From the Archives: Deep Cleaning

This is an archive post that I’ve dug out from nearly two years ago.  I chose it because it is once again appropriate  to our lives–and because I think that it’s worth another look on the spiffy new blog.  I hope you enjoy!

So we’re deep cleaning our house right now. Trying to make the closets into usable storage spaces instead of frightening doors to never open. Trying to let go of those things that are too big, too small, outgrown, or just not utilized enough. Trying to recover from the onslaught of new stuff that happens when you have generous relatives. And I have noticed a few things about deep cleaning.

1. Deep cleaning makes a mess. In order to really know what we have and what we’re getting rid of, we have to pull everything out, spread everything around, kick up the dust.

2. Deep cleaning is profoundly freeing. There is a small part of my soul that is just happier when I can easily open a closet, when a bookshelf isn’t full to overflowing, when the toys have a designated home.

Deep Cleaning our Mental Closets

There are conversations going on all over the web right now about how depression is on the rise and the use of therapy is on the decline. There are many reasons given for this, including the time, energy, and effort that clients need to put forth in order for therapy to be beneficial.

That got me thinking. In many cases, good therapy is an invitation to do some deep cleaning of our internal lives. We pull out all of our outgrown coping strategies, dusty thought habits, and those untidy, painful emotions that we carefully buried under food, or work or Facebook or our personal denial mechanism of choice.

I don’t know about you, but for me, deep cleaning of any variety is a team sport. If I’m on my own, I’m likely to just shut the closet door quickly–or distract myself from my emotional hurt. The team approach, the creation of a supportive, empathetic relationship is at the heart of therapy.

Are there any mental closets that you’re afraid to open? Any stacks of emotional boxes waiting for an opportunity to bash you on the head? If so, I’m inviting you to reach out. Put together your “deep cleaning” team. Find a support group, connect on line, make the call that you’ve been putting off to investigate therapy. Share a comment below as a way to get it rolling!


Image Credit: Photo by wayne’s eye view via Flickr

5 thoughts on “From the Archives: Deep Cleaning

  1. This is an excellent analogy! I agree – left alone, I would just shut the closet door and pretend the house was clean already. Doing it together with someone else makes it much easier – in physical and mental closets.

  2. There are times I prefer to deep clean physical space on my own. But, I find telling someone of my intention helps. For those times I am cleaning mental space, I find journaling can be of great assistance if I don’t have a person or situation of support readily at hand.

  3. A very useful analogy. It is also helpful to acknowledge that good cleaning makes a mess. I think that using this in therapy can help people be more accepting of their uncertainty as they move from old, not so helpful coping strategies to new ones. It’s messy on the way. Thanks for this.

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