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Self Neglect - Normal?

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  • Self Neglect - Normal?

    I've had depression before, it's all better now and I don't have suicidal thoughts anymore nor do I feel sad all the time. I do however still have anxiety and I've recently come to the realisation that I have a bad habit of self neglecting.

    Is it normal to some degree neglect your basic needs or am I just lazy? Because I did the same things when I was depressed but to a lesser degree because I lived at home back then and had appearances to keep or my parents would get worried.

    Now, unless I know I have to meet people or go outside I'm neglecting basic hygiene and I know how fucking gross that is (and yes I feel better after a shower) but I kinda just feel apathetic. Even if i have food in the fridge and I can cook a decent meal I sometimes only eat one meal per day and even then it's a quick fix like some nacho chips...

    I don't know if it's just a bad habit from when I was depressed or if i'm just an extremely lazy person like my mom likes to tell me lol, I actually don't know what the cause is since I'm not depressed anymore. Or is this linked to my social anxiety where I'm subconsciously telling myself if I don't look put together I can't go out? (Not that I want to go out but I'm good at making excuses for myself.)

    If someone have similar experiences please feel free to share.

  • #2
    It is impossible to tell "why" from someone on the outside but I think you are pointing at some possible reasons.

    When being depressed for a long time your brain gets programmed into that behavior and when out of depression you might have to "reprogram" your brain.

    I think this kind of cementing behavior is common. I used to be afraid of so many social situations but have got over so many of them. Still I do without thinking avoid many of these situations for no reason. My unconscious mind remembers and reacts by avoiding the situation.

    Is it normal to some degree neglect your basic needs. We are built to survive and you do even with the neglect you describe. But life is more than survival, you want more of course.

    There could be many different reasons you behave like you do. One could be a sort of self inflected harm. There could also be many different reasons why you would do self inflected harm. One could be that getting out of the depression means that suddenly you can hide behind it. Like if you had bad glasses for many years and then buy new correct ones. The image is so sharp, sticks in your eyes, and instead of feeling better life comes crashing down at you. So you hide in other ways, try not be part of real life. Sabotage it. Life feels too frightening.

    I'm a believer in "psykodynamisk terapi" when you really need to get to the bottom of the cause of your behavior. But at some point the "reason" might not be what holds you back, but it is the programming of your brain. And my belief, even if I have no evidence of it, is that at that point you have to reprogram your brain. You can do it yourself if you have the discipline and strength. Maybe following some self-help book.

    Or if like most of us, take help. And to reprogram your brain I think a KBT therapist can help. Together with the therapist write lists of actions, follow up. And in that way reprogram your brain.

    Or.... you can do like me and buy a dishwasher, washer, dryer and hire cleaning of your apartment (with the beneficial side effect that you need to clean up before the cleaners come). That way make life so easy that you maybe can bring out the energy to take care of yourself a little better

    I'm not an expert, just some thoughts. I hope you find your way.


    • #3
      Your behavior can be, and sounds like symptoms of depression. Its good that you feel better than before, but I think your health can improve.. talk to your doctor about this.

      When I start to get depressed, my early symptoms are self-neglect. I don't care, I don't have the energy.. I stop eating, I shower less and I cancel dates with friends and family. Exersize? Its the first thing to go... Clean up the house? Why bother when I'll have to do it again soon.
      IF I don't act at this point I Will be really depressed, suicidal and have panicattacs.

      If you want other tips I suggest you work on your self-esteem and take long walks outside or go to the gym.
      Last edited by smyrra; 2017-10-21, 15:49.