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I Didn't Brush My Teeth Last Night

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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.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: October 21, 2016
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