So, what do I do when I’m stressy and feeling I have little control over things? Yep, I clean (lacklustre given the lack of energy but I do try) and tidy (rearranging things from one hiding place to another). Who doesn’t love a good spring clean?
More and more I’m finding the antsy urge to tidy up, to sort out my physical surroundings. There’s something to be said for spring cleaning and getting organised in terms of changing your outlook and boosting your mental health.
Getting rid of things that you no longer need, replacing or repairing what’s broken, re-arranging furniture, organising paperwork, decluttering. It’s quite therapeutic, albeit quite energy and time exhaustive.
I seem to be sorting and tidying on a regular basis, never quite managing to do a proper job of it. I find it difficult to get rid of a lot of things, preferring instead to move things from one drawer, cupboard or box to another. You know, “just in case” I may want it at a later date, “just in case” it comes in useful one day even if it hasn’t been touched in the last 10 years.
Since my recent surgeries, however, I’ve had more of a need for doing it. I feel like my life is out of my control, my health significantly out of my hands and my job in an incredibly precarious position. I need order, to sort things out and get on top of everything. Sorting and tidying gives me a degree of this control and direction back, even if it’s a fleeting sense of it.
There’s also another purpose. The ileostomy this meant a need for an alteration in my wardrobe. The vast majority of my clothes are now too tight, too uncomfortable and too clingy around the bag. I need to be in the right frame of mind and with just enough energy to do a halfway decent job of it to get rid of these clothes, let alone to face the prospect of shopping for more suitable and comfortable styles. It’s emotional, saddening, frustrating. But it’s also cathartic.
I’ve go together countless bags full of clothes, accessories, books and various other bits and bobs over the last couple of months. The vast majority have gone to charity, then some have been recycled, a couple of things have had to go in the bin, and a few bits have been eBayed.
I’ve whittled down the abundance of paperwork I’ve gathered in to more manageable folders that no longer overflow or weigh more than a small elephant each.
The result? Well, I’m still not there yet. There are some things I find too hard to part with. My favourite top that I won’t wear again because it’s too tight around the bag and uncomfortable, but I remember the occasions on which I wore it. The box of mementoes from over the years that I can’t bring myself to go through. The gift I’ll never use but has sentimental value from someone I’ll probably never see again.
It keeps me busy, my mind occupied and gives me a sense of getting my shit together. It’s hard because of the value and emotion we attach to certain things and possessions. But they are, at the end of the day, only things. It’s cathartic to let go sometimes, even if you do this slowly and with some degree of fear, resentment, anger, sadness and loss.