5 questions to ask if you think your home is making you depressed – and 6 things you can do about it

Is your home making you depressed - plants help depression

Depression in UAE

It is estimated that 20% of UAE population suffers from some kind of depression. Click To Tweet

4-5% are affected by clinical depression, while 15% suffers from mild depression. (Gulfnews, 2015)

Work stress, financial strain and family problems are leading causes of depression. However, can something totally unexpected be causing your depression?

I feel now is a good time for a disclaimer. I am not a medical professional, and my advice does not substitute your doctors’ advice. I am speaking solely from my experience of dealing with a depression and how I am getting over it.

My Story

6 years ago 3 large events in our lives happened. We changed a home, I had a stillbirth, and I started showing symptoms of fibromyalgia. As I went over the grief of the stillbirth, I still couldn’t shake some other things happening with me. I always felt tired, lethargic, and sickly. I lost interest in taking care of myself, and my home. I did a minimum required to feed the family, and keep kids and home clean. But everything was such a chore. I hated waking up in mornings. I was constantly tired, but could not sleep during nights. If that sounds familiar, it is a good indicator something is wrong. Do not ignore it.

 

The courage it took to get out of bed each morning to face the same things over and over was enormous. (Bukowski)

 

I chunked all of those to exhaustion and normal day to day wear and tear. I shouldn’t have. I was mid-twenties and constant fatigue should have been a dead giveaway.

Fast forward to 2017, and things got really bad. There is no shame in that. There is a lot of stigma in Arab world about mental health. It can happen to anyone. I was depressed for 6 years, and it was bad. I am talking suicidal bad. There is no shame in depression.

There is no shame in depression. Click To Tweet

I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in September 2017. I was lucky enough that most of my symptoms started calming down after identifying my triggers and avoiding them. Depression still persisted. I addressed most of the underlying causes – my health issues and the loss of our son. That was behind me. But there was one underlying cause that persisted – I hated our home. I already wrote here why your depression is getting worse and when it will go away.

I started examining what I hate about my day. Why I hate waking up.

Most of my answers went something like this:

I hate my home, and I hate that I have to spend all day in it.

I hate cleaning my home because no matter how hard I try, it still looks bad (there was a leak long time back in the wall, and paint was constantly peeling leaving dust everywhere. Also, our tiles were not sealed properly and developed white stains. Result was a home that never looked clean no matter what we tried)

I hate our furniture – we were delaying re-decorating until our kids got a little bigger.

I hate our kitchen – it was small, with lots of open shelving, and dust gathered daily. I hate having to rinse every plate before use every time!

We were delaying re-decorating and fixing stuff until I got little better, but what we didn’t realize, delaying solving the problem made things only worse.

I felt silly thinking ugly home could really be reason behind my blues. So I did only thing I could – googled and googled, and googled some more.

I felt silly thinking ugly home could really be reason behind my blues. Click To Tweet So I did only thing I could – googled and googled, and googled some more. Click To Tweet

Turns out there is a link, and I was not going crazy (well not that way at least).

Your home could be a sneaky reason behind your depression. Click To Tweet

 Dont believe me? Just take a moment to check this before and after. (Epiphanyhome)

Before and after living room depression and home

 

Notice how the area in before image is uninviting and cluttered. Now look at the after photo and you can see how calm and inviting it is. Now that you know house could be making you depressed, examine it. I included following questions to ask yourself to examine if your home is making you depressed.

5 questions to ask yourself to discover if your home is making you depressed:

 

Why do I hate waking up in the morning?

What do I don’t want to deal with?

What do I hate in my home?

Can I make my home more comfortable?

6 ideas to do in your home to fight depression

Hopefully, you got some answers there. If your answers were similar to mine and you discovered it is your home that is making you sick and depressed, here are some tips how to make your home less depressing:

1. Keep your home neat and clean – piles of mess and layers of dust were such a huge trigger for me. Anytime I got sick or too busy and housework would get little behind, I would feel super down. So keep on top of your housework. Regularly de-clutter, tidy and clean.

Clean to feel less depressed

2. Let some sun in, or don’t. – I swear to God people in UAE are so sun-o-phobic (I know that is not a real term). While yes, you should protect from scorching summer sun, opening your curtains to let some sun in will do you good. Believe me. However, if your home is too bright, that also could be making it worse. So find a good balance.

People in UAE are so sun-o-phobic. Click To Tweet

3. Add some plants – greenery will give your home immediate lovely vibe.

Plants

4. Rearrange furniture – Moving some furniture around will instantly give the space new look. It will be a great distraction for a while.

5. Do necessary improvements – put a fresh new coat of paint on the dingy walls, replace ugly curtains or reupholster old sofas and chairs – ideas are all over the Pinterest. Even simple DIYs can make a huge difference.

wall painting depressing home

6. Change homes – If none of the above works, maybe it is time to move. Sometimes homes can hold old unpleasant memories, have a bad vibe, or have structural problems which will continue causing problems, and are beyond repair. As I said, our home had a plumbing problem, which made all of the wall paint peel. We tried fixing it many times, but it kept coming back. Also my kitchen is small and windowless, and I spend most of my day in the kitchen. Plus it harbored lots of grief and stored lots of sad memories. So we made a decision to move. If you do decide to look for new home, check out this blog post why choosing home in Dubai is the most important decision to make.

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Thanks for reading and lots of love,

Aldina

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13 thoughts on “5 questions to ask if you think your home is making you depressed – and 6 things you can do about it

  1. I think you have some great tips here! Being surrounded by clutter, or a home that does not lift your spirits, can definitely play on your overall mood.

    1. I didnt know you suffer from fibro. It sucks. Maybe you can ask them for some changes. If you explain effect it has on you, they might agree. Otherwise, hopefully you can get your own place soon if its in your plans.

      Thanks for wonderful comment, so glad to see you here 🙂

  2. I love where you mention that your surroundings could be contributing to your depression. I believe that is one reason that I feel better when I get out of the house. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Welcome! Yes! It was also same thing that was happening to me. I would feel better out. But soon it took over, and I was unable to feel joy almost at all. Good luck!

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