Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have



Life is testing me right now because after months of letting the housecleaning get put on the back burner it’s caught up to me. We have rats (roof rats) and I am really p*ssed off because I am the one doing all the cleaning now. My dad is not tidy and rarely cleans up after himself. Maybe I should cut him some slack but it feels like he doesn’t care about the clutter and dirt and he leaves it for me. In fact if it were not for the rats I likely would not have been motivated to clean up and declutter. So in that respect I am grateful for the rodents.

I’ve been trying to trap them humanely (catch and release) but they have evaded capture


Roof rat on top of a bird feeder. Pic is public domain.

thus far. All I hope for now is to eliminate the food sources and clutter so they will find somewhere else to live. Cleaning up rat poop is not fun and makes me feel worse about how slack I’ve been in keeping house these past months (prior to when I spotted one late in May). It’s like this is my punishment for being depressed and not having the motivation for keeping a clean, tidy home. Now I have no choice but to clean and declutter if I want the rats to go. Technically I have only ever seen two but I am sure there are likely more. Why do they have to be so cute? It would be easier to hate them but even now I am only angry over their unsanitary practices (i.e. pooping in places that are not the toilet, or leaving food they found before I smartened up and put the food in sealed glass containers). Honestly, I am really grossed out by their poop and have trouble falling asleep because any noise I hear makes me think of the rats. It’s wearing me down.



Roof rat. Public domain pic.

There’s just something about having a rat problem that makes me feel horribly dirty. I wish they would just leave and not return. They are making a lot of cleaning work for me and I do not like it! The grass, trees and rose bushes have to be trimmed too since they likely hide in such spots. Gosh, I feel like there is an awful lot to do so they will hopefully leave. Even if I was alright with killing them (I’m not) it would still be necessary to do the cleaning and decluttering so they don’t come back. As it is though I don’t want to kill them because they are dirty and messy but not any worse than humans. Plus they are cute and it’s awfully hard to murder a small furry creature that simply wants to live somewhere and have something to eat. I just hope they don’t damage anything important like pipes or electrical wiring.


©Natalya, Reflections on Life Thus Far, 2016.



Day 8 of 30 Day Challenge

Question/discuss: A moment you felt most satisfied with your life?

There have not been many moments in my life where I felt satisfied with how my life was going. In

Satisfaction with Life Index Map

Satisfaction with Life Index Map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

fact I can’t really think of any. The last year or so have been gradually improving for me in terms of my mental health but I still find it hard to feel satisfaction not knowing where I’m headed next. I have had moments where I felt contentment with my life but not exactly satisfaction. My life has improved immensely with respect to my overall health so I am satisfied in that regard.

Maybe it is the fact I am unemployed and unsure of which direction to head in relating to career or education. I’ve got a huge student loan debt hanging over me so it’s not as easy to just return to school as I wish to. Besides, it would be nice to find a job for awhile so I could pay some of my bills and possibly consider moving out. My dad is great but I am falling into a caregiver role with him that is less than enjoyable. I do all the housework and help him out generally. The only thing I don’t do is make his meals for him because he eats meat and I don’t and refuse to touch the stuff! He cooks his own meals fine anyhow. Usually I don’t mind but lately he hardly does anything because of his hip that has to be replaced. So I guess I am cranky. He doesn’t make me do any of the housework but if I don’t do it he won’t.

Anyway, apart from my crankiness from being burdened with all of the household chores I feel satisfied with myself. I’m satisfied that I have managed to make a home that used to be dirty and cluttered from my late mother who hoarded anything and everything for over a decade. When I think about how much I have accomplished in terms of decluttering and cleaning I feel VERY satisfied with myself. But that is not the same as being satisfied with one’s life.

Maybe if I consider my mental health and mood I could say I am satisfied. The last time I was depressed was in the winter from the lack of daylight. So I feel like that is something to be satisfied over. I spent most of my life depressed or anxious and these days I hardly have issues with that. Also I have returned to counselling so I can have someone to talk to. My dad helps me in this by paying the fee; I go twice a month or every second week. No, I don’t go to complain about housework! LOL

©Natalya, 2013.


Cranky Pants

Between itchiness from seasonal allergies and irritability from PMS, I am not a happy camper! Earlier today I was outside raking the lawn after it had been cut (the grass) and pruning plants. The black flies were also out and annoying me too. My dad’s innate inability to pick up after himself and clean up have also been irritating me. These things usually annoy me but I handle it. Add in irritability from allergies and hormones though and my tolerance levels drop dramatically. Anyhow, I am trying to get out of my ego’s way so I can appreciate my perspective is not the only one available. Still, it would be nice to have a bit of help. Guess it’s partially my fault for having very little in the way of patience; thus, I get fed up waiting to see my dad do any sort of housework and just do it myself. My dad is slow doing everything so it tends to frustrate me as I am much quicker. He also has loads more patience than I have.

Compared to when I was a lot younger I have lots of patience but it’s still lacking when it comes to dealing with constant sloth and sluggishness from my dad. Yes, I know I should be more tolerant and appreciate the differences between us but it’s just not working out for me today! 😛

Forgive me for my disrespectful tone toward my poor dad. He’s a good person. Just a slow moving sort who can’t seem to clean up after himself. To be fair his eye sight is not the best so he can’t see everything I can and I’m pretty sure he has a learning disability too. Now I sound like a real ogre!

Did I mention I have a sun burn on my arms and a few bug bites? I took a shower so I am not feeling quite so itchy now. Guess I’m okay. Back to the status quo :/

Hope your weekend went well 🙂

©Natalya, 2013.



Organized Chaos

A monk sweeping at his temple in Dehiwalla

A monk sweeping at his temple in Dehiwalla (Photo credit: Oatsandsugar)

As I continue my Spring cleaning I am getting outside more to work on the yard. It seems that there is a sort of momentum that has come about as a result of my cleaning efforts. Even my dad is beginning to assess what he needs to hold on to or get rid of. I never imagined Spring cleaning could develop into a part of my daily life. For a long time I existed in clutter and dirt but once I started cleaning it’s been impossible to go back. There has been a steady development from decluttering to actually managing to turn to smaller details. It used to be so hard to clean because of all the clutter but as I have gotten rid of so much it’s become easier to keep the ball rolling so to speak. A clean and tidy space sounds like no big deal but it is a da*n miracle in my house. My mother was a compulsive hoarder when she was still alive so housework was nearly impossible. Now I can think about cleaning without wondering how on earth I will manage it because there’s so much stuff in the way. It just feels so liberating! Unless you have lived with a compulsive hoarder for years you may not fully appreciate the gravity of my experience and feelings. It’s hard to convey the utter despair, frustration and lethargy that can descend in such an atmosphere of over cluttering and dirt. Just moving about is hard because of everything that is in the way. Now I am actually able to move about easily and see the surface of things again! I can even clean them!

There are still areas of my home needing decluttering and cleaning but I can identify them now whereas before everything was requiring decluttering and cleaning! Before I thought in terms of what areas were clean and how might I keep them that way in such an environment of disorganization and chaos. So I am truly grateful these days for having the energy to continue my efforts in decluttering and cleaning. These are simple things but so important to your wellness. Have you ever noticed the effects a dirty, cluttered room has on your mood or energy levels? It literally can zap your good mood and energy if you have to stay in it any length of time. Just imagine living like that for years! I had no control over anything as a child so I developed an eating disorder. For 15 years I either starved or deprived myself of food to stay very underweight. A part of the reason I did that was to feel like I had some kind of power in my life. My parents were quite neglectful so didn’t consider my low weight an issue. Thankfully, I am in a healthier state these days.

Spring cleaning has brought about a sense of calm and peace in my life never present before. I really delight in the simple  things. A clean bathroom or dust free shelf is enough to give me a feeling of balance. When I look about and see order and organization after so many awful years of disaster I smile inwardly. Not feeling a sense of shame when someone unexpectedly shows up for a visit is worth its weight in gold. Life can be hard but keeping a Zen-like environment can be extremely helpful for bringing that sense of calm and peace I mentioned earlier. Attending to one’s living space is not about impressing others but to reflect the respect you have for yourself. I realize lots of people clean for other reasons but to me it is a measure of how much I respect myself. If I leave my living space to get cluttered and dirty I feel that means I don’t value myself very much. I’m sure there are a number of interpretations one could find that are positive but for me dirt and clutter is a negative thing.

How do you view clutter and dirt in your living space? Is it something you can live with or do you need to keep things more in order?

©Anya, 2013.


Coat Closet Clearout

Loaded Coat Closet

Loaded Coat Closet (Photo credit: flatiron32)

Wow, I just finished cleaning out a coat closet that hasn’t been organized or cleaned in 20+ years. There was all sorts of stuff in there that I just looked at and shook my head. My parents never threw anything out and this closet was a “storage” closet essentially. Stuff would fall out if you opened the door because things were thrown in all ‘willy-nilly’. I got tired of thinking about how I should clean it sometime. So I managed to clear out three garbage bags full of junk that was in there. After I finished I felt like I had accomplished something. Of course there’s more to purge and clean but for now I’m pleased I got that task done. My parents are both hoarders, my mom died a few years ago so her hoarding stopped thankfully; my dad on the other hand just keeps things he doesn’t really need. Because I live with my dad I try to help him out where possible. Housekeeping is helpful to him because he has little ability to keep any space tidy and/or clean. It’s not a priority to him so he just leaves it go and I end up trying to keep on top of things.

I’m hoping my dad will look at the stuff I put in garbage bags and agree it’s junk. There’s a possibility he might want to keep some of it! 😛 Hopefully he’ll not want to keep the stuff though.

Beyond Therapy

Beyond Therapy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The portfolio workshop I have been taking for the past two months is almost over. It ends April 29 and my last counselling appointment is the 30th. I am not too sure what I’ll do next because I doubt I will get a job right away. As for counselling, I may leave it go for awhile. The sessions I’ve had with my counsellor have been okay but I don’t feel like I want to carry on with another counsellor afterward because of cost (also it’s hard to just go from one counsellor to another without a break in between to process things). Therapy or counselling should not be so expensive. I know therapists need to make a living but when you’re unemployed like I am it stinks being charged $40 each appointment. My dad has been picking up the tab but I still think it’s unfair to be charged that much when I have no income. Thankfully I have my dad but it makes me think there must be more people out there with little money unable to partake in therapy or counselling due to cost. There are of course the free places but they have wait lists that can be quite long unless you’re in a crisis. I don’t think it’s a very good set-up when you have to wait to see someone six months to two years, in some cases, or be in an acute crisis to see someone in a month usually.

Fortunately, my dad has looked at the garbage bags and allowed me to get rid of the stuff. This is good news because I wasn’t keen to keep any of it. Too bad most of it is not really in good enough condition to give to charity. It will have to be thrown out with the garbage 😦 Normally we are pretty reasonable and have little garbage anyway so we should be able to get rid of the bags without halving them for the following pick up date.

I feel like it’s been a really long “Spring Cleaning” period this year. We’ve gotten rid of so much clutter and cleaned a lot. It’s been very therapeutic for me because I lived for many years not allowed to touch the stuff. After my mom’s death we started the clean up process and it has not stopped. We have not been constant in our efforts though because of energy levels and mood. In the case of death you have grief to complicate an otherwise straight forward clean up effort. Although it has been 4 and a half years my dad has been slow moving forward with his grief and I’ve had to be respectful of that and not try to purge everything in one or two sessions. Instead it has been a series of MANY decluttering sessions, some large and some small, interspersed with periods of inertia.

Have you ever had to clean up or clear out someone’s belongings after they’ve died? Were they pack rats too?

©Natalya, 2013.


Wow, I Actually Cleaned

1st edition (publ. McSweeney's)

1st edition (publ. McSweeney’s) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday was a blessing in disguise. When my dad’s guest didn’t make it our place was tidier and cleaner. Before we knew she wouldn’t be able to make it we had both taken to tidying up; thus when she didn’t end up coming we were still left with the happy product of our cleaning efforts. When I got up this morning I cleaned a little more and, all in all, I have to say feel a lot better. My mood is improved when I can look around and not be surrounded by dirt and clutter everywhere. When there is clutter and dirt I become depressed, which is bad b/c how can one clean when depressed? It’s a “catch-22” so to speak. Luckily I had enough energy provided from my embarrassment to do an “emergency cleaning”. That then gave me motivation to do further housekeeping.

There’s still quite a bit to be done but things are more manageable as they are now

Feather duster, dustpan and broom, and upright...

Feather duster, dustpan and broom, and upright vacuum cleaner in one picture. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

anyway. I feel less overwhelmed and defeated when I try tackling the household chores. You know growing up my sister and I never had household chores. We didn’t learn how to clean or tidy up from our parents. Both were neglectful of that area, among many others. In fact neglect was a salient theme throughout my childhood. Mainly in the area of emotional support and attention to health. But with respect to cleaning, it was not really attended to. The dishes got washed maybe once a month, carpets vacuumed every few months or more, bathroom (except for maybe the toilet) could be left uncleaned for weeks to a month or longer, many things never saw a duster or cleaning product in their existence. I’m sure this didn’t help my allergies and asthma. I used to have “colds” year round as a child which were actually a combination of allergies and my asthma. But like I said health was another area neglected in my home. It was pretty much up to me to look after myself in that respect past age 10 or, perhaps, 12 years old.

So these days when I try to clean it always feels slightly unnatural, in the way a second or

English: Compulsive hoarding Apartment Deutsch...

English: Compulsive hoarding Apartment Deutsch: Wohnküche eines Messies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

third language would if you learned it as an adult. For me, I did learn these skills in my 20s as a volunteer with a daycare centre. I thought it was rather strange and seemed foreign to me to have to clean on a regular basis! LOL Back at home it was impossible to clean during the height of my mother’s compulsive hoarding decade. It was all I could do to avoid tripping over things.

I suspect my embarrassment I mentioned in my posts yesterday is actually lingering shame. Indeed I did feel a great deal of shame with so much clutter. It embarrassed me a lot to have to have friends over-mine or my sisters (I had a few friends in high school). These days that embarrassment and shame still seems to have a hold on me.

Has anyone else experienced living with a compulsive hoarder or grown up with a parent who was one? If so, did it leave any lasting effects such as shame or a need for order?

©Natalya, 2013.