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Housework + Back Pain = Depression ? :-P

hello painhhello pain Posts: 69
edited 12/28/2012 - 11:44 AM in Depression and Coping
Well, I'm not so great with the housework.

I guess that I'm not a fan of it, at the best of times.

But add in chronic back pain and the hassle of housework just doesn't seem worth it, most of the time.

If I'm lucky and have a good day, then I get a lot done. Or sometimes, if I decide it really needs doing, I'll ingore the pain and do it anyway.

I've been ignoring this problem so far - just letting the housework slide and apologising that it's not so neat and tidy at our place and voila.

I would so much prefer a different approach tho.

I guess if I could afford it, I'd just get a weekly cleaning service in. But, no such luck! :crying:

So, is there something I'm not getting?

I mean with chronic back pain, I find that just about everything in life takes twice as long anyway... then add the same time again, for recovering from the pain involved.

So my schedule is already booked out, trying to to do the important things - all at half speed...

So basically, my day is already up, before I've even gotten around to thinking much about the housework.

Let alone having to do that all at a snail's pace too!

Most of the time I just laugh and say "Look, I'm a feminist, I shouldn't have to do housework!!" haha

So what do I do? Take one whole day out of every week, for cleaning the kitchen and bathroom? And another for doing the rest of the appartment? That would be 2 whole days "missing"! Every week! Just so that the appartment doesn't look like a student share-household, haha...

And really, coping with the back pain is already draining. If I have spare time, I need to do something that cheers me up - not to drag myself down with the drugery of cleaning dishes, toilets, windows and floors...

I have a sticker on the fridge saying "A tidy household is a sure sign of a wasted life", which is meant to be funny of course.

So, can you have a tidy household, without feeling like your own cleaning lady?? And a cleaning lady with chronic back pain, to boot?

Or have I let chronic pain and depression get the better of me and just can't motivate myself to do normal chores...?

Confused,
J
Happiness is your chronic pain being less than it usually is...

Migraines and so many herniated discs (the same ones over and over) that I have literally stopped counting
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1

Comments

  • FrancineSFFFrancineSF Posts: 318
    edited 12/28/2012 - 12:05 PM
    Sorry to hear that you are in pain and that it is turning or has turned into a depression.

    When you say "our place" - does this mean you have a spouse/significant other/room mate - someone else who can do these things? If so, is there a reason you are torturing yourself with the heavy lifting/cleaning if someone else could alleviate some of that for you? I couldn't imagine being with someone who would WANT me to suffer and hurt and harm myself in that way.

    Or, is this something inside of you telling you that in order to be a good wife/mate that you have to keep a tidy house and if you do not you have failed? If that is the situation, then you have to lighten up.

    Since you say you cannot afford cleaning people, is there a way to sit down with this other person or people in your home and divvy up responsibilities so that you can do the things that you CAN do without harming yourself.

    I agree COMPLETELY with your fridge magnet. I love it and agree with it! Something to really think about in all seriousness.

    You don't indicate what kind of chronic back pain you are in or if you have had it checked out by doctors, had surgery or if you have gone through all of that and this is the end result. If you haven't explored all of this yet, is there a reason why not? And, if you have and this is the "end result", is it time to perhaps see someone else who might have suggestions and maybe even solutions in dealing with long term chronic back pain?

    I hope that you lighten up on yourself. Truly. Something tells me you do not live in a pig sty, but maybe your expectations need to change. I don't know that I would spend an entire day cleaning knowing that it will take a day or two to recover. It would seem smaller tasks over a longer period of time might be better on your back?

    I wish you well. I hope you get someone else involved in the cleaning. It seems cruel that you should be doing all of it, if that is the case.
    10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
    No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
    04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
    Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
  • hello painhhello pain Posts: 69
    edited 12/28/2012 - 12:34 PM
    Hi Francine,

    that's sweet, but you're honestly giving me too much credit!

    Things here *are* messy, and I'm *not* too hard on myself! ;-)

    I live with my boyfriend, but we each have our own appartment, so it's quite clear who cleans where...

    And as I say, as a feminist, I don't think I allow myself to get roped into doing more than my fair share, or doing too much, or having too high standards...

    Believe me, I'm not particularly neurotic about cleanliness or tidiness (tho I'm surprised my post made you think so :-) )

    I have another sticker that says "Dust is a country collectable"

    But honestly, there are just things that are not cool. Like, if I've fixed a meal and eaten it, I go and lie down, with out putting the dishes away in the sink, cos the pain of sitting so long makes me crave a quick lie-down.

    Or when I come back from the shopping, I dump the shopping bags in the kitchen, quickly put the "cold" stuff into the fridge and the rest will just stay sitting there in the bags... again, cos the trial of shopping is all I can handle for the moment - can't face storing everything away neatly...

    I feel like I need so much effort and discipline to cope with the back pain already, that it's just not there anymore, for the rest.

    My boyfriend is pretty supportive. He does all of the cooking and most of the shopping. He cleans his appartment, of course.

    I ask him to help me with stuff that I truly can't do on my own.

    But I hate the thought of asking him to help me with too much of the "small" daily stuff... I would feel like he's being my carer then, not my boyfriend...

    So, I think that that's not a path I want to go down.

    I was thinking before too, that what I find frustrating is, that there's always about 100 things to do in a household - you do one task - and instead of going "Woohooo! I did it!" - it's basically like "Well, yup, but there's another 99 things waiting..."

    My back issues are many herniated discs with sciatica, but I'm quite happy with the treatment and these days the pain isn't too bad.

    But doing housework is so much standing, bending, twisting, carrying... and that does aggrevate a bad back...

    I don't know...

    My pain levels are better than they have been for 20 years and I'm pretty happy with my treatment currently.

    I guess I want to turn over a new leaf, now that I feel able to.

    While my pain levels were truly bad, I allowed myself to let the household just slide - but truly allowed myself... I figured if you're in chronic pain, then your househould will look it and tough luck to anyone who doesn't like it...

    But yeah, now with things a bit better, I'd like to take a bit more charge of things like the household again...

    But it feels like SUCH a drag...

    And I'm so used to things being relatively messy, that I just sort of walk past it and think "Who cares!"

    I dunno. Just trying to figure out a better approach I guess...
    Happiness is your chronic pain being less than it usually is...

    Migraines and so many herniated discs (the same ones over and over) that I have literally stopped counting
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  • ..thanks for clarifying and OUCH is all I have to say.

    First, let me say, unless you are OCD (which it appears you are not) or a neat freak, which you say you are not - CLEANING IS A MAJOR DRAG!!!!! There are just no two ways about it! There are those who are thrilled when they get to clean things and more power to them. I missed getting that gene, too. hahah

    I understand about not wanting to be a burden to your boyfriend. He sounds very supportive given your situation.
    I am in my cervical collar after having had cervical fusion done 2 months ago and there are so many things I have let go around the house. There's a light that burnt out and that's not going to happen anytime soon - and of course, a whole array of other things - BUT, I do what I can. For me, I know I will get this collar off in a month or so and can HOPEFULLY resume those dull tasks again.

    I am not a neat freak and I am not a slob, although I can easily rationalize not doing the housework to do something else like, for example, enjoying friends, etc.

    I still think you need to cut yourself some slack and perhaps "accept" some of your limitations right now. For example, when you go marketing - acknowledge that you got the important stuff into the fridge and freezer before having to go rest rather than beat yourself up about it. Some may be acceptance than anything else?

    I don't know where you live, but do you know if your local market delivers? Perhaps you can order what you want online (like I can here) and you can spend that energy otherwise used during marketing to put the groceries away when they arrive? It might be things like that that help you use your energy when it really needs to be used and you might get less down on yourself and then less depressed.

    The real answer would be to get cleaning people, but I understand that is not possible for you. Maybe if anyone asks you what kind of birthday gifts you want, maybe you can ask for a house cleaning gift certificate? That would be a WONDERFUL gift. I have done that for a few friends over the years and you would have thought I gave them the winning Lotto ticket!

    I hope that just writing about it helps to alleviate some stress for you.
    10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
    No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
    04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
    Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
  • FrancineSF said:
    First, let me say, unless you are OCD (which it appears you are not) or a neat freak, which you say you are not - CLEANING IS A MAJOR DRAG!!!!! There are just no two ways about it! There are those who are thrilled when they get to clean things and more power to them. I missed getting that gene, too. hahah
    :lol:" alt=":lol:" height="20" /> Ohhh, yes, I often kid about that too... Why didn't I get "cleaning OCD" instead of these other ailments, haha...

    Yeah, your other suggestions are cool. I'm going to put them on my list and try and find a solution that works for me.

    And yeah, I'm hoping that posting about the daily household grind helps... I guess we all have things that we get particularly stuck with and exercise and housework are mine!! ;-)

    So I'm going to vent here and to try and find a back-friendly way of getting my appartment a little neater...

    Mainly I focus on making it a) comfortable and b) welcoming and friendly - cos that's more important to me than tidy or dust-free...

    And ever since "shabby chic" came into style - I just tell everyone that it's not a *mess* - it's a *style* - haha!

    Thank you for your thoughts!!

    :-)
    Happiness is your chronic pain being less than it usually is...

    Migraines and so many herniated discs (the same ones over and over) that I have literally stopped counting
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,663
    I've had to figure out how to do things for the past 3 w0 years. I love the outdoor work and getting my hands dirty. Moving rocks, carrying boulders, etc was so more much fun. Well, I cant do that any more so, I have found other ways to get the job
    done.

    In terms of housework, since I retired, I am home many more hours than my wife is. She works full time, so I do the house cleaning , shopping, etc.. (cooking, well, I've always done that, since it is my passion)

    For housework, I've found different devices, pole extensions, etc to make it somewhat easier. Plus, the key is moderation.
    I do a little at a time, rest come back and do some more. Having a part time job also helps because it motivates me into doing some more

    So, I do the house cleaning... Is it as good as my wife would do? NO, is it as good as a cleaner would do ? NO
    But its me
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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  • hello painhhello pain Posts: 69
    edited 12/29/2012 - 4:23 AM
    Your approach sounds great.
    Yeah, I agree that moderation is a good thing to aim for.

    Last night, tidying up the kitchen, I had to think of all the people on this forum, with so many different debilitating back issues and that they are all brave enough to do their housework etc... And I thought "Oh my gosh, how embarrasing, that I make such a big deal of it!"

    I mean, the condition of my back is awful for me, but when I read what many here have been through, I am quite humbled.

    So in that way it's good. Cos it makes you pity yourself a bit less.

    Until now, I've pretty much been the person with the worst back issues, in my circle of friends/ family and acquaintances. My new neighbour has very similar back issues, so it's nice to have someone here to "talk shop" with now!

    But yeah, if you're the person with a worse back than most others you know, I guess it's easy to feel quite a bit of self-pity. (Which I'm not really being judgemental of myself for. The pain *is* bad, and we get so little pity from others, that sometimes self-pity has to do!)

    But yeah, reading accounts of far more terrible back conditions here and seeing what troopers people are about it, it's kind of putting me to shame! I may end up doing my housework out of embarassment!!! :doh:

    I'm just going to have to find a way back into it.

    Like I've said, I've only done "the essentials" for so long - that there's a lot of more thorough cleaning to do.

    But heck, I've learned to do more difficult things before, so I'm sure I'll get this dreaded housework sorted out too!

    :-)
    Happiness is your chronic pain being less than it usually is...

    Migraines and so many herniated discs (the same ones over and over) that I have literally stopped counting
  • hello painhhello pain Posts: 69
    edited 12/29/2012 - 6:41 AM
    Okay… I think I’m working some of this out…

    I think I may be an “all or nothing” type of girl.

    I guess I was raised to believe that “if you’re going to do something then it’s worth doing properly”.

    So while I’m not a neat freak AT ALL (and no, I refuse to upload the embarrassing photos of the mess in this place to prove it, haha :lol:" alt=":lol:" height="20" /> ) I think I may be a perfectionist…

    So, I either ignore the work to be done, or do it really thoroughly… Kind of getting myself into boom/ bust cycles, I guess.

    So, I need to work out the difference between a “deep clean” and a superficial clean.

    My perfectionist upbringing has me bridling at the idea of a superficial clean… along the lines of “Well, if it’s only superficial, then it’s not really a clean at all, is it?!?!” Haha

    So, I’m literally going to sit down and type up a list for the kitchen and one for the bathroom divvying up which tasks belong to a deep clean and which go on a “superficial clean” list…

    I think that is going to be TOTALLY helpful for me! (If I can make myself stick to it, haha!!)

    :-)

    (And no, please don't ask why I'm not clever enough to have not figured out such a simple, obvious thing sooner.... I have NO idea!)
    Happiness is your chronic pain being less than it usually is...

    Migraines and so many herniated discs (the same ones over and over) that I have literally stopped counting
  • FrancineSFFFrancineSF Posts: 318
    edited 12/29/2012 - 8:57 AM
    ...when it's our own 'stuff', it's sometimes tough to see what might be right before us. :)
    That's why it can be helpful to "talk" it out - in this case, in a forum like this, perhaps. :)

    And, perhaps not labeling it "superficial" which could have negative connotations, perhaps call it "sufficient" or "clean" vs. "deep clean." Oh, I like that better -- because, now that you are revealing more about yourself, it probably is "clean", just not that deep clean that you are used to.

    It's all in the packaging, right?

    Looking forward to hearing how this new approach works for you.
    10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
    No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
    04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
    Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
  • Yeah - that's right - when it's our own stuff, it's so difficult to see sometimes!

    I was thinking earlier too that, since my pain levels have finally come down a few notches, I'm thinking much more clearly again now, which helps... Strong constant pain sure is not conducive to being able to think clearly and reflect and solve complicated issues! So maybe no wonder I didn't figure it out before now...

    I take your point too about giving the "sufficient" clean a positive label - I will see how I go... I kind of picked the harsh word "superficial" on purpose - because I know I will find it difficult to stop a superficial clean from sliding over into a deep clean... So I'm trying to get them to be entirely separate concepts in my mind at the moment. Once I've gotten the hang of it, I'm sure I can then label it more positively/ genourously :-)

    I did a superficial/ sufficient clean up of the kitchen while my boyfriend cooked dinner earlier - and it was great! No fuss at all - it felt like a breeze!

    So if it continues in that vein, I am going to be one happy gal!

    Thank you so much for you input and for helping me get to the core of my housework issue!! Much appreciated :-)

    Happiness is your chronic pain being less than it usually is...

    Migraines and so many herniated discs (the same ones over and over) that I have literally stopped counting
  • ...that you already have shifted to putting the new perspective into place. That's great.

    Good luck with your new approach to all of this.
    And, when you're done - want to come over and clean my place? hahaha

    Enjoy the new year.
    10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
    No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
    04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
    Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
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