Eating and cleaning dominate my life

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

There are so many things I would like to touch down on I do not know where to begin. I feel like a half person, a failure, of little more worth than nothing. I can not sleep or I sleep too much, it affects me deeply. I am in college, yet I can not make my classes because I am always fatigued. I blame my academic failure on my laziness but I know deep down in my heart it is my emotional instability.

I try to remedy my feelings with eating or cleaning. Both of which occupy the entirety of my life. Lately I have not been eating well; I can no longer bring myself to eat the foods which once brought me great joy. As for my need to clean, it is at an all time high. I do my laundry 3 times a day, and feel a great need to organize my clothing and cleaning supplies according to size, color, and texture. I also have to constantly check this order. These things occupy what is left of my day.

On another note, I can not deal with my anger. I often suppress it. I try to mimic the faces of the people around me because I not in touch with myself. Lately I developed a habit of stealing when I get angry, since angry is my mood everyday I steal everyday.

My emotions vary so intensely. I can be exceedingly happy and confident, so confident, and then at like the drop of a dime I am sad. I get so sad, it is almost disabling, it is disabling. Sometimes I am even silently hostile. So much so my judgment is impaired. I become bedridden and unable to do anything. Except clean that is.

Everything in my life is disabling. When I am not bedridden my body has to be in action, I can not stop moving even for a second. When I do stop, I become intensely feverish. I am not even social; being around people makes me so anxious as if I am a specimen on display at a museum. Lastly, my relationships with men are destructive. I implore so much into a perspective suitor I convince myself I am in love with them before knowing anything about them. I am afraid of being left behind or being rejected.

Sometimes I wonder if I should end my life, I have tried before, I find myself thinking of ways to do so. And it is very vague but sometimes I think someone is talking to me, someone beyond my conscious, some unseen being. Help me.

A: My goodness. It’s a wonder to me you could even put this letter together. I’m glad you did. This sounds miserable.

I can’t venture a diagnosis on the basis of a letter, of course. I can only confirm for you that you are right to be concerned about yourself. It’s too simplistic to suggest that you are suffering from this or that disorder. Someone with good training needs to help you tease out what might be medical and what might be psychological.

Most colleges have a behavioral health program with mental health professionals on staff. Please, please go talk to one. Rituals like cleaning may hold off the suffering for a little while but, as you’ve surely figured out, it all comes rushing back as soon as you stop. It’s not a long-term solution. The combination of some good health care and mental health care is more likely to be effective over the long run.

Please follow through and get yourself an appointment with your medical doctor and with a counselor ASAP. You deserve a better life than this.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Mar 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Eating and cleaning dominate my life. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/03/10/eating-and-cleaning-dominate-my-life/