Depression and Organizing

May 27, 2022

During Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s continue to chat about another topic pertaining to mental health: depression and organizing. Many individuals who struggle with depression feel like their personal spaces are out of control. Depression stalls you in your ability to think, concentrate, make decisions, and remember things. You need to be able to do these things in order to keep your space organized or take on an organizing project. Depression makes this very difficult because it really does paralyze you. However, at the same time, a state of order can be very beneficial for those with depressive disorders. Our clients tell us “a weight is lifted” when their spaces are organized and they are given tools to manage their stuff in the midst of their depression. While depression and organizing appear to have a complicated relationship, organization really can help with depression.

Symptoms of depression…

It is first important to understand the symptoms of depression which can completely derail your ability to organize:

  • Slowed thinking
  • Fixating on past events
  • Overwhelming sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Frustration
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Emptiness
  • Tiredness
  • Angry outbursts
  • Exhaustion with even the smallest task

…and the list could go on and on! It is also very interesting to note, as found in The ICD Guide to Challenging Disorganization, that there are often other conditions that co-exist with depressive disorders (Varness, 2012). Kate Varness,  ICD author and editor of this book, states that 25 percent of ADHD cases and 50-60 percent of anxiety cases co-exist with depression. Knowing the symptoms of depressive disorders can be helpful in understanding why getting organized and staying organized is so difficult. Do you see how much can be weighing you down if you manage a depressive disorder? Instead of being disappointed or frustrated with yourself, take a good look at those symptoms, and take a big deep breath.

Depression and disorganization often go hand in hand…

If you have ever had an episode of depression or struggle with a depressive disorder, then these symptoms are only all too familiar to you. These symptoms show you why disorganization often surrounds you in your personal spaces. It should come as no surprise that many individuals with a depressive disorder find it a struggle to do the essential things. This is because getting organized and staying organized revolves around the ability to make decisions and concentrate on a task. Sorting through the mail, folding laundry, putting away groceries, or even getting out of bed on some days can be too much of a feat! When you have trouble just thinking – or concentrating , forget about organizing. Every pile just gets bigger and bigger. This in turn doesn’t help you manage your depression as taking one look around the room can have the ability to send you spiraling with the chaos. We are so bold as to say that organizing your spaces that feel out of control can have such a positive effect on your depression!

Organization can help you manage your depression…

Yes, when there is organization this helps with managing depressive disorders. Finding a home for every item, being able to find items you are looking for, establishing routines and systems, being able to open and close drawers without overflowing items getting in the way, and the list could go on. When your surroundings are under control and peaceful, you are able to think better and be more present in the moment. Our stuff takes up mental energy. Managing depression takes up a lot of mental energy. Having your surroundings in order allows you the mental energy to focus on the things you need to give your time to. Oftentimes though, when you struggle with depression this can too much to do on your own. We know this takes courage to step out and ask for help and we promise you that there are those that can help! 

Don’t “complicate” the relationship…

Our professional organizers are trained and experienced with working with individuals who struggle with depression. We wish more clients that struggle with depression would reach out sooner! But, you do not want to reach out for help from just anyone. In fact, advice from the wrong person can be extremely damaging.Whether you are someone looking to help a loved one or friend with depression, or you yourself are looking for help organizing your surroundings, these are important things to remember: 

  • Too much decision making or too much commotion can cause an individual with depression to shut down or get angry.
  • You do not need someone coming into the picture and asking you 1,000 questions.
  • It can be extremely damaging if someone starts encouraging you to purge all your items.

Reaching out for help takes courage…

So many of our clients have come to us thinking they are probably the most unorganized client we have ever worked with on a job. That could not be farther from the truth. Instead we see very brave, commendable, and strong individuals! You need to be respected and valued, know that you are not alone, hear that you are brave and strong, and feel  connected and understood.⁠ We want you to be able to feel the weight lifted with an organized space and given the tools to help you stay organized while managing your depression. It really does help! You know where to find us and here is NAPO’s Pro Directory if you are in another state so you can find a professional near you. 

Check out our Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook. for more We are here for you and love to hear from you!