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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2336
Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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What is wrong with a peson that doesn't seem to recognize

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What is wrong with a peson that doesn't seem to recognize the need to keep clothing, dishes, kitchen area clean? Who lets everything she has lay around on the floor, walks over it, and doesn't clean up after herself for months, or ever. Who never cleans the bathroom or tub that she uses about every three or four days. But she does dress appropriately, even nice on a daily basis. Who even though she has time at the end of the day, doesn't clean up her mess. If she needs clothes, she washes only what she needs for the next day, not any of the other dirty clothes she has lying around, even though there's plenty of room in the washer. Who uses every dish until it's dirty, then uses paper throw away dishes instead of loading the regular dishes in the dishwasher and pushing the button. And she'll let this go on indefinitely. She usually leaves her throw away dishes (and regular dishes) where she happened to be when she ate or drank, doesn't even take her dishes to the kitchen. Occaisionally, every week or two, she gets inspired and does a whole load of dishesto do. She'll occasionally (once every week or two) wipes the counter, and every 2 or three months will clean the kitchen floor. She might vacumn the living room floor every month or two, even though it needs it at least once a week. But never cleans her room or the bathroom. She had five children, still two teenagers at home. Takes Abilify for bipolar, and has been treated for this condition for about ten years. She's always been messy, but this has become rediculous. It's like she just expects someone else (me) to clean up everything, including her messes. She used to be a stay at home mom, but, started spending all her time reading religious books and talking on the phone instead of keeping house. I've always worked, but have done most of the domestic duties for years, because she neglected it lot's longer than I could stand. We both work full time, but I work longer hours and make more money. I'm a professional. she's an administrative assistant for the State government and works at a prison in the business office. Is she choosing to be extremely lazy, knowing that she can outlast me, or is this related to some mental condition, her medicine, or what?
Thank you for writing in JustAnswer.
I'm sorry to hear about your wife's situation.
Let me ask you a question first.
When did this behavior start ? Ten years?
Please let me know by clicking on “Reply” and I will then craft my response.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Warm Regards,
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I think it started when she was about 9 years old and she made her mother's bed to surprise her, her mother's response was that she should do that all the time. Her brother told me she was always messy. But even though there was some messiness for the next 30 years, which she refused to address saying she preferred spending quality time with her children over keeping the house clean (I didn't think those were necessarilly mutually exclusive events, and she didn't keep that house that clean). About ten years ago is when she started a few manic episodes, heard god left the house, did really out of character things. took awhile for docs to figure out she was bipolar, (she doesn't get extremely depressed) but the abilify has kept her mania in check, so long as she takes her medicine. anyway, she still did housework some, but it has gradually declined over I'd say the last 15 years. It has become very messy in the last 6 years since she got her better paying admin Asst. job working for the govt. I think that she envied me being able to go to work when she stayed home with the kids. Imagined that I had a life of liesure or something, and now she's going to enjoy what she thought I had. (even though it really wasn't that way, as I have always been very involved in my family life, cooking and cleaning and caring for the children)

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Other.
No anwer came in double the time indicated. link offered to submit question to all psych's currently online. I don't know why I'm here, have not rcd an answer.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
when will you be back?
Hi there, Thank you for your reply. Your response came last night after I got off JA.

Your wife has some or severe difficulty keeping her house organized and clean.

You stated she has Bipolar disorder and is on medication for her manic symptoms.

She also have a full time job and has five children at home.

It’s possible her problems may have a lot to do with her Bipolar disorder and ADD/ADHD. People with Bipolar disorder usually have ADD/ADHD, depression and anxiety. Indeed, I’ve worked with both children and adults with Bipolar disorder and ADD/ADHD exhibits serious trouble organizing, prioritizing tasks and keeping their room or home neat and clean.

So, I assume that her mood swings and attention problems/disorganization may contribute to her messiness. For example, she may be unmotivated and tired when depressed. She also may have gotten used to living in a messy room as her behavior started as she was nine year old.

Still, it’s ok for you to remind her of the importance of keeping your home clean.

She may need PSYCHOTHERAPY weekly - individual and group therapy. Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) or Interpersonal therapy may be effective for her condition.
You may encourage him to see a psychotherapist weekly in his area.

The books “Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder by

Dr.Fast & Dr.Preston” and “Driven to distraction by Hallowell, MD & Ratey, MD” may be useful for you to understand her behavior.

Please let me know if you have more questions or I have overlooked any. Warm regards,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

ADD ADHD. Hmm? She was valdictorian of her high school and fininshed on the deans honor roll of a mjor university, majoring in human phsysiology. she was preparing for medical school, but decided she wanted a family instead. Does an undiagnosed non-medicated ADD ADHD person have enough concentration to accomplish that?

I think she was generally messy as a child. She may have had some manic when she hit puberty, but still able to keep it together enough to accomplish high grades in school. Her 1st manic episode that was accompanied by bizarre behavior didn't hit until she was 38-40 years old, after she had 5 children. the oldest child was still at home at that time. Her houskeeping started getting worse about the time she started taking mediations to control her mania, so she wouldn't be a danger to herself or others. She needs work to add some consistency to her life, give her something to do with her time, as most of the children are married, only two highschoolers remain. Even though there are less kids to keep up with, her ability to keep up with what's left to do has declined rapidly.

I am frustrated, don't think I can coach her into keeping things clean, even in her room. I've made several suggestions over the last few years. I actually moved into a different bedroom because there's no where for me to walk. She leaves packages on the side of the bed that I used to inhabit. She went to therapy back at the time of her first few manic episodes, but did not continue them. I think she believes that she's normal enough and there's nothing wrong with what she's not doing. So, I don't think I will be able to successfully encourage her to go back to therapy.

So, how do I cope with my feelings of being taken advantage of?

Hi there,
Thank you for your reply.
I had to be away from JA all day due to other duties.
I'll answer your question now.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'm not seeing your answer
Hi, I'm sorry that my answer didn't go through.
I'll resend my answer to you today.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
All I can see is "Hi, I'm sorry that my answer didn't go through. I'll resend my answer to you today." there is still no answer. In the "My questions" part of my account it indicates that this question is "Closed" What is the problem? I didn't get the answer. my email is *****@******.***, maybe you can respond directly to that address, since this process doesn't seem to be working.
Hi there,
Okay. I’m sorry you didn’t get my previous answer.
Let me know if you get this.
It sounds like your wife is smart and able to focus tasks.
I’ve known a number of clients with ADD/ADHD (mild to moderate level) who are smart, creative and successful professionals. They can perform a job very well. But, some of them have some difficulty keeping their room neat and clean. Perhaps, I thought they are not interested in maintaining their room clean and organized.
I understand how frustrated this situation must seem to you as you live in such a messy space. You’ve asked her to clean your home or these rooms. She has not responded to your request. Well, she should listen to and respect your needs. Does she want you or someone to clean and organize your house or these rooms?
If so, you may need to hire a cleaning professional.
Or, you and your wife may consider seeing a marriage/family counselor to discuss and resolve this problem.
Please let me know if you have more questions or I have overlooked any. Warm regards,
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Not to belabor the point, but, just so I understand, you think that my wife's messiness if related to ADD. She certainly is not hyperactive, she sleeps alot even through the day. But assuming arguendo that she has ADD, and was slightly messy as a child, when she got into her 40's age wise, she started having manic episodes that was eventually related to bi polar or unipolar (she doesn't get depressed) disorder. This is when she started becoming extremely abnormally messy (about ten years ago (she's 51 now). So, the bipolar (or the medicines to treat it (Abilify)) has exacerbated her ADD? If so, would a change of medication change her abnormal behavior? If no change is possible, you think marriage counseling would help? How so?
Thank you for your response.
I'll be back with my answer later today due to other duties all day. Is that okay?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi there,
Thank you for waiting.
It sounds like her medication is not helping for her condition. Right?
Does her doctor know she has trouble maintaining her house clean and neat? You stated she doesn't get depressed. She exhibits hypersomnia. She may be tried all the time.
Perhaps, menopause, mood swings, and profound fatigue may have caused or contributed to her behavior.
Symptoms of menopause include mood swings including irritability, depression, and anxiety.
Hormone therapy (HT) may be helpful.
First of all, she may need to see her primary care doctor for a physical check-up to detect and rule out any medical condition that may be causing or contributing to profound fatigue.
She may also try stress reduction techniques and Cognitive-behavior therapy for her condition.
Yoga, biofeedback, acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, and deep breathing exercises may be helpful to improve her mood and boost energy.
I would advise her to see a psychotherapist to express and process her feelings and thoughts and get advice and support WEEKLY.
She may ask her doctor for a psychologist/psychotherapist that she can work with weekly. Or she may call her insurance company and get a list of providers (licensed psychologists or psychotherapists) in her area.
Or, you can search a licensed psychologist on internet- such as the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website. Go to ( and enter your zip code and optional category of specialty such as Bipolar disorder. Read psychotherapists’ profile to see if he or she specializes in Cognitive-behavior therapy.
Also, a heart-healthy diet like Omega 3 fatty acid may improve her brain functioning and mood. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat protein sources, such as fish, lean meat and skinless poultry. Hydrate self during daytime. Get plenty of calcium and vitamin D in food or supplements.
Physical activity increases blood flow to her whole body, including your brain. This may help improve her mood and boost her physical energy.
Other recommendations for her are:
Avoid use of alcohol and drugs.
Sleep in complete darkness and try to be out in bright light during the day.
Spend time in nature weekly
Have pleasurable activities with friends and family.
Choose to listen to sounds that have positive effects on her mood.
Please let me know if you have more questions or I have overlooked any. Warm regards,
Dr. Olsen and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you