- Rates of depression are skyrocketing in the United States during the pandemic.
- People with depression can feel trapped in a vicious cycle of low energy, which makes menial tasks overwhelming.
- Mica Binkley, who lives in Memphis and has battled depression, decided to help others, and her tweet went viral.
Mica Binkley, a Twitter user in Memphis, offered to clean the homes of people struggling with depression, and the Tweeter went viral.
Binkley has just over 1,000 followers, but his tweet received over 37,000 likes and 7,000 retweets.
Twitter users praised the 29-year-old – some people were inspired to retweet and offer the same services, and some sent her money for cleaning supplies.
Experts told Insider there’s a reason it resonates. While a pandemic can bring a lot of stress and tragedy, it can also motivate people to help others.
About 17.3 million people in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode, according to a 2017 national survey on drug use and health. And the rates of
increased during the pandemic.
While some people with depression may go to work, many find it difficult to take on menial tasks, Mayo Clinic psychologist Craig Sawchuk told Insider. But there are steps you can take to get out of the haze.
Binkley knows what it is: she developed depression after suffering side effects from birth control
Six years ago, Binkley was injected with Depo-Provera contraception and the side effects took their toll: she lost her hair, gained 52 pounds and, as a result, became depressed.
“And from there it was on the downward spiral,” Binkley told Insider.
Binkley avoided friends, stayed in bed for days, and stopped cleaning his room. This dark period lasted for two years.
After a depressive episode, Binkley said she would end up in a messy room and be like, “Why did I let things go wrong? I’m disgusting and mean.” And then, of course, the inner talk negative can literally trigger another episode. “
Binkley’s idea came from a video she saw on TikTok in late March of a little boy cooking. In the comments, people were critical of his dirty stove.
It stung Binkley, who thought about all those tough times, before recovering from depression with psychotherapy, when cleaning the stove seemed like an overwhelming task. She thought about the boy and his family, and the high likelihood, given the rising rates of mental illness in the United States, that his parents would be stuck in this vicious cycle as well. So she decided to offer to help.
When Binkley wrote the tweet, she thought it would be circulating in Memphis, but it went viral within an hour.
The majority of cleanup requests came from students, and some Twitter users asked for help in a response.
—🍽historyannotated👩🏻🏫 (@penofrage) April 5, 2021
Binkley plans to clean in four-hour shifts on weekends. Her first shift is this weekend and she plans to volunteer for the foreseeable future.
Overall, she wants people with depression to know, “You are loved, we need you here, and hold on.”
Why bAsic tasks can seem overwhelming when you had a depressive episode
The vicious cycle Binkley describes is common among people with depression, Sawchuk told Insider.
Depression, he said, downregulates emotions, drains your energy and motivation, which in turn impairs your ability to perform menial tasks.
“The ‘why bother?’ the feeling leads to “why bother?” thinking and then leads to “why bother?” doing, ”Sawchuk said.
Start small, plan a shower, and schedule regular Zoom calls with friends
Sawchuk said that rather than waiting until you are in a good mood to do chores, doing chores can put you in a good mood.
Even if your whole house is a mess, Sawchuk said to start small and tackle a specific area for 10 minutes.
“It’s less about what you do and more about engagement. This is really the key to getting started. You can also make cleaning up more fun by zooming in with a friend or playing music, Sawchuk said.
Another step is to start your day with a shower and get dressed. “Even if that’s all you do, it’s a lot better than staying in your pajamas most of the day,” Sawchuk said.
Sawchuk said you also identify healthy relationships in your life and plan regularly
Beyond housework and starting a routine, Sawchuk said your primary care doctor can refer you for advice or prescribe medication.