More threads by 1210donna


This morning I ran a bath. I then announced to my husband Chris that I could now run baths.

I?m 43.

I?ve been trying to run baths for 28 years.

I flood them, run them without the plug, run them cold, run the boiling, get in at the wrong time (ouch), forget them till they?re stone cold.
I?m sure this is familiar to all of you.
But imagine this is 80-90% of every bath you ever ran.
Its very hard to maintain confidence and keep trying.
So this time I waited till I had ran 3 months of baths which actually worked!
Then I was ready to say, yes, I can run a bath.

In childhood I got into the bath when made to.
At about age 9 I was made to bath with my infant brother.
That taught me about having bodies (because I could see objectively he was a little person in the bath) about soap and washing but I couldn?t work out that I had a whole body so I?d only rub some soap on one part or another.
Then I learned my body was like a road map and ran the soap all along the lines.
When I was about 11, I went to my cousins? house and they played in the bath and that taught me having a bath could actually be fun and you could even laugh in the bath (now there was a novel concept) and I got into shampoo (and drinking it), bubbles (filled the WHOLE room with these once? I think it was shampoo in the bath) and then got into the bath in my clothes, washed my clothes then took them off to wash the body underneath (made sense to me but I couldn?t tell anyone what I was doing so it just seemed odd to them).

Then I realised the bath could be the one-stop-shop so I got in in my clothes, peed in them, washed the clothes, washed me then let the water out (yes, pretty gross but it was innovative and toilets do involve peeing then letting the water go so you might realise it was actually rather logical to use the bath in this inventive adapted manner but not really in keeping with the rules of the world - which I had no idea of and valued far more highly my individuality, autonomy and solitude).
Then came my teens and I learned to use the shower. Lots of getting burned, lots of flooding, lots of leaving the shower running for hours after leaving it, lots of people yelling. I learned to associate baths and showers with people yelling and being called stupid.
I kept trying.

I was assisted to leave my family?s house (they had more challenges than me) in my teens at 15, and living alone was big time chaos as you can imagine.
The details are in Nobody Nowhere and in fact my bath sagas are mentioned in many of my books, but regarding baths we are talking major flooding, weekly if not daily.
We are talking soggy neighbors ceiling, we are talking water through the entire flat, we are talking lots of mess and shouting.
I reverted to a wash cloth and a basin of water, it was safer.
Then living with men (this was the version of care in the community for folks like me with few living skills and no professional or family support) meant I could get into their bath, their shower.
So at least I?d mastered washing!
But I so wanted to really ?get this?.

So I kept trying and I taught myself to get out of a boiling bath in my 30s and used a wall poster I made to sequence the running of a bath (when the plug goes in, the regulation of temperature, which order to put the body in).

But still the attention span and meaning blindness thing kept me flooding everything (forgot what the bath WAS or the noise).

So finally I started using a timer.
But I kept walking off from the timer!
I blocked the bathroom door so I couldn?t leave? that worked for a while? like an imprisoned cat?
I still forgot why I was there.
I got a louder timer with an alarm.
Then I progressed to carrying it with me via a rule that I was never allowed to leave a set timer without it coming with me.
Finally, finally, FINALLY, I can run baths.
I?m now going for one.

The moral is, even with half a brain, you can probably master something eventually if you keep trying new ways to counter the whole gamut of challenges which are obstacles to the activity.

:) Donna Williams
autistic author of 9 books in the field of autism
newly qualified expert bath runner

Similar threads

The Big Benefits of Small Talk by Mary Halton, TED-Ed Blog Nov 16, 2020 Casual conversations can sometimes lead us to moments of real connection. News director and radio host Kyle Kellams explains how. Small talk is seen by many of us as the cotton candy of conversation: artificial, unsubstantial and ultimately unsatisfying. “How many times have you heard, or maybe you’ve said to yourself, ‘I hate small talk’?” asks Kyle Kellams, a Fayetteville, Arkansas, news director and radio host...
Small battles yes are sometimes the most difficult to win and sometimes it is best not to fight them and to rest from the battles so you can fight them another day. I dont know where I read this but I really can relate to this article as most days I do push myself to fight like now time to get moving time to get dressed and face this day I have rested enough
Making Art, Today, another shooting in Fort Lauderdale airport. The gunman has history with mental health and had been complaining about hearing voices. I'm wondering about the reduction syndrome of chromosome 22. Had they done a genetic work-up while he was being evaluated in Alaska, could that have possibly served as an early warning? Also, when he finished shooting he simply sat down and waited for authorities. So many of them shoot themselves. Mental Health is so severely...
How Small Wins Unleash Creativity September 6, 2011 by Carmen Nobel, Harvard Business School: Working Knowledge All good managers understand the importance of making sure that every member of a team feels personally motivated and necessary throughout the workday, lest their work should stagnate and suffer. But what's the key to igniting creativity, joy, trust, and productivity among your employees? According to recent research, the single most important factor is simply a sense of making...
Some small risks to antidepressants in pregnancy By Alison McCook, Reuters Health Jun 24, 2011 Two antidepressants appear to be associated with a small risk of birth defects, according to a new analysis based on national data from Finland. Women taking fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine (Paxil) appeared to be slightly more likely to give birth to babies with specific types of heart defects, said study author Dr. Heli Malm and colleagues. The risk - if it exists - would be small: affecting...