Now then, when I get ill the first thing to go is my sense of humour. And this is followed closely by my sense of hygiene. When I get depressed I smell. I stop bathing, I stop looking after myself.
I have a theory about this. I think that when we are ill we want to be left alone. We want the world to go away. We build a shield around ourselves and by having a repulsive smell we ward off the enemy.
My father was a chiropractor, a natural healer. I was his receptionist and he always told me to be aware of how people smelt. He said it was a good measure of their mental well-being. He pointed out to me that people who were struggling with their mental health, often smelt sickly and sweet.
So if we want to be well, we need to bathe more. We need to wash our hands and wash our face. It feels good to be clean. There are great ways to do this. A long hot bath, a soak to help with stiff muscles. Add some Epsom salt to the water; it really makes you feel good. Or add some nice smelling bath oil or lotion. And don’t forget the candles, to heighten the experience. You could of course try a shower, again long and hot. There is nothing like having a bit a steam fill the room, and rest on your skin.
Then there are perfume and body sprays you can use. Try not to be over powering. Remember your nose gets used to the smell and you can’t smell it anymore. But the people you encounter can.
Brush your teeth. It feels wonderful to have a clean and fresh mouth.
Launder your clothes. This is another thing that goes when I am ill. I wear dirty clothes. Yes it’s great to wear your grey sweat pants, but beware when they start to “stand up by themselves”. If you ever smell a homeless person, they are at best, musty.
If you are ever feeling down, I highly recommend just getting clean. Wash your hair – even if it isn’t dirty yet. Get the smell of clean. This is a short cut to mental wellness.
That’s my simple message today. To get well, get clean.
About the Author – Kate Hull Rodgers is an expert by experience. She has been mentally ill since 1986, more than 30 years. She is diagnosed as bi polar and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) Every day she battles to be in recovery, many days she wins. She speaks in corporate workplaces with her company www.humourus.co.uk. She has spoken in 29 countries. Also she runs Stepping Stone Theatre for Mental Health www.steppingstonetheatre.co.uk with her husband, Bill- and she is still happily married. Mustn’t forget, she is the proud mother of Harvey and Dominic – and the dog, Zebbie.