I live with my boyfriend and our roommate, who has SZ. I learned early on that problems with neatness and hygiene are common symptoms. None of us are exactly neat to begin with, so I don’t really care if she leaves books or clothes or things laying around. But the one effort I always make on my part is to never leave food, dirty dishes, or food trash sitting for more than a day. My boyfriend follows this as well. Our roommate, as you might imagine, doesn’t.
I’ve struggled with this issue for a long time, since reminding her every day to rinse out her dishes and throw out her trash doesn’t seem to work. I used to get mad because I felt like she wasn’t pulling her weight. I finally learned to do away with that feeling, and it’s much easier for me to deal with now that I focus only on the really important stuff, and just clean up the rest myself, allowing that her condition makes it difficult for her.
But this morning, a cockroach ran across my foot while I was in the bathroom (and had my glasses off, which already makes me paranoid and skittish). That is absolutely the line for me. I feel sure that we wouldn’t have roaches if she didn’t leave ice cream tubs and yogurt containers in her room.
So now, the issue is not about her putting in effort, or me feeling hard-done-by. This is a practical issue, and one way or another we need to deal with it.
My vague plan for now is to get the apartment as clean as possible, and let her know that we’re going to be calling in pest control and she needs to throw out anything that could be attracting roaches. Then, keep an eye on her room for a couple weeks. Since we’ve done this before, and I tend to be pessimistic when I plan things anyway, I imagine that at the end of the week she’ll still have a bunch of food/trash in her room. At that point, I was considering telling her that since it’s an issue of sanitation, we will have to go into her room to throw things out. I’m hoping that this threat to her privacy will make her take it seriously. And if it doesn’t, then we will actually throw stuff out, and the problem will still be taken care of, though not ideally.
But, I get the vague feeling that this could be a mistake. Do you think putting forth such a rigid rule might make her worse?
Anyone have any advice on dealing with this?