Shower Power

And now, a few words on a subject bipolar people don’t like to talk about: our reluctance to shower.

I honestly don’t know what it is about performing personal hygiene that’s so hard, but it’s a real phenomenon among many of us, especially when we’re depressed. It just seems like too much of a bother. We’re not afraid of the shower, we simply lack the energy to care for ourselves, and that extends to getting dressed, caring for our hair, even brushing our teeth. And as for actually bathing away the funk, well…let’s just say that it’s the last thing on our minds when we can barely get out of bed.

Look, we know we stink. But it doesn’t matter when we’re wading through the mud of depression. My daughter’s roommate, who suffers badly from it, will literally go months without a shower. And as much as I hate to admit it, I myself have been known to go as long as a week, although one of the reasons was a legitimate one: the bathtub showers in our old house were slippery and dangerous, and having a textured bottom didn’t allow for rubber mats or gripper strips. The sides were also high, which made getting in and out dicey at best, and I lived in fear of falling and having the paramedics see me naked. So that made a great excuse for failing to shower…in my mind at least.

Now I don’t have that excuse, seeing as how my son and son-in-law’s house has a beautiful walk-in shower. It also helps that I’m NOT depressed. Guess what, I’ve showered four times in the week that we’ve been here, and I’m going to take another one tonight. I’ve even come to enjoy it again like I used to years ago, before bipolar disorder took over my life for awhile. I love the feeling of being clean and smelling nice. Showering also makes me feel better about myself—a win/win situation all around. Such a simple thing…but one I no longer take for granted.

When I’m in a bad way, I’m very fortunate in that my husband will leave me gentle hints about my needing to bathe by putting clean underwear in the bathroom for me, rather than going “Ewww, you reek!!” He knows I would never put clean underwear on a filthy body, so while I may neglect myself from time to time I’m not stupid. That’s when I’ll drag my sorry butt into the shower and git-r-done, no matter how lousy I feel or how scared I am of climbing into the tub. Thank God I no longer have to worry about the latter.

Anyway, that’s a little bit about bipolars and showers (or the lack thereof). We don’t like to acknowledge this uncivilized behavior as part of our illness, but for many of us it is. I just hope the next time I get depressed that I’ll remember how much better I feel when I don’t smell like a goat. LOL











Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

11 thoughts on “Shower Power

  1. Now that the weather is so hot and humid, I probably hit it 5 out of the 7 days. Even so all I do is the pits, my hair, and what one of my patients used to call her “monkey.” I can still see her to this day – she was very reluctant and we had to practically force her to get into the bath once a week. Now that I think about it, I think she was bipolar lol. I think many elderly are reluctant though (am I saying we are elderly? lol)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG…I hate to shower even now. I hit it about three times a week. If I know I am going out, then I shower the night before so my hair looks decent. I just let my hair air dry…I hate blow drying. I don’t get it…I am pretty far into recovery and I still hate the shower.

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  3. I’m not Bipolar so I don’t have that problem, Even when the depression is bad, I have to feel clean.
    I live in Florida and am hot and sticky all the time…even inside…Plus I have hot flashes almost 24/7 anymore. So I want and need a shower several times a day.
    My problem is : I am having a huge lupus/fibro flare and it is hard for me to take a shower or do much of anything right now.
    I cool off (for a short while) but am worn out from the effort. I gave up baths because I have trouble getting in and out.

    Have an awesome weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Stepping outside the house is the hardest thing for me to do right now because IT is just hot and humid and I have been too hot since I moved to Florida. I fight depression really bad right now…..Just walking out to the rabbit cage to check on Vittle is all I can do sometimes. I want to cry at the thought of going outside.
    Most days I just want to stay in bed all day right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OMG, this is so true….I almost never indulge in the “not shower” because it would freak out my husband and he’s so patient on every front…But left to my own devices (and when he travels) I totally skip showers here and there. Especially if I’m on the depressive side of things, when showering seems just soon hard. Thank your this post-had never seen this addressed anywhere else.

    Liked by 1 person

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