Hygiene - The side of Mental Illness no one talks about
Mental illnesses undeniably affect countless spheres of our lives. They can seep into parts of our routines and habits without us realizing their true cause.
The most ordinary parts of our lives, like brushing, bathing, eating, or even getting out of bed can be drastically impacted by mental illnesses. Yet this facet is rarely discussed. One of the reasons being that hygiene is a concept that is an expected state, a supposedly natural habit.
Be it PTSD, ADHD/ADD, OCD, executive dysfunction, anxiety or depression, hygiene is likely to take a hit. It can span an entire spectrum from an obsession with hygiene, to a complete lack of personal hygiene. The deeper you delve, the more you realize how common, yet undiscussed the relationship between someone’s mental state and their hygiene is.
There are times when lack of hygiene can be the cause of the issue, or an effect.
For anyone experiencing a mental illness, the question arises - ‘It shouldn’t be this hard to take care of myself, should it?’ Sometimes, it's hard to even to get out of bed, forget to do anything else. It can feel like a task to even care to brush or shower or even clean up.
Is it gross? Maybe. Is it still the reality? Very much so.
Sometimes you can get yourself to do everything except one activity. You might be able to shower, brush, get dressed, but not wash your hair.
People can struggle with a lot of daily tasks when having a mental illness such as showering, taking off their makeup, getting dressed, doing laundry, brushing their hair and so on. So does it mean that they are impacted in all the mental illnesses? Let's talk about it.
Research has shown that depression is often marked by diminished interest in activities, routine tasks, tiredness and fatigue. So, daily tasks like personal hygiene can be neglected due to lack of energy and care. Depression also brings along with it unexplained physical pain, which can make it feel like personal care is not possible.
ADHD/ ADD, or ED sufferers can also have bad personal care. This can be from the simple fact of forgetting, being unable to finish a task or being fixated on another task.
For someone with anxiety or a sensory disorder, some tasks might feel overwhelming and physically painful. Sensory disorders can make the feeling of something on someone's skin an unbearable f