I Didn't Brush My Teeth Last Night


I didn’t brush my teeth last night.

There are several different reactions I get when telling people this. Often, it is a cringe of disgust or a shrug of disinterest. Some give me a look like I’m the last person they want to talk to. Some plan on ways of avoiding me for the entire night or the rest of my life. (But same thing, right?)

Just know that while you make nasty faces at my particularly unhygienic action, I feel accomplished. I didn’t brush my teeth last night.

I enjoyed a night out camping in a parking lot with my senior peers in midst of our graduation. We were up all night enjoying ourselves. Attempting to sleep was a pointless endeavor, but we all set up tents with sleeping bags anyway. We gathered around a fire with blankets in 40 degrees weather and blasted music as if it wasn’t 3 a.m.

The night went on. I brought my toothbrush, but it never got used. I didn’t give one thought to the fact that I couldn’t brush my teeth in that moment of memories. For me, this is the greatest feeling.

As someone with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), I remember a relapse I endured months ago. Every night would become morning as I went through the phases of teeth brushing. I would be late for school because my teeth were never perfect enough to leave. When I was forced to go, I brought my toothbrush with me.

I would brush in between classes. During classes, I would ask to go to the bathroom, get a drink, go to the nurse or anything that would grant me the time to submit to the demon picking on me inside of my head. I always let him win.

My dentist warned me about the erosion that over brushing has inflicted on my teeth. So I finally set out to beat my demon. I would stay up all night with anxiety and panic, but I would only have brushed my teeth once. Every night was difficult, but slowly the thoughts inside my head telling me to brush my teeth would subside earlier and earlier in the night.

All of these sleepless nights led up to this night, last night. The night where not sleeping was welcome. The night that my sleeplessness was not caused by anxiety but excitement and pride as I prepared to graduate. I didn’t brush my teeth last night, and I haven’t given it a second thought.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Lonely young woman sitting on the street

You Do Not Need to Fear Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts can be the scariest part of living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Life-interruptingly frightening. But you do not need to fear them. Easier said than done, I know. From experience. I have had OCD for as long as I can remember, and during my darkest times, intrusive thoughts led me on a vicious cycle [...]
woman separating the clothes in her closet

OCD Is More Than What You See

You always hear about those people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) who flip the lights on and off exactly 16 times, who don’t step on cracks on the sidewalk, who pick up the phone and put it down eight times before they make a call, who need to open and shut a door three times, [...]
Amanda Seyfried

Amanda Seyfried Discusses OCD, Taking Antidepressants With Allure

Millions of Americans take antidepressants; however, the stigma that comes with taking medication for mental illness prevents a lot of people from getting the help they truly need. In an interview with Allure, actress Amanda Seyfried, known for her roles in “Mean Girls,” “Ted 2,” “Les Miserables” and “Mamma Mia,” spoke candidly about taking antidepressants and [...]
stressed out woman with abstract thought lines coming from her head

The Question My Psychiatrist Didn’t Ask Me When He Diagnosed Me With OCD

I have battled obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) for as long as I can remember, but for many years I kept my struggle hidden. From a young age, my intrusive thoughts were strange and uncontrollable. Because my 10-year-old self thought having OCD just meant being really clean, I didn’t know what was causing these thoughts. I thought [...]