Up and Down, Up and Down

Depression affects millions of people. It does not discriminate. It is a hidden illness as the signs are not always obvious. Lethargy, fatigue, loss of interest, loss of pleasurable things and activities are common. Personal hygiene is another common dysfunction that is not really discussed outside a clinician’s office. They may not shower every day or even brush their teeth.
I have suffered from depression most of my life and it’s only been over the past few years that my hygiene has suffered. I don’t shower every day. I barely brush my teeth. I don’t use deodorants unless I remember to. I might brush my teeth once every few days, though it’s not because I’m lazy. It’s mostly because I don’t care at times or because my post nasal drip (PND) causes me to gag and be nauseous. Because there have been many mornings where I am gagging and puking, I have gotten in the habit of not brushing my teeth every day or brushing later in the day when my stomach settles. Most days I really just forget because it just isn’t a priority for me. The PND has also gone on for years and I can say that it has caused me to feel bad about myself because I can’t take care of my teeth. Both my parents have dentures and that is the last thing that I want but when you feel so low, you don’t want to do anything. Even less so when you feel sick to your stomach. So I try to brush before bed and get in that habit but it is not easy. I have become easily distracted so if I go to the bathroom and do my business, I might not remember to brush. Sometimes I will if my mouth feels yucky. I think a lot of people with this condition don’t take care of themselves but are too embarrassed to admit they don’t take care of their oral hygiene. It is the same with personal hygiene.
I just don’t think about this anymore mostly because I know I will end up losing my teeth if I don’t. I have even stopped going to the dentist for fear of being reprimanded. I feel bad about my hygiene habits. Bust most days you only have enough spoons to do one or two things for the day. If showering and brushing your teeth are those two things, that doesn’t leave much for the rest of the day. I’m lucky that some days I go out and get my coffee at Starbucks. Usually that means no shower. Which leaves you with one spoon. Spoon theory (https://midnightdemons7.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/spoon-theory-explained/) is the equivalent of the amount of energy people have that do not have a chronic medical or mental condition that affect daily activities. Most people can take a shower, brush their teeth, get dressed, and then go out into the world to do what they have to do. This is not so with someone with a chronic health condition, being physical or mental. For those of us with chronic illness, it is not that easy. What used to take me 20 minutes now takes 40 or more, depending on how much pain or energy I have.
For me, it takes about 30 minutes to get dressed only because it is difficult for me to decide what to wear. What color jeans, socks, shirt or what kind of jeans I want to wear. Indecision is the biggest problem with me. I have too many and I can’t just chose one. I guess it could be worse. I could just be trying on clothes and take them off like some people do.