Organizing from the inside out. 

This is written in response to today’s New York Times article about depression and living in chaotic clutter. This is an expanded version of my comment.

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Living in clutter my whole adult life, I’ve read many how-to clean/ how to de-clutter books.

For me, the energy draining problem was from being internally oppressed- me consciously and unconsciously suppressing my opinions about daily life- which often seem at odds with other’s in my milieu.

Objectively my demeanor might have looked like I’m depressed. I guess.

Depression can look like fatigue or anger, anhedonia- loss of experiencing pleasure, appetite dysregulation, and chronic substance use. Though the latter wasn’t necessarily mis- or ab- used, and by minimalist standards, my affect looked put together, I fit the criteria.

I often wore green-grey monochrome, my hair pulled back tightly and ~never makeup, rarely offered opinions, and was unhappy.

I usually feel like a blue dot in a red sea (I am curious about multiple forms of governance – not just western ones like so-called “democracy”), and a red dot in a blue one (I’m ardently pro-life).

After conversations about these hot topics especially on the “news”, I usually feel quite drained – with barely energy to prepare healthy meals, let alone clean up and organize after myself, let alone my children. Of course, having those 2 glasses of wine doesn’t help.

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Regardless of my personal pity pot, pets and toddlers helped me to be aware of potentials for “disasters”.  

I learned how to “kid-proof” a house. With huge effort could prepare for a guest – but otherwise had no free counter space.

I applied Feng Shui principles. As energy flow starts with de-cluttering- I picked up my trash (and did not add mirrors!). But a bit passive-aggressively, I left the rest for my cleaning lady.

Even so, on counters and tables, I noticed little areas had “precious” mementos (like versions of altar), so I made them into “protected” space. Little by little, I was able to create small focal points of clarity in my room and the house at large.

With Marie Kondo’s method I surrounded myself with “things I love”.  This really helped later when I got divorced. At least the stuff I moved with me didn’t have guilt or similar feelings associated with them.

I notice similar objects often seem to coalesce – so I let them self organize- and keep “like things” together.

Having few friends from my on-going sense of internal oppression, now better due to a number of factors, but not medication or counseling (I’ve literally had the experience of being “possessed” by a loving ~spiritual entity for the last three years), little by little, my house and gardens have really shaped up.

Today I wouldn’t be too worried if a friend came for a visit. My house is ~clean and tidy inside and out (almost)- still have my office to go!

While I am managing my worries about saying my truths, I speak out now- gently, whenever the occasion arises – such as with neighbors or my family, even though my point of view is often radically different than theirs.

And yes, I’ve “lost” most of my friends with these utterances- especially about being “possessed”, but I know they weren’t really friends- and I don’t miss them.

I feel quite good about being called an “amazing” and “pro-lif-ic” writer (one who rights)- which might well describe me.

By Dr. Jen Wyman-Clemons, MD

Dr. Wyman-Clemons treats the body, mind, emotions as well as spiritual wellness using tools described by established teachers and authors and her own experiences. She has ~thirty years of clinical experience as an allergy and internal medicine physician (ABAI, ABIM) and recently completed requirements to practice as a yoga teacher, USUI Reiki Master and astrologer.

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