February 14, 2019

When Depression and OCD Collide


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Laura Lee, 53, with invisible wounds and scars. I've learned to embrace PTSD and depression because if I don't own them, they'll own me.  I don't want to simply survive, but to thrive.  I hope you'll join me on my journey.  It's sure to be a bumpy road.


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I have a junk drawer;  I even have a junk cupboard – places for things that don’t have a place.  And, I had a dare-I-say-it, junk room.  I hated it.  As I cleaned the rest of the house things that didn’t have a permanent place just kept getting thrown into this room.  A room that has had several purposes over the last 7 years:  a formal dining room, a makeshift office, a nursery, a craft room.  I want it to be my office space.  A nice office with a real desk and real storage, but first I need to wrap my head around what to do with all the stuff that is in there now.

I hated that room though.  When I walked in there, I felt like it was alive – and it was eating me alive.   I hated to look at it.  I hated when I had to go looking for something in it because it took too long and I was bombarded with every decision that I failed to make.  I hated that it had French doors that allowed everyone to see in it and I hated that it was the first room you saw when you walked into the front door – in other words, everyone could see my FAILURES!




Collecting things can be a problem for people with OCD.  Sometimes they hoard.  The rest of my house wasn’t a hoarding scenario, just this room.  Well, and the garage.  I couldn’t tell you the last time we parked in the garage.  However, I’m not a collector.  I don’t have old gum wrappers, broken records, empty food containers, or even a collection of any sort.  I just had clutter.

I’m thankful for that though because it could have been so much worse, but the depression still takes hold and keeps me from looking at the things I need to act upon.

And then….

Then there was this.  I truly didn’t know how much stuff and junk was still in there until I saw it from this perspective.  I wanted to throw up.  I wanted to hide.  To run to the bed and pull the covers over my eyes.  Pretend it didn’t exist.  The fact that people were seeing all this stuff and that I allowed someone in my home to see and photograph it, thinking it wasn’t really so bad, literally made me ill.  I guess that was a good thing though.  It would be worse if I thought there was nothing wrong with it.


I LOVE a clean house and I genuinely enjoy doing housework when the house is already clean.  Well, except for dishes.  I hate doing the dishes.  And cooking.  Thankfully, my husband does those things.  But, it doesn’t make much sense does it?  I’m seriously considering hiring a maid service to get me to a baseline, but I’m one of those people who would clean first before the maid got here.  I’m in a lose-lose situation.  Sigh…




Usually if I can engage someone else in the family to help, I’m able to take big strides.  It doesn’t seem to be as huge an undertaking, as big a hurdle, if I have someone else with me.  Cassy was home from NYC for a few days and Carianne was in town too, so I enlisted their help to get me started on the room.   We threw away more junk that wasn’t needed and put some things where they truly belong.  I now had several boxes of stuff of which I need to sort through and  decisions to make.

Clutter took up space not only in this room, but in my head.  I think I’m a minimalist at heart. Truly.  I’m a minimalist trying to escape all this stuff.  Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t quite feel the same way.  He finds use in a lot of the stuff and gets upset and even angry when I suggest throwing things away, selling them, or giving them away.  Yet, people keep giving me stuff.

I’m not a knickknack or tchotchke type of person.  I like a few ornamental pieces, but that’s it.  Otherwise, they’re just dust collectors and they overload my brain.  Everything else belongs in the attack or stored in the garage.  I don’t need 100 kitchen tools that I might use once a year.  I don’t need a bowl that’s dedicated to olives or a dish that’s dedicated to deviled eggs.  I don’t need to cover every inch of the fireplace mantel or dresser with decorative whats-its.

My mess causes me stress!  I can’t focus.  I can’t relax.  I can’t function where there’s clutter.  I feel uncomfortable and just plain rattled.  As I write this, I feel like I do when I’m trying to multitask to an extreme extent.  To me, multitasking is a four-letter word.  If I’m multitasking, that means I’ve got too much to do and I need to ask for help.  My brain was asking for help because there was too much stimuli.



My bedroom used to be cluttered – full of clutter.  I had difficulty sleeping, among other things.

I was in a therapy session one day and we were discussing my sex life with my husband.  I told her that I couldn’t have sex if my bedroom was a mess and she asked me, without missing a beat, “Is that why you keep it cluttered? Are you avoiding sex?”

I honestly didn’t know how to answer except with a, “maybe.”  The truth is, that’s exactly what I was doing.  The mess, the clutter, the stress, from the trauma – it gave me an out.

It still gets cluttered at times, but it doesn’t stay that way for long.  I’m good at getting it picked it up and getting things put away and at times, yes, I simply put them in the junk room.

So, I had a long talk with my husband, Scott.  Not about sex, about investing in that room and in return making an investment in me.  I found inspiration for the office and bought a desk, shelves, furniture, a new laser jet printer.  I bought a few knickknacks that worked perfectly in the room – and many have a purpose.

If It didn’t belong in this room, it didn’t stay.  I threw away things.  I donated things.  I didn’t sell anything.  The thought of putting together a garage sale was anxiety producing.  It’s just not worth all the time, effort, or money.

Now, it’s my happy place.

Now, I pay the bills in this room.  I write my blog articles in this room.  I get creative in this room.  I even invite people into this room, without worrying about what they might think afterward.

Maybe Scott will get sex tonight, after all, but I’m not telling.

Click here to find my inspiration.


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    Laura Lee, 52, with invisible wounds and scars.  I've learned to embrace PTSD and depression because if I don't own them, they'll own me.  I don't want to simply survive, but to thrive.  I hope you'll join me on my journey.  It's sure to be a bumpy road.



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