With so many people affected my mental health (MH), and as our brain is just as important than our other organs, you’d think there wouldn’t be a stigma attached to mental health issues any more. I’ve suffered from MH issues in my life, and I treat them, and am just as open about them as I am if I had a problem with my arm or leg. I’m very open about Mental health, not only for my own personal reasons but for professional ones too. Most (but not all) of my clients suffer from some sort of MH issue. Now I’m not saying clutter is a cause of MH issues, not at all, but it definitely can be a symptom. So why is that?
I guess there’s many reasons, and I’m generalising here! In my experience clutter can be very paralysing and emotional response to past events and what’s happening now. For example a trauma in ones life can cause a deep depression. Depression if you’ve ever suffered from it is exhausting enough, and it takes all your energy to survive, let alone more forward and start clearing things. It can mean procrastination as just being takes up all the energy you have. When your brain is a fog it’s hard to be able to think on task.
Grief can cause individuals to link emotions to objects that you wouldn’t rationally do so normally, almost as if you’re grasping at everything as you don’t want to let go of anything. It’s like you’re taking control back of things as a reaction to a loss that you weren’t able to have any control over.
OCD may come out in repetitive thoughts and creating irrational rituals in your head of why you need to keep items, even if you can appreciate that they don’t make sense. This can be a hard cycle to break, and so it can become troublesome when you cannot let objects go for fear of something happening.
Anxiety can cause you to be unable to make decisions, and feel hopeless and stuck as you don’t want to do anything wrong, or your brain may just feel too jittery to attempt anything. There’s a high degree of perfectionism in many cases which means you won’t attempt to do something for fear of ‘failure’ of not doing something perfectly, so it doesn’t get done at all.
All these MH issues can be addressed if given help, and also clearing clutter in the home can be part of the rehabilitation process. It’s been scientifically proven that clutter has a negative impact on our mental health. From dealing with clients, and also my own clutter I can thoroughly understand why. Due to this I am also a massive advocate for decluttering to improve your health (in tandem with MH services).
There’s a great deal of shame attached to living in a cluttered home, feelings of failure, being stuck, inability to act, not feeling good enough and different to the Jones’. By working with clients I explain that many factors have got them to where they are now, the main one is usually they simply were never given the tools in knowing how to declutter and how to tidy. Once given the tools and my support things change very quickly.
Many clients will live in semi darkness with the shame of a cluttered home meaning they always have the blinds or curtains drawn. I’m sure you’re aware of SAD (seasonal affective disorder), and I think all of us feel the benefit of having natural sunlight come into our home. By decluttering and having the curtains open it really helps life the spirits.
Living in constant clutter means you never fully relax in your home. The visual affect of clutter can be over stimulating and keep you on constant edge. Not being able to find what you need can exasperate and keep you trapped in a cycle of procrastination and hopelessness, not to mention waste lots of precious time.
So when you get help, things start looking up. As you find making the decision of what stays and what goes progressively easier you start to realise that things can change for the better. You feel more in control. You feel empowered. Less ashamed. You start to process your emotions as items are discarded, or cherish items to be kept. This can be emotionally exhausting, but it really does help. I recently supported a lady that had a traumatic childhood, she kept diaries of her teenage years and had decided it was time to let them go. We burnt the diaries in a letting go ceremony and she says she felt for the first time in her life she felt like she had made peace with herself, and let go of the anger and resentment she felt from those that had a negative impact on her childhood. (She kindly allowed everyone to mention it in today’s blog). Similarly you may find that if you’ve suffered from grief and are ready to deal with discarding items it can bring joy looking through selective items you’ve kept, rather than devastation being surrounded by everything to do with your loss. It’s almost like a second stage of grief you need to go through to be at peace.
A decluttered home is calmer, clients always state they feel happier and ‘lighter’ as if they’ve decluttered their anxieties and problems too.
So if you need support to declutter please inbox me, call or text and I can assure you we can chat to find the best way forward for you.