Avoidant Paruresis is the true medical name for what I have:
Most people don’t call it Avoidant Paruresis (AP), they just simplify it and call it “Paruresis”.
Avoidant Paruresis is exactly what we do:
We avoid everything! We avoid drinking liquids so we won’t have to pee in public, nor even get the urge to. We dehydrate ourselves and go all day without a single drink.
We avoid telling anyone we are Pee Shy. We live our whole lives in secrecy and shame, and our friends and family have no idea we even have such a dire condition. We hide the fact that we’re different. That we’re avoiding Public Bathrooms like the plague.
I Don’t Have To Pee!
We get good at sitting in our seats and not going to the restroom even though we are dying inside and ready to explode. We tell ourselves such things like: “I don’t really have to go“, “I can hold it”, “Even if I tried, I wouldn’t be able to go anyway, so why bother?”, “I’ll just pee when I get home, in another hour or so…”
We Avoid the Bathroom!
If we DO walk in (on rare occasion), if the bathroom is busy, we usually just turn around (red-faced), and leave the john promptly.
We avoid any eye contact, they’ll know that you’re going to the bathroom. That’s disgusting and embarrassing!
If we head towards the bathroom and someone else goes in right before us, we’ll usually veer off course and wait until they leave before we sheepishly venture in.
We don’t Pee or CAN’T Pee!
We avoid Concerts, Amusement Parks, Sporting Events, Theaters, Plays (really any event that’s crowded and takes all night)…
We definitely Avoid Traveling. Road Trips, Boating, Flying… Planes and Airports are a big no-no!
We Avoid a lot of things. We get good at avoiding. We’ve been avoiding our whole lives.
“We’re going to the bathroom, wanna come?”
We avoid going to the bathroom with groups of people (like a Tour Bus pit stop, or the Rest Stop on a Highway) or even with our friends and family… we can’t let them see we’re bashful and have to sneak into a stall. We wait until everyone else has gone before we “suddenly” have to go ourselves. And then, if they are waiting outside, or if there are time constraints, it usually ends in failure.
“I heard footsteps outside” “The door creaked” “Someone’s in the next stall…”
We avoid being away from home for long periods of time. Hiking, Camping, Art Shows…
We avoid even looking at the restroom door, let alone stepping foot in one.
And we absolutely avoid the TROUGH!
That just sends shivers down our spines.
Our avoidance hurts us physically and mentally. It breaks us down to tears. It destroys us. Our Social life and our relationships SUFFER!
Paruresis puts a strain on everything it touches. And the most crazy thing in the world to wrap our heads around is this:
WE AVOID RECOVERY!
That doesn’t even seem possible, but it’s true.
We avoid getting better. We know that! We fight it tooth and nail. Because to recover means we’ll have to endure even more difficulty, more discomfort, more terror, more anxiety… the things that we’re doing everything we can to avoid to begin with.
Like everything in our lives, we simply avoid it.
I put off my Paruresis Recovery for a full 1 1/2 years because I was too frightened to begin. To take that first step meant I’d have to open myself up to my worst fears. I’d have to face my demons head on. To put myself into situations and scenarios that only nightmares are made of.
I would have to stand at urinals next to other guys and PEE!
That Terrified Me!
That’s the one thing in my life that I avoided the most. And to recover, I’d have to step up to the plate and pee like a man. Even thinking about that would provoke panic and make my heart race and my head swim.
So I avoided Recovery for a long, long time. I told myself I couldn’t do it. There’s no way. It’s NOT possible for me to do those ghastly things…
I couldn’t never Fluid Load and leave the house with a full screaming bladder… NO WAY!
I didn’t believe a Pee Buddy would work for me either. I didn’t even want to ASK someone to be my Pee Buddy. It’s so degrading…
How would I ever be able to open up enough and tell someone my real feelings and to TRUST that they’ll understand, and actually want to help me?
It didn’t seem Fathomable!
No one would want to help me. “You want me to stand there and watch you Pee?” UGH!!! Just the thought…
BOY WAS I WRONG!
To this day, now 5 months deep into Recovery, I still feel some anxiety rising (not anywhere like it used to be). So I’m very happy that I took that first step. It really was the hardest decision in my life.
But, because I’ve been avoiding bathrooms for so long, I still see AP all around me. I see that I still want to avoid things that discomfort me. I suppose I always will…
But at least now I recognize that is Paruresis talking… I know it wants me to “avoid“. I know it wants to get in my brain and shroud me with doubt…
I know it!
Like when I’m at a busy restaurant, it makes me want to avoid the bathroom still. It makes me want to sit in my seat because “I don’t have a big urge to pee“. It still wants to hold me down. Discourage me.
It is Paruresis Bull-Shit!
The goal of Paruresis is to try to talk me out of going into the discomfort zone. “JUST AVOID IT!“
That is EXACTLY what I don’t NEED to do! Avoid it!
I need to face it if I want to fully recover. Face it head on and say to myself “Shut up, I CAN do this!” and make myself get up and move towards the bathroom. Not sit there worrying about it all night. MOVE!
Get my ass into the bathroom and PEE!
Quit Avoiding it and saying “I didn’t Fluid Load“, “We’re only out for an Hour!”, “There’s only 1 Urinal, it’s too tough…” I just need to make myself… MOVE!
Avoidance keeps me glued to my chair. It freezes me up. It locks my bladder down.
And the longer you sit, the worse it gets!
I’m learning to accept it. To see that it’s happening. To deal with it. “Don’t listen to it!“
Sometimes it’s still impossible to ignore!
Just yesterday Kay was talking to me about opening day at the Baseball Game. We have tickets already and are all planning to go (me and a bunch of my friends). I’m looking forward to it, but I am nervous because it probably means we’ll be out all day, the stadium and then maybe out to eat afterwards… and the place will be PACKED. After all, it’s probably the busiest day of the season.
So I know I’m a little scared. It weighs heavily on me, but I think I’ll be fine. I have faith in myself…
The bathrooms may be ultra busy. There will probably be a line…
But I’m going to Fluid Load and make myself pee. That’s the plan!
And that’s when Kay says “It’s also the last Hockey Game as well. They’re playing right after the Ball Game (different Stadium not too far away) and I think we’re planning on going to that as well…”
My Heart Sank!
2 GAMES in 1 Day?
Back to Back?
“That’s a long day” I say to her.
“Just 2 hours more” she replies.
I was standing there soaking it all in and looked over at Mike (my Pee Buddy)… He fully understood what I meant and what I was thinking. The decision is all mine. I smirk a little. Talk about Pressure!
2 MORE hours eh?
We’d probably leave home at Noon and not get back until 11. That’s just a couple hours for sure!
So while I plan on going to the Ball Game, I’m leery about going to the Hockey Game…
2 MORE hours!
I didn’t give her a “Yes” or a “No”!
My Avoidant Paruresis is already laying huge doubt “Avoid the second game” it says “One game is bad enough, 2 is IMPOSSIBLE! That’s TOO long to be away from home… Too far from safety!“
It’s toying with me!
“How will you Pee?”
“What happens if you CAN’T Pee?“
It could spell Disaster!
See, it’s sill feeding me garbage and making my blood pressure go up.
Avoidant Paruresis wants to throw doubt on everything I do, every day. It passes out Anxiety like Candy!
It knows it has a grip on me!
Although it is slowly loosening and allowing me some breathing room. I know it’s there. Ready to rear it’s ugly head.
But then again, I am Peeing in Public and having pretty good Success…
Talk is cheap…
But 2 Games?
Will I go to the second game? Will it be too much for me?
I don’t know.
For now, I’ll think about it…
And probably AVOID answering it! :)