An Embarrassing Confession


Confession time. I hate showers and brushing my teeth and changing my clothes.

Of all the things I struggle with, this might be the most embarrassing. The sensory experience of it all can be just too much.

As a kid, I screamed in the bath tub. Screamed bloody murder. It wasn’t enough to put a washcloth over my eyes. My parents finally resigned themselves to not bathing my everyday, and only washing my hair every few days. When I was 2, my mom found a blue, foam ring that fit on my head that kept the water from falling into my eyes. It helped, but still I would all out melt down at the prospect of a bath. My hair was actually fairly long and got knotty, and I hated my mom brushing it. It was such relief to get it cut when I was 5, nice and short to my shoulders so that it only had to be brushed after it got washed, which wasn’t that often.

I stuck with the every-other-day baths until middle school, when I started to shower and did it daily. Middle school and high school were the years of the least sensory issues, and thankfully, I was able to shower daily. But in the last couple of years, I’ve started to have trouble again.

I usually shower daily, but the whole process is a nightmare. Going from clothes to no clothes sucks, then the water pressure hurts, then the towel makes my skin burn, then changing into new clothes is the worst. I hate new clothes. First of all, they’re stiff from being washed, and secondly, they feel different than the clothes I’d had on. I don’t do pajamas for the same reason; I just sleep in whatever I’ve been wearing. As I just told Leigh, by the time I’m done, I feel like someone has just peeled off the top layer of skin, leaving me a raw, open wound. I hate it. Brushing my teeth is rough too, sometimes, but it doesn’t hurt like showering. It’s just uncomfortable.

I’m starting to run into problems with clothes, too. You know that I only wear sweatpants, right? Well, my mom found me a pair of jean leggings with an elastic waist. Finally! A way for me to wear jeans and look halfway normal! Maybe it’s because I got used to those, but now I can’t even wear my sweatpants. Ughhhh. The hurt my legs. So I’m sitting here in leggings (but they’re capri length, so I can’t wear them out). I’m not sure I could get away with wearing leggings like that out in public, either… I’m super muscular, but last year I put on a good bit of weight due to meds, and I don’t know how that would work. This might be a lesson in self confidence though, as i might be reduced to wearing only leggings. I don’t know what else to do.

I really need a shirt that says “Will work for cats.” Because that’s the agreement Leigh and I have, now. When I shower, I get a Lolcat. Yes, it’s come down to that. I don’t look at Lolcats online very often, because they’re almost too good. So. Many. Cats. I can’t contain my excitement, and it turns from something good to something bad. It makes my heart beat fast and my hands sweaty and it’s just… it’s cat overload. One cat at a time is good, but all at once is overwhelming.

So, yes, this is a little bit embarrassing, that I don’t want to shower, but at the same time… this is autism, you know?

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Lydia
I'm 23. I love Jesus, my service cat, and my mom. I have usually-high-functioning autism, though it depends on the day. I'm trying to figure out how I can live the life I've dreamed of with autism in it.
Lydia

Lydia

I'm 23. I love Jesus, my service cat, and my mom. I have usually-high-functioning autism, though it depends on the day. I'm trying to figure out how I can live the life I've dreamed of with autism in it.

28 thoughts on “An Embarrassing Confession

  • August 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm
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    Hi there,

    It ocurred to me that you might find it more of a comfortable thing to use a little natural fragrance oil on parts of your clothes that you cannot see…(make them “smell” comfy and not stiff or new) and with the shower… try burning  oil in a diffuser in the bathroom, and a natural fragranced soap…something you really  really like for fragrance.  I understand the issue is he sensation of the  shower, but hey… give it a try and see.

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  • July 16, 2011 at 7:26 pm
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    I have this same issue! But I’m not autistic. I do have a lot of sensory issues though. It’s a real hassle. I can’t stand getting my face wet. I have to force myself to and I usually miss washing the top half of my head to avoid it. Whenever I get my face wet my friends say I look like someone spit on me. I look so disgusted. lol. Showers make me cringe in general. The feeling of towels, being wet/sweaty from the steam, putting on stiff clothes, putting on clothes while wet or sweaty. It’s not fun. 

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  • July 15, 2011 at 10:48 pm
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    When I was really depressed and couldn’t get out of bed I didn’t shower because it seemed like an exhausting and monumental task that would make me so tired and upset. I just didn’t have the energy. I don’t have any good advice expect that at least you’re not alone : / Not much help at all, but I feel you.

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  • July 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm
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    First of all, it isn’t really that good for your skin to shower every day, so don’t worry about that too much. Every other day is probably fine, unless you get all sweaty and gross. Washing your hair every day isn’t so good for it either. There are days when I crave the water and days where it’s the last thing I want. I hate having wet hair… but I hate the sound of a hair dryer even more, so my hair stays wet. I rarely take a shower before bed, as I will NOT go to bed with wet hair. I’d rather take one in the morning. 

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  • July 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm
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    @Stacey@xanga – that’s how my son is and he just turned four. he’s a real cahtter box now but it’s still a little bit diffictul to understand what he’s saying, so we use PECS to help. i cna’t really tell you if things get eaiser, but i just have to get creative when i rinse him off.

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  • July 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm
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    You could take a bath or do a sponge bath if you don’t like being submerged in the water. This sounds really frustrating! I hope you find something that works for you.

    Since you like lolcats maybe you could get a picture of a lolcat that you really like laminated and hang it in the shower to look at while you’re in there? 

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  • July 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm
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    I love showers. But I don’t really like brushing my teeth (I’m lazy!) or stiff clothes. 

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  • July 11, 2011 at 3:33 am
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    I HATE crispy hard clothes too and have found several ways to cut back on it. One is to use a hell of a lot of fabric softener, then tumble-dry on the lowest setting with like….three dryer sheets. Then, before putting them on (especially if I have to hang dry them instead), I shake/snap them (like sheets) and then crumple them up and rub them together to get them soft. Bllleeech just thinking about it makes me feel icky inside.

    Anyway, it shouldn’t be embarrassing. Even people without autism, like me, have things they really don’t like to do. I have incredible social anxiety in new-job situations where I’d literally love to just hide in the back corner of my place of employment and ignore everyone that walks past or tries to talk to me. At job interviews, I almost convince myself to drive away or not show up (and if I have the slightest excuse like a mild health issue, I WILL call up and cancel, which is horrible and probably why I’m stuck working for Wal-Mart). The good news for me is, I eventually get over it when I get in the swing of a job and don’t need any training anymore. The bad news is, if I get put in a situation I’m not trained to deal with, it starts all over. :[

    LOLcats are intense. I spent the last week doing nothing but look at various meme/photo-bank websites and I certainly don’t feel good about that. Everything kind of runs together and I get anxious about it. :/

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  • July 11, 2011 at 2:12 am
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    I’m like the other lazy people, and for that reason showers just seem like a lot of work. I love being in water though; to my senses it feels great, so it’s interesting to hear how someone could feel so opposite.
    Sweatpants probably do feel good.. but I have this odd thing where i have to put on stiffer clothes (but i live in shorts) at some point in the day, instead of softer ones, sort of like how i dont really feel awake until I have my contact lenses in.

    LOLCATS! O: Cat overload..hehe

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  • July 11, 2011 at 1:37 am
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    Why they allow us to hear them do these things to us, I’ll never understand. 

    Now I don’t know that things are wrong, so I have to think in words to second guess information and not be overly direct in generalizations.  So if someone told me that there were pink dots on the moon, I’d automatically remember that there are pink dots on the moon.  I wouldn’t think about it, so when someone said “moon,” I would think pink dots.  It gets really complicated, but it makes me really stupid so kudos to them.

    I’ve also been trashed out to serve the purpose of their controlled dissident population.  Only trashy people hate the government and believe in psychotronic warfare.  Good people know that it’ll help people with disabilities and that we have to be number one on the battlefield. They have the privilege of being excited over this stuff.  I tried that one, and they rebuffed me insisting that I didn’t care about humanity.  Oh, me not care about humanity, but then they taught me the lesson that nobody matters.  They are sloppy.  I believe all of humanity is sloppy right now and that things are the way they are out of the grace of luck.  I don’t think a single human could design a logical system.

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  • July 11, 2011 at 1:27 am
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    They tried to make me nice and submissive, but I don’t trust them.  I only trust enemies of NATO.  I’ll do anything for anyone that doesn’t have anglo-ideology.

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  • July 11, 2011 at 1:25 am
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    I’ve also learned that Americans are garbage.  They’ve raised us to be the shit in a portable toilet.  You don’t care about your family because you don’t have to.  You don’t have to do anything, which is absolutely fucking amazing.

    I know you are but what am I, and you stay on these fucking realizations forever.

    I’m Russian, btw, because the bitch who’s working on me threw a fit about that one.  “She wants to be Russian; we have to stop her!”  She is Russian because she abhors her society and she wants to escape.

    Peace and love.  I’m gonna hurl. 

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  • July 11, 2011 at 1:05 am
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    From this, I’ve learned that nothing is real. 

    I’ve learned that it’s all about control not truth.  This interferes with their results.  They justify what i do as their genius when it’s the result of natural reactions.  Of zero options, I would have to go to path a before path b.

    I’ve learned the basic principles of their manipulation is sexual morality and worth based on a form of self-hate that causes self-sacrifice.

    I think they’re trying to make people submissive by causing disability that leads to the individual being dependent on others.  It changes their personality from independence and self-respect to a cluster pattern of insecurity and paranoia.

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  • July 11, 2011 at 1:00 am
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    And now I’m messed up and trying to get help from Putin.  In messed up land, I’m married to him, but I don’t really like him (now), and I’m beyond messed up.  I take that delusion with me everywhere I go because my ring finger burns and I have to hide the fact that my eyes go to my hand that I’m thinking about cutting off after I get circumcised to protect myself. 

    I think they’ve learned from doing all of this that females will go for circumcision like nothing else.  In fact, that’s my weapon.  Do it again, and I’m going to get circumcised.  For violation reasons, I would really like to be circumcised because sexy time isn’t, um, for me.  I guess I’m going to say that I need to be for spiritual reasons.

    I live in a demonic inbetween land now, but I’m not emotionally connected to it like I was.  I need those back though.  I had an encounter with an angel a few nights ago.  All he did was come up to the window to say “hi” to me.  I smelled dead people in my dreams last night after listening to Lisa Gerrard’s “Cantara.”  The psychotronic people weave themselves in my delusions and call themselves dead people.  Their goal is to make me forget everything and lead a normal life.  They’re trying to create the perfect worker with apathy and submision out of need, but I need emotions, or I don’t understand things as well.

    Plus, they’ve gotten an emotion out of me that causes me to be defiant towards them, even in memory.  When they discovered this, they went towards my memory.  They just make me more and more disabled. 

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  • July 11, 2011 at 12:49 am
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    @harleykitten342@xanga – you’re only innocent the first time they drag you in.  I live with schizophrenics.  They all know they are but they ramble incoherently about their imaginary worlds.

    I’m actually a psychotronic experiment but so many people have called me schizophrenic that I’ve gotten used to it.  WHile I was in the military, they said what they were doing to me was “child’s play.”  Back then, I was still childish, so I thought there were really overlords watching over us.  Later, they tried to numb me after giving me a minor TBI to see what I would do with all the stimulus.  They would whisper that nobody cared about me and other horrible things.  They would then record my backthoughts so that they would know my exact reaction set then they would setup the day to where I would encounter the right objects to match my thoughts exactly then make the next day blank to see if I would look for symbols.  They said that they were using me because I’m stupid and didn’t matter.

    Basically, what they did was disturb me, do a bunch of mind control experiments then try to cure me.

    They kept telling me about how worthless I was and how nobody cared.  I use that to my advantage now because i like to type.  I get to type all I want to and nobody cares what I say.  i used to be paranoid about social interactions, shy and reserved, but I don’t care about anything anymore.

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  • July 10, 2011 at 11:15 pm
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    Oh my. I had no idea about sensory issues until I read about it just now. That must suck. Is there some sort of therapy you can do to help with it? 

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  • July 10, 2011 at 9:35 pm
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    I love showers.  Make me feel clean.  For that same reason I am always scaping my skin, so I can feel clean and fresh.

    I hate the sun though, because it makes my skin dark and impure.I would Like to dye my hair white and be very pale, like a peice of papper all over.

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  • July 10, 2011 at 7:44 pm
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    I’m NOT autistic and these things bother me !  But, just cuz I’m lazy.  :/

    Anyway, I agree, maybe a bath would work better?  I heard you can use witch hazel to make your hair look less greasy.  Dunno if that works.

    My friend also had a brush that had sort of like baby wipes on the bottom, and she’d brush the dirt out with the baby wipe things, then peel the pad off and throw away.

    And, maybe you can try switching off what you change?  like in the morning, put on a new shirt, but wear the same bottoms.  In the evening, leave the shirt on but change your pants.  or something like that?  I’m not sure.  Again, I don’t have autism.  But I did babysit a little girl (from 5-9 years old) who was i’d say had moderately functioning autism, and she didn’t like the showers either.  baths were okay, but when the shower head was on, she’d get all anxious and stuff.  Didn’t mind me brushing he hair when it went down to her waist, or braiding it either.

    But, everyone is different !

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  • July 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm
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    There’s a young woman I know who only showers twice a month. Her hair is constantly greasy and she acts a bit different. I always wonder if she doesn’t shower due to some fear..But I wouldn’t dare ask. It’s an interesting thought though and thanks for sharing such personal details of your life with us!

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  • July 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm
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    My daughter loves taking baths, but once I try to rinse her hair, it is all over.  She is minimally verbal right now and  2 and a half, so I don’t know what the issue it.  We are working with an OT right now.  Thank for sharing this to give some insight.

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  • July 10, 2011 at 3:41 pm
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    i was just wondering, out of curiosity if you have ever gotten a therapeutic massage? would you ever consider getting one?

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  • July 10, 2011 at 3:16 pm
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    hmmm. have you tried taking a bath instead of a shower? they are definatly less oppressive…also…(and this really helps the little boy i baby sit for because he has a really hard time getting dressed) why not put your clothes in the dryer right before you get in the shower on a gentle cycle, that way they are nice and warm and soft and ready to be put on 🙂  also…cats are my favorite! i have a two little ones panda and annie 🙂

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  • July 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm
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    im not autistic but i hate all of these things. i DO them but i haaaate it. for very different reasons than you, obviously, but no reason to be embarrassed. they’re chores.

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  • July 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm
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    It’s okay.  I used to skip showers so that I could pick dandruff out of my hair as a child.

    I have schizophrenia, and I lack intuition.  I don’t know what water is.  Every experience is new to my mind, but I can talk, so I’ll know the word for it, yet won’t know what it is.

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  • July 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm
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    For the water pressure, they have special nozzles or showerheads for that, you know. This way, you can go from a hose to a sprinkle to a waterfall. Then again, you can always just go back to baths, you know? 

    Reply

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