Jan 31, 2007

It's Only Water

A parent asked me if I ever resisted taking a shower as an Aspie child or teen.

I personally can't shower every day, because it makes my skin feel dried out, and then when the fabric of my clothing moves back and forth on me it creates an intolerable sensation. In the winter especially, when the heat is on and things dry out, I can only shower about every other day. So, for that reason, I too dislike taking showers, because if my skin dries out I can't escape it. There's nothing worse for an Aspie than an overwhelming sensation from which one is able to disengage.

I do enjoy baths, because it is like being buried, and I can warm up better. It's that whole desire for deep pressure. I've always wished the bathtub was deeper so that I could be completely covered with hot water. I used to squirt Vaseline intensive care oil into the bath water so that I wouldn't get dried out. That left a terrible ring in the tub though.

So, I was thinking, what if I was a parent of a teen who found it unpleasant to shower. Well, approaching it logically, there are really only one of two reasons to show (three if your married). One could be that you enjoy it or find it soothing. Then you would want to shower every night before bed just to relax. I know of people that shower every am and every pm, and enjoy the way it makes them feel.

The second reason is because people need to keep themselves clean. It's better for your health and keeps you from disturbing others with a smell that they find troubling. It really doesn't matter what smells I can or can not tolerate, if people around me can not tolerate the way I smell, then I need to fix it. Some people just load on the perfume and I have to keep a small distance from them (discretely so as not to offend). There was one time I was sitting in church and a man sat down in front of me. He was wearing an attractive suite actually. However, it smelled as if the suit had been used for a bed by a wet dog. It was a powerful odor (one of the reasons I really don't want to own a dog).

I tried to ignore it, but finally couldn't take it any more. My family was spread out along the entire row, so I quietly got up, walked to the back, and then re-entered on the other side of the row.

There are certain detergents that my wife can not use, because they have a powerful fragrance, and I can smell just the least hint of mildew on a towel (you know, that sour smell). Sometimes I put on a shirt and if it smells odd to me, I won't wear it. It just goes right back into the dirty clothes hamper.

Back to showering.

So, if you don't like to shower, but you don't want to offend people by being odoriferous, then you could do like the French do. When I visited France as a child, I noticed that the bathroom at the hotel had a toilet shaped sink called a bidet. It was for cleaning the parts of you that get smelly when you don't shower much.

Think of it, if you didn't shower for a month your knees and elbows wouldn't smell really, nor would a number of areas. If you don't have a bidet, then lay a towel in front of the sink in your bathroom, wash the smelly areas with a soapy clothe, and then rinse with a warm wet clothe, and dry yourself. The nice thing is you can take the wash clothes that you used, and the towel for drying yourself and roll them up inside the towel that you laid on the floor. Toss it all in the dirty clothes hamper and everything is neat and tidy.

It feels a little odd blogging about this, but it is a sensory issue. For some Aspies their senses are on over drive, and we get overwhelmed. There are ways to deal with that and not feel like you are a weirdo.

Let me know if you find this helpful or if you ever struggled with this. Maybe there is a way you dealt with this that other readers would like to learn about. Leave a comment.



No comments:

Post a Comment