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Woman whose depression made her home a ‘disgusting mess’ shares process of cleaning it all up

Woman whose depression made her home a ‘disgusting mess’ shares process of cleaning it all up

When you have depression, keeping your home clean and tidy can feel like an insurmountable challenge.

Your energy levels are at rock bottom. You can’t get a glimmer of motivation to put stuff away.

And then as dirt collects and mess piles up, you only feel more rubbish.

Ashleigh Ward, 23, knows exactly this experience. In January, she realised she had hit ‘rock bottom’, with her anxiety and depression causing her home to become a ‘disgusting mess’.

The finance worker had slowly noticed her house becoming a pit, with mounds of rubbish lining the floors, but struggled to do anything about it.

Her partner, Ben, stepped in to help her sort it out, and together they gradullay whipped the space back into shape.

Ashleigh shared her progress on TikTok to show other people having a tough time that change is possible, and that taking cleaning one step at a time can have dramatic results.

Ashleigh, from Wiltshire, said: ‘The reason I started the TikTok is because I went through a very long time of feeling very alone, and I realised that if I could post what things look like when I’m bad, I could show how I make it better again

‘I knew that I wanted to start cleaning up the house.

‘January is always a rougher month for me, and that tends to be when the house gets the way that it does.

‘I knew I’d hit rock bottom and I needed to do something about it. I looked around the house and thought “Where do I start?”

‘It’s absolutely overwhelming and it’d put me off for a while.

‘Sometimes you’ll have days where there’s a little light behind the clouds and it was on one of those days that I decided to make a start on it.’

Ashleigh began with the bathroom, as it wasn’t ‘super-duper messy’ and she knew she needed a ‘little win’ to kick things off.

With her confidence bolstered, she moved on to the kitchen – which took her nine hours to clear and scrub.

‘The next room I’ll be moving onto is the living room, and hopefully that’ll be a little easier,’ she said. ‘That’s mostly sorting through stuff and taking down Christmas decorations.’

Ashleigh explains that cleaning the house was often a daunting task to both her and Ben, as their mental health sometimes left them too exhausted to clean.

Ashleigh said: ‘When I’m in the headspace where I’m at a low point, it’s very difficult to pull myself out of that.

Woman whose depression made her home a ‘disgusting mess’ shares process of cleaning it all up

‘You do go day-to-day trying to get out of bed and function normally. I work full-time so a lot of my energy is just taken up by going into work and going home.

‘Some people don’t understand how a house can be this way. They’ll say “It’s not hard, just wash up each evening” but sometimes it’s not that simple.

‘It’s difficult some days, I’ll get home from work and I can hardly move.

‘There’ll be some evenings where Ben and I will sit there in silence because we’re both mentally exhausted.’

Since embarking on her ‘new life journey’, Ashleigh has connected with thousands of people who relate to the struggle.

And having to keep her followers updated is helping her to stay accountable.

Ashleigh said: ‘There’s so many people who will sit and scroll through TikTok, and they’ll see these perfect properties.

‘I don’t want people to be sitting at home feeling like they have no-one to relate to.

‘I got a lot of responses from people who said they didn’t feel alone, that their houses looked like mine and their friends mocked them for it. That spurred me to keep going.

‘They’re motivating me as well. I didn’t want to continue cleaning the kitchen but I knew I’d promised to upload a video about it.

‘It really is a mental health community I’m trying to form, where I’m showing we all need to stick together and work through it.

‘I’ve got over 22,000 people following me now and it’s amazing. It told me that I’m not alone and I’m helping people, and they help motivate me too.

‘It’s been really lovely to see the response.

‘Although it’s hard work and I’d like to take the easy option, it’s important for me to show that relatable content and show the process bit by bit.

‘I want to show that it’s possible to do this on your own, even if you can’t afford a cleaner.

‘Although it’s not my fault that I have depression and anxiety, I can still try and try to do something about it.

‘[I can try] not to live in this mess and try to make myself the best person I can be – the best version of me, while it’s a good day.

‘So this is my attempt to clean my life up and live my best life with depression and anxiety.

‘I’m proud of that.’

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