I was wondering recently about the issue of personal hygiene. Autistics may not be very good at that, although it was really confusing for me because I actually like taking showers. As long at the water is the right temperature and the right pressure, showers can be real sensory heaven. Yet, I have on and off relationship with them. At times during the last couple of years I’d not take a shower for like 5 days; and that was when I was working full time. I tried to have a strip wash in the meantime, but you know… it’s just not very effective trying to keep clean this way.
I do appreciate it must have not been the nicest experience for my colleagues and who knows, possibly it was one of the reason that got me fired, even though it never made into my disciplinary records.
I was wondering about it and came up with an explanation that I don’t shower because being not showered gives me an impression of staying in my own little bubble that protects me from the world around.
I am also perfectly aware that I wasn’t like that when I was in my 20s or even 30s. But now it really feels like the world is too much. Why we have 150 pasta sauce on supermarket shelves? Why I’m getting number of phone calls every week from companies I never dealt with? It’s all too complicated for me. I don’t know how I’m going to cope with this. I’m only 44, still quite a few years to live.
There’s no point making all this effort that I’m making into fitting to this world on social level and then ruin it all because of lack of personal hygiene. Yet, it doesn’t feel to me that I can cope with this all; it seems at the moment I can only do so much, and if I’m trying to communicate better with people all the time, something else needs to go. I mean, I need to be allowed to be myself in a different way.
I almost wish that the time I didn’t know I’m autistic came back. I wish I was able to be myself and that it wasn’t an issue to anyone. That’s how it feels to me: my issues with personal hygiene are due to the fact that I don’t feel I can be myself in any other way.
I’m not sure what is the way out of that.