Who knew cleaning could be so therapeutic?
Anyone who’s experienced serious depression can tell you that it makes accomplishing the most basic, every-day tasks almost painfully difficult. At times, it’s hard to even get out of bed in the morning. Recently, a series of photos went viral that give an unflinching look at what it looks like when someone lives with depression and, ultimately, decides to fight back.
The two photos were posted to the image sharing site Imgur under the title “Me 1 — Depression 0!,” and, since their initial posting, they’ve been viewed over 330,000 times.
The images present a before-and-after look at the original poster’s bedroom. The “before” picture shows the bedroom covered in trash, the floor almost completely covered in plastic bottles, and the bed itself overwhelmed with clutter.
The caption reads: “My room. I suffer from severe depression and have a really hard time with cleaning and doing other kinds of household work. My room have been this messy for several months beacause i cant push myself to take care of it. But this friday i decided to finally do it!”
The second image shows the exact same room, but it looks almost completely different. The mess is gone, the bed is made, the room feels lighter and brighter.
The caption for the second image says:
“Three days later...
You can finally see that i have a floor! Say hi to my teddy Nalle on the bed!
I know its not a big victory, but for me it means the world to just be able to have my door open if people come over.
I feel so at peace right now, just wanted to share with all of you wonderful imgurians!
Me 1 - Depression 0!”
It’s a simple change — a typical bedroom clean-up — but, in the context of the post, it feels like a huge personal victory.
Many of us have been in the exact same place when it comes to depression. Unable to sleep, eat, or take care of the simple life tasks we do every day. But this small act of defiance against depression really struck a chord with Imgur users, inspiring hundreds of thousands of views and over 1,400 comments.
While internet comments have a reputation for being cruel, the vast majority of the comments on the Imgur post actually express support or solidarity with the anonymous poster. For example:
It’s important to note that accomplishing simple tasks like cleaning your bedroom can actually be a big deal when learning to live with depression. The condition of person’s physical space is often used as an indicator of mental distress — hoarding is a prime example — and living in an unkempt space can actually worsen a person’s overall sense of depression.
According to Everyday Health, one of the major signs of depression is when a person suspends “taking care of day-to-day chores, like cleaning your house. … Unfortunately, a messy house can add to those feelings of depression — creating a destructive cycle that feeds on itself. Once the mess gets too large and chaotic, people with depression can't imagine how to begin tackling the household duties.”
They went on to suggest that 20 minutes of physical activity a day, such as basic housework, “benefited mental health and lowered risks of psychological problems.”
So, can you really call straightening up your bedroom a “victory”? Yes, you can.
Because anything a person can do to take back their daily lives from doubt and anxiety is an important step in the right direction. And these two Imgur photos show that hundreds of thousands of people recognize how significant something like a clean bedroom can be when someone is struggling to cope with the all-too-familiar feelings of depression.