This may be a bit impersonal, but hey, what’s a little impersonality (is that even a word?) among strangers on the internet. Ever since I was a little girl, I was told to brush my teeth, much like most of you, I’m assuming, were also told. And for a good long while I did just this, I brushed my teeth every single night and morning. Then, sometime around age 10 or 11, I just…stopped. I just cold turkey stopped brushing my teeth. Because of this, I am now nearly 30 and my teeth are in awful shape. I have begun brushing them again, and it’s helped a bit, but the damage is done. And when I say “awful shape”, I mean they’re crooked (not that brushing your teeth helps that any), slightly yellow and pockmarked, and my bottom right molar flat out cracked about two years ago and has had a hole in it ever since, thus making it basically unusable if I want to eat on that side of my mouth. It rarely hurts, but still.
In hindsight, I think a lot of my rash decision in stopping brushing my teeth was because I wanted to, in the long run, hurt myself. This is a little weird to me because, for a long time, I never thought about my life “in the long run”, as I sort of expected to kill myself when I was, oh, 20 or so. Obviously that didn’t happen, not that I didn’t try, lord knows, but I’m still, sadly, here. But I guess, as I said, in hindsight, what I was trying to do was hurt myself in more ways than one. I didn’t see myself necessarily as something or someone worth taking care of and keeping around. I had a weird situation with my teeth as it was as a little girl, because my mouth was too small, and I had too many teeth, like some sort of sideshow sharkgirl or something. I had to have a surgery when I was about 9 or so and have a lot of them extracted so that my new teeth could come in regularly, which they pretty much did, thank god.
I’m telling you all this because, well, for one, I apparently don’t believe in anything like “too much information”, but also because I want to drive home a point about depression. People often talk about depression in ways like ‘it’s not just laying in bed or crying in the shower, it’s not as dramatic as the movies make it out to be! it can be as simple as just not eating a whole day’ and while I agree with this statement, I also think it goes beyond THAT. I think it even extends to things unconsciously that you do to yourself, like me and for whatever reason deciding to stop brushing my teeth, which I know recognize in retrospect as being a way to hurt myself. I succeeded, I must admit. There’s nothing I’m better at than taking bad care of myself. It’s a gift, really. But yeah, it’s a lot of subconscious things as well, especially in regards to hygiene. I know a lot of depressed people who say depression zaps them of their energy to even be able to bathe, and I’ve experienced that as well. Nowhere near as bad as others or nowhere near as bad as failing to take care of my teeth, but still.
It may be too late for my teeth, it may not be, but I’ve decided it’s not too late for me. Teeth can be replaced. I can’t be. Sometimes to save your whole self, you have to sacrifice a part of you.
image created via Maggie Taylor