Let’s just jump right into it.
Have you ever went a week without brushing your teeth for no reason why? Have you ever went five days without showering without any excuse as to why? Have you ever not combed your hair for weeks on end (yes weeks)? Have you ever stopped eating or eating too much for an extended period of time?
Don’t worry…I have too.
In my last blog post, we discussed the correlation between bipolar and poor hygiene. Though it is not something people really want to talk about, it is really a thing. It matters. Getting to the bottom of why it happens, how to cope with it and how to even prevent it is really the key to better managing the illness and its symptoms, thus, bringing about more happiness, stability and confidence in oneself overall.
It’s an endless cycle of depression, letting myself go, me hating myself for it, mania, finally doing my self-care, me feeling on top of the world, then downward spiral into a depressive episode, letting myself go, me hating myself for it and the wheels go round and round as the cycle continues.
When does it stop? Do we have any control?
I did some digging and found some articles that touch on the topic as well. According to an article by BpHope, “Smell is a SENSE, which means it is part of our mental health and smelling bad can take us down a deeper well when the depression is raging.”
Here are a few quick ways to cope with and defeat poor hygiene during bipolar ups and downs:
- Take a wash cloth and wash at the sink if a bath or shower feels like too much work at the moment. It’s better than nothing, and can get most of the job done!
- Brush your hair and put it in a ponytail. If it is really dirty, rinse it in the sink, oil or condition and then put it in a ponytail. IT WILL require a tad bit of effort on your end, but you don’t have to make it look pageant ready. Just clean and managed is really the end goal for right now.
- Aromatherapy! Buy some candles, essential oils for the home and your body, and essential oil sprays as well. I prefer investing in fresh fragrances like lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus to add a clean smell to yourself and your home. It’s not going to eliminate your lack of hygiene depending on the level of extremity, but the smell of essential oils alone will definitely help to relax you and uplift your spirit. Pour into your safe by making it feel welcoming and at ease; thus, this will help you to feel better overall during a really rough time with bipolar disorder.
- As stated in the article by BpHope, invest in long-wearing deodorant if washing altogether is too much for you. Degree and Dove are my top two to recommend for use for a few days if needed.
- Don’t lay in bed. Get up and get busy, as you are more prone to take value in your self-care if you are about to be out and about rather than underneath the covers where no one can see you. This might sound impossible during a rough patch, and it is definitely going to feel like it. But you can do it, remember that. Sometimes, we need that extra nudge to overcome a bipolar episode or major mood swings – whether it be an invitation to a party, your mom calling you asking you to come by and visit or your friends wanting to meet for coffee. Sometimes, just getting out of bed is really the best start.
As mentioned in another article by Pasadena Villa, the statement couldn’t hold any more truth:
“Remember, when it comes to diagnosing a depressive disorder, there is no blood test, X-ray or questionnaire that can verify the condition in an individual – there is only diagnosis from a doctor or psychiatrist after a thorough health evaluation. That’s why it’s important for individuals to seek treatment at the first signs that there may be a problem. And those first signs may include poor personal hygiene.”