Mental health

Depression and Closet/Identity Thinning

huge walk-in closet - closet and identity thinning
Image by Mike Gattorna from Pixabay

No, this picture doesn’t look anything like my closet.  But it would be fabulous to have something so neat and organized, even though I would need only about 5% of that space.

I have quite a few clothes and shoes that I haven’t worn for a few years.  I used to dress quite femininely, and I wore heels much of the time. Now, the closer clothing is to pyjamas the better.  I have some boots with a low chunky heel that I’ll occasionally wear in the winter, but other than that, heels are a thing of the past.

Yet my closet still contains items from pre-treatment-resistant days.  Some have already been discarded or donated because it doesn’t fit anymore, but other items still remain. I’m not running out of space, so that’s not an issue, but I’m someone who likes to have a minimal amount of stuff.  If I can get rid of things, that’s always a positive.

The issue in this case, though, is it’s not so much the stuff itself and closet thinning, and more about identity thinning. I’m hesitant to get rid of as the possibility that I might turn back into the person who wore that stuff.  A person who liked to dress up and liked that wearing heels made me carry myself with a more confident posture.

Right now, I have zero desire to do either of those things, which is why the clothes and shoes haven’t been worn for a couple of years.  They continue to sit there, as a tribute to what I used to be, or at least what I used to do.

It’s funny the stories our clothes can tell about our lives.  And as time moves on, more closet and identity thinning will be required.


I’ve done a more recent post on this topic, Letting Go of a Life Before Depression.

book cover: Managing the Depression Puzzle by Ashley L. Peterson

My new book, Managing the Depression Puzzle takes a holistic, everything up to and including the kitchen sink look at how to put together the pieces of your unique depression puzzle. It’s available on Amazon and other online retailers, as well as the MH@H Store.

20 thoughts on “Depression and Closet/Identity Thinning”

  1. I loved reading this for one reason, one reason only. I’m so much like you.
    I had to stop wearing heels long ago because of my knees and back. I’ve held on to a few garments if you will, for the sake of “If I lose the weight, I’ll haev it then.” Four years of holding on to these clothes. 🙄
    I’m all about the comfort. Yes, PJ’s are a staple in my life.
    I do have some really nice pieces, but I save them for the rare occasion of leaving my bedroom. LOL!
    A couple of months ago, I did an “Uncluttering” it was sensational. (But I never gave up the clothes I’ve held onto for four years.) LOL!

      1. I hear ya. I figured when the weather changes to Fall again, I will probably let it go myself. I’ve only lost somewhere in the range of 22 lbs since I began eatig healthier in April. The meds make it really difficult to lose, but my mobility is far from good at all.

  2. I love looking at wardrobes/closets as best as that in the photo, but like you, I wouldn’t need one that big. But it would be nice to have something looking like that photo on a very small scale.

  3. The pictured closet, if it were carpeted, would be straight out of the second Sex in The City movie. I’d love one of those too. When I moved in 2013, I did the closet purge. I had more clothes (and shoes) than would fit in the closet space I had at that old house. We had been infested with mice prior to hubby’s death (well and after) and many of my clothes got ruined. Had to be thrown out. Some of them literally made me cry, because they were vintage and had been handed down from my mother (like the houndstooth checked coat, and a couple of dresses – which I was too fat to wear then, but am not now).

    Here I have a big walk in closet and it’s not full, but I probably could use another purge soon. There are some clothes in there that just don’t fit my lifestyle any more, although I could get into them now. And I’m like you, no more heels. I haz a sad about that because I loved my shoes and especially those classy looking boots with heels. But flats it is and flats it’ll remain. It’s sure less painful anyway.

  4. I quit doing that year’s ago because I found it added more to my depression. But this isn’t to say getting rid of them (the old me), helped much. It did declutter but the lack of clothes I’ve purchased to replace those is depressing as well. I love how you can pull the simplest of things in life and relate them to how it continues to affect us. I don’t the answers for anything and yet I find myself trying everything to rid myself of this mental anguish. I guess that’s all we can do; try, right?

  5. I wore heels and dressed up once. My feet hurt and I felt so uncomfortable that I never dressed up again. I am all about comfort too.

    My wardrobe hasn’t changed in years. I have been wearing the same band shirts, shorts and clothes for the past 10 years. I have wanted to upgrade my wardrobe but I am too afraid to go shopping on my own to do it.

  6. Yes please to the closet! I’d meditate in there! I feel more serene just looking at the picture. I know the feeling about holding onto the “dress up clothes” just in case. I finally donated all of my suit skirts and other office-type clothes after holding onto them for a few years (you know, just in case I ever went back to office work). It was hard, though, because I felt like I was making a life decision as opposed to just donating clothes I haven’t worn in a long time. You’re right, our closets do tell stories about us. I’ve never thought of it like that!

  7. I would love that closet, but within a month it would be a disaster area. I find myself holding on to “stuff” I know I probably won’t use. It’s almost like a safety net…I may get back to it. Doubtful, but I agree the struggle is real.

Leave a Reply