Dave (a fellow Recovering Paruretic), and I have emailed each other about our Shy Bladder journeys. If you remember from previous posts, Dave is an IPA support group leader in Wisconsin…
But, more accurately he says:
“I am currently the group leader for Wisconsin, and as such I set up monthly group meetings for the purpose of sharing and graduated exposure practice, I provide individual assistance as a pee-buddy, and I maintain a monthly online update so that guys who cannot attend meetings can still participate in a group experience. My sign-in name for the IPA Talk Forum is david53, and you are welcome to read through my posts if you are interested in my journey in recovery.”
In more email communication with Dave, something else came up that really made me stop and think.
Dave said to me:
“One of the best things about recovery is that I am no longer embarrassed or ashamed about having Paruresis. I have come to fully accept that Paruresis is not a definition of who I am, it is simply a condition that I have, so sharing things about it with others is not of concern at all.”
For which I responded…
“I still have only told my best friend (and the whole wide web), who’s my Pee Buddy about my condition, none of my other friends or family know. So I guess I am still ashamed about it.”
And Dave replied:
“You will know when the time is right for you open up to friends about your condition – that is a personal decision which I completely respect, so please do not think that I was implying anything when I discussed my own recovery.
I have tremendous respect for your willingness to share your experiences on the World Wide Web because posting about your deepest fears, even though you may not know the readers, is a personal risk that most guys with Paruresis would never consider taking. You said that you have personally only shared with Mike and none of your other friends, but I would suggest that friendships come in many different forms.”
I thought about that, and I realized that yes, it’s so true!
I am still ashamed and embarrassed about my Shy Bladder. For only one person in my entire life, Mike, my Pee Buddy and best friend. knows about me and my secret phobia.
Sure, I have this Shy Bladder Blog which I’ve opened myself up to the entire web, but it’s not the same. I’m still anonymous on here (Although I am an IPA Forum Member… a.k.a. PeeShyRichard). People only learn my first name. So my true identity is still hidden just like my Paruresis.
So I ask myself, am I really recovering?
Am I ever going to be fully cured? Can I be when I can’t even fully accept it myself? Come to terms with who I really am? I am Pee Shy. That doesn’t mean I’m a bad person, or even a weird person. It just means I’m a little bit more sensitive than other people. So why is it so hard to open up? Let my friends and family see who I really am? This is part of the curse! Part of this shyness that has haunted me my whole life.
Would it help my condition if I told them?
Let everyone know that I’m scared to pee around other guys? Or would that just make matters worse?
It really is a good question. I’ll probably never know the answer. Because I like who I am right now. I like where I am in my recovery process. I feel like I’ve come a long way.
This entire year I’ve been able to pee in urinals, in bathrooms, next to other guys, and that’s something that I was never able to do ever before!!! And it still blows my mind to even think about. I was so terrified of peeing in a urinal. I couldn’t even step up to one. And now look at me…
I’m doing it!
So ultimately, whether my friends know or not, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the outcome. The end result.
Some of my friends probably wouldn’t care. In fact maybe none of them would. But I’ll bet you it would come up in conversations a lot. And that could get embarrassing. It would draw more attention to me and my bathroom visits (“Oh look, there he goes…”), make me even more self conscious. Sure, they would try to help me, but I fear they just wouldn’t understand. Not many people can comprehend the fact that you can’t naturally pee when you need to. People will say “just ignore it”, “don’t think about it”, “drink more water”, “jump up and down”, “use the stalls”, “multiply”… And the worst…
“Do you want me to come with you???”
People naturally want to help. But what they don’t realize is that there really isn’t much they can do. Everything that needs to be done, is inside of myself.
Because 99% of Paruresis is mental, not physical!
It’s changing my thoughts, which then changes my actions.
So am I still ashamed?
Sure! And I probably will be until the day I die. But I’ll tell you one thing, I’m not going to let it stop me, nor slow me down. I’ll keep practicing, keep desensitizing, and never give up.
Because I’m determined… I want to win!
Maybe one day I will share my secret. But until then, I’m going to Fluid Load and force myself to enter the men’s bathroom.
No one else needs to know, just me, and you, and 1000 guys in the bathroom who have no clue.
Sounds like a plan, Stan!
Don’t you think?