Confession: I spent a lot of time bathing as a Teenager.

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Ta-da! Welcome back to the teenager confession. I spent a lot of time in the bathroom when I grew up, and my mom was not happy about it. Today, I know why I did it.

As a Teenager, I loved spending more time in the bathrooms, and I didn’t know why…

When I was in high school, my parents and I had a major conflict about the time I spend in the bathroom. I would spend at least an hour inside the bathroom without even taking a bath. Even when I had to hurry up to go to school, I usually end up wasting so much time in the bathroom.

My parents had no idea, but the bathroom remained my coping mechanism as a teenager. I usually cry my heart out, sitting inside the bathroom after turning on the tap. It might sound like a metaphor, but I felt my heaviness washed away with the running water.

So, I took more time to take a bath as a teenager. Aside from the emotional outlet, the bathroom also served as a rehearsal for my future. I would sing for some days. Other days, I will enact my dreams and pretend that it came true. Aside, I skipped taking baths for days even though I had to attend school every day.

Though I skipped taking a shower, I never ignored the over-length bathroom routine. I remember sitting on the ground while the water runs to the drain, thinking about things that I won’t remember after stepping out of the bathroom. In the past, I had no idea why I behaved a certain way. It was too embarrassing to admit that I skip showers or find it too difficult to brush my teeth. If I had no absolute necessity to go out, I don’t comb my hair too. Shaming for my lack of hygiene was too troubling than the confusion of why it is happening to me.

Mental Health and Hygiene

In the digital era, you have answers to most of your questions readily. If you have doubts about how you feel a certain way, you can always google for answers.

Most people have no idea about the correlation between mental health and hygiene. When you neglect your hygiene, it indirectly means you are in a self-neglect mode. As a teenager, it is possible to vent out, be moody, or get annoyed and irritated due to hormonal changes.

With the intervention of your family or friends, if you could control your behavior and become rational, then you are fine. But, if you have no control over your reckless activities and behaviors, then it is time to knock the professional doors for help.

Spending too much time bathing could also be an illness

I had no one to tell me that it is okay to feel unhappy and unexcited about life all the time. When I spent too much time isolating myself inside the bathroom, I wished that someone heard my cries. Some of the major symptoms of depression include lack of personal hygiene, change in appetite, sleeping schedule, and interest in activities.

Though I made friends very easily, I had greater difficulty in maintaining and sustaining the relationships with them. Even now, a couple of friends who stays by me are making more efforts than I make to keep the friendship alive. As lively as I look at the first instance, I soon pull myself inside the shell and avoid my friends altogether. I lost a lot of friends because of this behavior and felt guilty about it. And what’s worse is that my family didn’t understand why I keep everything to myself all the time.

What should you do if you have no interest about your personal hygiene?

First and foremost, avoiding showers, or brushing the teeth for a day or two, did not necessarily mean you have a mental illness. Katelyn, a psychology student, shares a post on Facebook about the correlation between mental health and hygiene during mental health week. She says, ”Depression isn’t beautiful. Depression is bad hygiene, dirty dishes, and a sore body from sleeping too much.”

Contrarily, some people with mental illness also overdo everything from washing hands to taking a shower.

As opposed to the belief that depression is just a mental illness, it also has severe effects on physical health. People with depression feel physical pain and find basic activities as a mountain to climb. “It is all in the head” doesn’t work anymore because people can feel emptiness when they go through depression. In her post, Katelyn stresses the same, “Depression is somatic as well as emotional, an emptiness you can physically feel.” You can read her full post through this link.

Mel Helbert in ‘The Mighty’ explains why showering feels impossible with bipolar exhaustion. She says, “I know water will add weight to my body and it already feels so heavy. Especially when I soak my hair — it’s like another 1,000 pounds is added to the 4,000 pounds my limbs already feel.” Through her words, you can vividly understand the challenges faced by people suffering from mental health. In her article, she also explains how she tries not to be funny or overdramatic while saying, “showering is so much work.”

Poor hygiene cannot be an indicator of mental illness. But lacking the interest and strength to keep yourself clean when you know you should, is a clear indicator of mental health issues. It sometimes can be too exhausting to be proactive and follow a strict hygiene schedule. It is better to seek medical help in such cases.

What if you have someone in your family who faces mental illness?

Be kind and understanding if someone in your family does not find the strength to wake up or do chores. They are trying to be more productive and hygienic. If you find them isolated or too difficult to take care of themselves, don’t term them arrogant or lazy. We might never know what they are struggling against in their life.

If people talk to you, listen to them patiently. They might not need advice or suggestions to improve their situation. Probably, they know what to do, but they couldn’t make themselves do it. Be a good listener and try to be patient because depression doesn’t go away within a day. Teenagers suffer from depression and mental health issues more than we imagine.

If you face anxiety or depression, share with us in the comments about your thoughts and coping mechanisms. Share the article with your family, friends, and circle to make them understand that compassion and kindness can help people with mental illness get the help they want. Until next post, see you, bye-bye and boop.

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