How my bipolar affects my hoarding:
1. When I am depressed, every little task seems huge. Every little effort is like trying to climb a mountain. Sometimes I just have to use the day to take care of myself and focus on just the basics.
2. When I am manic, I have boundless energy to attack the dirt and clutter. The problem is that I cannot seem to stop. I keep at it for long hours, even days, and don't sleep. I also get bogged down in little details. I scrub the floor on my hands and knees getting every little scuff mark removed. I go back over the floor with a shiner. Now I have one perfectly clean spot in my house, but it has taken three days. Meanwhile, the little daily tasks of maintaining myself or my house were forgotten.
3. My youthful resilience has worn away. I don't bounce back from the little obstructions of life like I used to when the support systems of friends and family were there. Something like a power outage or an appliance that stops working or a clogged drain knocks me on my ass and temporarily paralyzes me.
These are the extremes. Most of the time, I am functioning well enough that people have no idea of the battles I face. Counseling helps. Being on the right dosages of the right medications helps. Journaling, so that I know day by day what I am feeling and where I am headed helps. Being quick to seek help when something is out of kilter helps.
I wrote this so those of you on the outside can glimpse what may be going on inside of a bipolar hoarder. Please be kind and compassionate. It is so easy to judge others.