Cringe worthy right? I brushed my teeth. Meaning, I don’t usually brush my teeth and at 34 I’m super proud when I do and especially proud when I do it more than one day in a row!
Sadly, a lot of people take this activity for granted that everyone does it and its normal. Well its not. Not only because I have issues with executive functioning but also because I’m autistic and it bothers me. Brushing teeth is very rough. I’m sensory avoidant so I hate it. I use a Sonicare toothbrush, its harsh but I have horrible plaque and gingivitis thanks to my lack of teeth brushing, and even after months its kinda painful.
Hygiene can be a big issue with executive functioning disorder or dysfunction. Maybe getting into a shower or a bath is more spoons than you can muster, maybe you hate the feel of water on your skin, or the bathing products. Or maybe you just forget that you were supposed to bathe today! I do that quite a bit.
I’m an intelligent person. I know its important to take care of my hygiene. Its perfectly logical, so why can’t I just seem to get it together? Why can’t I just do it?
Because I forget to remember.
I have tried many different techniques to help me remember. I once had a ton of post it notes up all over my house. I had lists of tasks printed up and made visually appealing with each step I needed to take. I have reminders in my phone. I have apps galore that I’ve spent hours setting up. And they all just sit there. Because I forget to remember to use them.
A couple years ago my life changed drastically. I was very sick for a number of years and it was awful. My brain and cognitive functioning took a big hit. I struggle with interference and distractions are constant at home. I can’t very well just ignore my kids the whole day now can I? Since that time, I have been bouncing back and forth between various stages of executive functioning, several bouts of autistic burnout, and chronic fatigue. I’ve had months where getting out of bed was the biggest achievement and I’ve had months where I can conquer the world. I very nearly did! But all in all, my stages of functioning and especially my executive functioning have settled it seems in their places and won’t budge. It has become very frustrating overall for me and especially for my husband too. We’ve been married 15+ years after all and now his spouse is struggling with just the day to day aspects of running a household, managing kids, and rebuilding myself.
I’m relearning how to live and function. I’m building up brand new routines because somewhere I lost my routines and I am floundering. I’m a control freak by nature and this is very disturbing place to be in and as much as it frustrates my husband he has no idea just how it affects me.
I’m going to put together a video of all the little things that I need to take care of on a daily basis, have him text me in the morning to remind me to watch after I wake up, and maybe this will work. Kind of like the thing from that movie 50 First Dates with Drew Barrymore. I’ll let ya know how that goes over the next few weeks.
So today, I’m proud. I brushed my teeth. Cringe all you want. I’m not ashamed.