, our anxiety tends to maximize everything.

Instead, try offering some words of encouragement.

4. “I know how you feel.” Unless you have GAD you do not know how I feel, so please stop saying that you do.

Instead, say, “I don’t understand exactly how you feel, but would you be willing to help me understand?”

5. “You need to calm down.” When people suffer from GAD, there are times when his/her anxiety is through the roof and it takes me time to calm down. It is always a three-ring circus going on in our heads. That advice is like telling someone who is sick to stop coughing. So no, we cannot calm down right now.

Instead say, “Is there anything I can do to help you?”

6. “You are doing too much.” (Translation: “You are being dramatic.”) Thank you for your words of comfort. We know our thoughts can be irrational at times, but that is how our brain works. Can you imagine 1,000 tabs on your computer are opened, and you cannot stop new tabs from opening? Well, that is how we feel. Just because our disorder is invisible does not mean it is not real.

Instead, ask me about what methods I use to ease anxiety (like breathing methods and yoga), and remind me what’s worked in the past.

7. “You worry too much.” Yes, we worry too much and we know that, but if you have not figured it out by now, we cannot control it. Telling us we worry too much does not help. We were already worrying about 50 things prior to this unnecessary statement, and now we are worrying about worrying.

Instead, say, “It’s OK to feel this way. I know your anxiety can be difficult, but I’m here for you.”  

Keep calm and carry on! Cheers!

Four Milk Duds

Good morning! What did you have for breakfast this morning? I’m not very good at making sure I eat this most important meal of the day. This morning so far, I’ve had four Milk Duds. Nutrition be damned! I know that I will need to eat something else soon, because I’m very hungry and, to be honest, a little nauseous.

Today is an anxiety day. Actually, the last few days have been anxiety days. I can tell, because the dishwasher is still loaded with clean dishes, and the piles on my kitchen counters are high. Yesterday was Wednesday, and I showered for the first time in five days. Ick, I know. I had to force myself to shower yesterday because I had to go to the windshield place to have the chip in my windshield fixed before it went from being a $35 chip repair to a $300 windshield replacement. Payday is tomorrow and that will alleviate some of my stress.

The good news is that tomorrow is Friday! Which is followed by two whole days off. I have a cleaning lady coming on Saturday to deep clean my whole apartment (except my roommate’s bedroom and bathroom. He’s way cleaner than I am.) I don’t like cleaning on the best of days but having anxiety just makes everything worse. It’s the snowball effect.

I am going to go fix myself something to eat, even if it is just cereal or instant oatmeal.


p.s. Update: I was ambitious and fixed scrambled eggs with cheese, and two slices of sourdough toast with jam. I have more piles on my counters but I feel much, much better. Onward and upward!

It Usually Starts with a Dirty Dish

I have anxiety. GAD, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I struggle with this daily. I hate to use the word suffer, but rather use the word struggle. Yes, it is a daily struggle. Well-meaning people will tell me that if I just tried hard enough, I could overcome it. But anxiety is like an internal war, battling with my inner voice that constantly tells me I’m good-for-nothing, stupid, fat and lazy. The fat part is true. I mean, fat is fat and I don’t fool anyone. But I am far from stupid, and my anxiety keeps me from completing tasks, which looks like lazy. Simple tasks, like doing the dishes, overwhelm me and I start to shut down. Anxiety is like slogging through quicksand. It’s extremely difficult to pull myself out of it while it is sucking at my energy, my self-esteem, and my motivation.

Anxiety makes me enervated, keeping me from being able to do, well, just about anything. I can have brief periods of positive energy. Usually that only happens when everything in my life is going smoothly — circumstances, life, financial, etc. But when I get a negative balance in my checking account,and payday isn’t until another week and a half, that can send me over the edge. If everything is going smoothly with my adult kids and my 90-year-old mom, I can skate on good vibrations. But the precarious perch upon which I emotionally sit can knock me off balance with just one simple thing.

Case in point: I know that I am sinking into another quicksand of anxiety when I see the dishes start to pile up. It always starts with one dirty dish. I finish a meal, and just leave my dirty dishes on the counter, telling myself “I will put them in the dishwasher later,” my procrastinator brain lies.

And then, the next dirty dish, and discarded containers of fast food because I just. can’t. deal. with prepping a meal. I can measure the depth of my anxiety by the depth of dishes and detritus on my kitchen countertops, the unwashed laundry, unmade bed, un-scooped cat litter box. It overwhelms, and my anxiety ramps up. So far, (knock wood) no panic attacks. Just mounds of dirty dishes and laundry, and everything.

I sink back into my recliner with my comfort food, my TV remote, my computer and try to pretend none of it is there. I can’t even read, because my ex-husband’s voice is in my head, yelling at me that I have no business reading when there are “things” that need to be done. Ten years divorced and his ugly words hurtle against my brain again and again.

Until it comes the time that my roommate is spraying the kitchen with air freshener because it smells. Until I don’t have any forks or spoons or knives to eat with, no clean plates, no more money for food delivery. This is the face of my anxiety and probably depression. And I do the dishes. Sometimes it takes me several hours, because the overwhelming anxiety causes me to stop and rest for awhile. Because, my brain screams at me, “WHAT IF IT’S NOT PERFECT???”

Today, my kitchen counters are full. My motivation is low and I am feeling overwhelmed. But soon I am going to have to force myself to clean it up. I just have to.