How to Take a Shower with Disabling Depression
When one is going through disabling depression, there isn't a whole lot of motivation to do much of anything. The most obvious and measurable basic self-care activities are things like feeding ourselves, bathing ourselves, brushing our teeth, changing our dirty clothing, hygienic toileting… you get the point.
All of these things become compromised when we feel depressed at a disabling level. High functioning and moderate functioning depression are certainly valid in their own struggles and levels of functional loss. We are not, however, going to discuss moderate or high functioning depression in today's blog. There are plenty of articles throughout the internet on those levels of depression.
When depression becomes disabling is when days go by in bed and we have no clue if it's Monday or Thursday.
These are times when we've been wearing the same shirt for a few days — but we aren't exactly sure how many.
We start to tell the time by how light it is or how dark it is through the window. Time becomes simplified to daytime or nighttime.
The amount of days it has been since one showered is often measured by the amount of visible grease and sweat in our hair (glamorous, I know), comments from other people, or through whiffs of ourselves in passing moments.
It can be very hard to even get motivated before discussing The How of taking a shower. Many people might exclaim, shower? For what? I'm not going anywhere! What's the point? I will feel the same afterwards!
Those of us psychological nerds who study human behavior and psychology, and think about it all the time (AKA Me!), are aware of a couple handy principles that can be applied from an "old school" area of early psychology.... Operant Conditioning.
Even though many depressed people prefer to spend most of their day in their bed and do not necessarily want to get out of bed, they will get out of bed to either directly reduce a negative stimulus (or feeling) that they feel inside of their bodies or add a positive stimulus (or feeling). See below:
A. A depressed person gets out of bed to use the restroom, aiming to decrease discomfort (negative stimulus) that one experiences from holding urine or feces inside of one's body.
B. A depressed person who lays in bed all day may get up out of bed to binge eat on the ice cream in the freezer, to increase positive feelings (positive stimulus) in the body.
Yes, it can be very tricky when somebody claims they don't care about anything. Given that, how can one decrease or increase anything?
I call BS!
I know that there are always things that humans want to increase or decrease, based on our universal traits.
So, the seemingly simple method for motivating ourselves or loved ones to take a shower are to provide an incentive which may be negative or positive.
Lets take two ways:
1. Increase a negative stimulus to make NOT showering intolerable
2. Increase a positive stimulus to make showering tolerable
How to Make NOT Showering Intolerable
Change your bed sheets to clean sheets. Getting back into them with dirty hair, body, and clothing will feel uncomfortable. Some people say that it promotes an urge to shower so that one can feel that total "fresh and new" feeling.
Make Showering Tolerable
Make it Quick and Easy
Wishing everyone suds and bubbles,