Following my last post about how a Pee Buddy can make you stronger and can help you overcome Paruresis, let’s turn the tables…
Do you really need a Pee Buddy?
Is it really necessary?
Can you do it alone?
Let’s find out…
A recent reader of mine, and a fellow Paruretic (Chris), left some comments in my post here (and I’m bringing this up because great comments like this are too important to be buried in a comments section).
Chris is basically taking all the steps needed to recover by himself… Without the use of a Pee Buddy. He’s Fluid Loading and forcing himself to go into the men’s public bathroom, and urinating just like I have all year.
“…I live alone thankfully. I have no friends outside of work because the inability to use a restroom which I know I will have to use. I’m actually in my car sitting in a Target parking lot (as I write this now). I just came from a practice pee session. I’m doing exactly what you are doing, I’m going to the mall, Target, Walmart, Dicks, Bed Bath and Beyond. I go anywhere I can to use a public restroom and pee where there are other people potentially present. I liquid load before I go out, and bring a water bottle to refill, and just go to every bath room physically possible and try to pee! I’ve been kind of successful, and kind of not…”
I can’t tell you how impressed I am with Chris!
It takes a lot of guts to do this by yourself. I admire that drive and determination. And as much as I recommend finding a Pee Buddy, for some it’s not even a possibility.
“…A Pee Buddy is out of the question for me because I have no best friend. It’s really taken hold of my life like a bad drug. But I’m just glad that I’m facing my fear and I’m glad that I can read your success and want to beat this phobia!! I want my life back!!!…”
This was my Response:
“Hi, thank you Chris. Thank you for Fluid Loading and forcing yourself out of your comfort zone and into the public bathrooms that you fear. That really is the only way to win this phobia. Try, keep trying, practicing, and desensitize. It gets easier as the months go by, but every now and then you will have bad moments. It’s bound to happen. Just don’t weigh too heavy on them and stay focused.
I’ve had Paruresis for over 47 years, and I’m just now getting a handle on things. Good luck with your progress. Practice Breath Hold if you can, for you can do this! And it does help. I used my Pee Buddy in the beginning to get used to peeing around other people, but I didn’t have any break-throughs until I started Fluid Loading at the first of this year! That’s when it all began to happen (like magic) and it forced me to pee in public at urinals, which I had never done in my life. So keep your head up and thanks for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it! :) If you ever have more to add, or just want to share something, do so, I’m sure it will help other people out as well. Cheers! -Richard”
And then, even more great feedback came in from Dave, who is actually an IPA support group leader in Wisconsin.
“Chris, It may not feel like it yet, but you have already started to get your life back starting the process of recovery. It is a process, which means that there will be ups and downs, times when it is easy and other times when it is incredibly difficult, but you are not alone in this, and it is fantastic that you have reached out to Richard.
I have been in recovery for about four years, and just as you are doing, since I didn’t have a pee buddy, I found public restrooms that I could use and I practiced regularly. I used fluid-loading and I also tried to time visits to restrooms with times when I had a high urgency rate. My pee-buddies were a lot of anonymous guys who never knew I was practicing with them. You mentioned that you have been kind of successful, great – focus on that. Recovery involves baby steps, each success is something to build on and each misfire is something to learn from. At your early point in recovery you are achieving significant success just walking into a public restroom and facing your worst fears, regardless of whether you are able to pee or not. Richard mentioned breath-holding as a back-up plan, and it is good to have one because it will give you the confidence to try more challenging situations. I started by getting trained on how to use a self-catheter (it sounds worse than it actually is), and later I learned how to do breath-holding, which takes awhile to master but can be really helpful.
Recovery can be frustrating, and at times you may want to give up. I can tell you from personal experience that it is worth the effort, and that it is possible to get your life back. I always wanted to know what it felt like to just walk into a restroom and pee like a regular guy – now I know, and it feels great! Hang in there buddy, you aren’t alone!
Wow! Let me tell you, his response blew me away. One sentence stands out, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
This sentence here is worth rereading:
“My Pee-Buddies were a lot of anonymous guys who never knew I was practicing with them!”
What an incredible eye-opener!
Well said Dave, I applaud you. It certainly makes you think. Just a little shift like this in the way that one perceives things can have dramatic outcomes and results.
I really do love it!
It goes to show you how your mind is adaptive and you can train it to change your thoughts, your behaviors, and your entire future…
It proves that if you change the way that you look at things, alter your negative attitude, and focus on the positive outcomes, you too can overcome anything. Instead of saying “I can’t pee in public“, say “I will successfully pee in public, next to other guys, at a urinal, and I’ll leave the bathroom happy and empty!” It’s all in what you tell yourself. It’s the positive reinforcement that you feed your mind.
And it works to… For Chris replied:
“I never looked at it that way. Yeah, everyone is my Pee Buddy and they don’t know it. I remember when I started this recovery process I told myself that I cannot pee in public bathrooms. Saying that meant I couldn’t use a public bathroom no matter what! So I started to retrain my thoughts. And telling myself ‘you can pee in a public bathroom’ after a few successes. It’s just the situation that I encounter in the bathroom is what makes it hard. So after retraining my thoughts it’s been easier to face the fear! I’m out at the mall and just had a very good success. I was entering the mall. Went to the bathroom. A guy entered right before me. I walk up to a urinal and held my breath a little and peed with someone 3 urinals down from me. Those successful moments make you start to hold your head up high and have confidences that it is possible!! And look at other guys and say yourself I can pee like he does!”
“Awesome Chris! I’m happy to hear that. You are so right, most of the challenge and difficulty is right in our own brains (which triggered another post soon to come). Changing the things we do (forcing yourself to face your fears), and changing our perspective and attitudes (I CAN do this!) can change the entire experience from bad to good. Congrats! Keep up the positive outlook and just keep practicing! :) -Richard”
And I really did think about this a lot. I thought about my own situation, and Mike, my Pee Buddy. I wondered “could I have did this without him?“
The answer is YES!
You see, Mike has helped me greatly at home getting me used to peeing around him. But, when I’m out in public, I don’t pee around Mike.
Generally, I go in the bathroom by myself. So my Pee Buddy doesn’t do much for me outside of the home. He’s there for support and talking to, but I’m still Fluid Loading and forcing myself to walk into the bathrooms alone. Just like Chris is doing by himself.
So do I really need a Pee Buddy?
I don’t think it would change my successes or misfires any. But it does give me an ear to rely on. And that’s a nice thing to have.
So, all in all, I would say yes, you can overcome Paruresis by yourself. You can certainly drink tons of water and make yourself pee in public. So don’t let a Pee Buddy deter you from the recovery process.
It may be a little bit harder alone, but nothing about Paruresis is easy.
And you can definitely reach out to people. Sign up with the IPA Forums, there’s tons of people you could chat with for help. And of course, you can always reach out and chat with me. I’m going through recovery myself, so I know exactly what it feels like. Email me, leave comments, reply, get in touch. I’m here for you. I can be your Pee Buddy! I will support you, and you can support me, and together we will overcome this phobia one day at a time.
And just 2 days ago, Chris left another inspiring comment.
“Yeah I wish I could have a Pee Buddy maybe one day, it’s just so hard to get one because everyone is so busy and probably wouldn’t have time to be around when I pee. But I still like that we secretly use strangers as our Pee Buddies!!
I Just had to give a really good update… Something I have never ever done in my entire life!!! I fluid loaded. Went to the mall. Had a pretty decent size urge. Was walking behind some guy who entered the restroom before me. I then entered the bathroom. There are three urinals, there was another guy using one. So I said you know what, I want to give myself a challenge… I stood between both men. Took a deep breath. Held it a little. I heard the other guy start his stream. Probably 2 seconds after he did, I did.
I couldn’t believe it. In all of my 27 years on this earth I never peed between two grown men at urinals. They had dividers which was an advantage but… I don’t believe it!! It’s like a cloud is lifting from my restrained life I’ve lived. I’m starting to learn that consistency is the key. Everyday after work, fluid load, and hit the restrooms. Keep pushing towards our goals and we will make it!”
THAT’S AWESOME NEWS!
Words cannot express how happy I am for Chris! It’s a powerful emotion that touches the heart of this blogging Paruretic!
WELL DONE BUDDY!!!
So once again, thanks much to Chris and Dave, for opening up and sharing your thoughts and experiences. I really appreciate it.