I’m in the incredibly slow process of unfucking my living space for the first time … I’ve been working in teeny tiny increments, five minutes working, five minutes resting, and I can safely say that most of my floor is visible. There are disorganized piles everywhere, but they’re piled so they can be tackled one-at-a-time.
and I’m having a panic attack because I can’t remember the last time my living space was actually clean outside of when I was moving locations. The mess is comfortable. The mess is familiar. The mess is home.
it’s taking all my willpower to keep from putting everything back where it was.
I know that this is healthy for me to do. I know that maintaining a clean living area will help me reduce my anxiety and my depression in the long run. I want to decorate, to buy furniture, to start a home craft business …
I just need to stop freaking out. No more cleaning tonight, that’s for sure, because I’ll probably break down completely if I make the attempt … but tomorrow, I’ll keep doing my daily maintenance (fill up and take out one full bag of trash per day, shoes get put in the shoe closet, jacket gets hung up in the closet, work clothes go in the laundry hamper, supper dishes get washed and put away) and I’ll go from there.
I was at rock bottom when I started unfucking. Piles of trash — actual, disgusting, rotting things — dirty clothes, boxes of things that I hadn’t unpacked from when I moved in at the beginning of May, books, wrappers, my ever-growing-out-of-control fabric stash, half-finished projects left, right and centre, empty pill bottles …
I just have to keep moving forwards. Train myself in maintenance when I’m to anxious to unfuck. On days off and low-stress days, set timers for the recommended 20/10s.
I am capable of doing this. I am worth this effort. My living conditions are worth this effort.
If you’re panicking, slow down. Let yourself get used to each change before you keep going. This is actually a really common reaction, for a lot of reasons. If you need to stop where you are and do five minutes somewhere else so that your immediate landscape stays the same for another few days, that’s OK. Give yourself permission to take your time. This is a big change, so acknowledge that, like any major life change, you need to process it. And that means slowing down and moving in small enough increments that you can be OK with what you’ve done so far before you move on to the next step.
You can do this. You’ve already made the first few steps, which is huge and difficult and scary. We’re here for you. You are not the only person to have this reaction to getting your mess under control. It’s an understandable response to a major change. You can’t go from rock bottom to everything in order without it messing with you a little. That’s OK. Do what you can. You have the support of all of Team UfYH behind you.