I thought I was starting to get a handle on my Paruresis. I thought that I was learning breath holding. I thought that I was making progress and the future was bright.
I was wrong!
Tonight was the perfect example. I went to the movies with a friend. We saw “The Woman in Black“. It was a pretty good movie, made me jump in my seat quite a few times.
But before all that began, I had to use the bathroom. I did my normal routine of “You get the popcorn, I have to pee“.
It usually always works. I head to the theater restroom. And as I’m walking in, a little kid comes running out. I almost ran into him and knocked him over. “Watch where you’re going…“
I enter the public bathroom (which is a first in months for me). There are only two stalls in the room. One small corner stall (the one I always grab), and a larger handicapped stall.
And as soon as I walk in, I notice only one other person in the entire john…
And he’s in the corner stall taking a shit.
I froze up for a second, not knowing what to do. This is a bad, bad situation for me. The stalls are side by side…
I go into the handicapped stall and lock the door.
I decide I would try the breath holding technique and see where it gets me.
I’m watching the guys feet move. I’m hearing him clear his throat. He’s wiping his ass…
And all the while I’m just standing there trying to get my stream going and of course, I can’t!
I close my eyes. The bathroom is ultra quiet other than him stirring.
My heart is racing outta control. I tried to hold my breath multiple times but my anxiety is so high and so strong that I can’t hold it for very long.
The longest I can hold it is like 10 seconds…
I know it’s no use.
I stand there for 3 awkward minutes. Just us. The silence was killing me.
Finally the guy finishes, gets up, flushes, adjusts his pants and belt and leaves the stall.
I’m still standing real quiet, eyes closed, hoping he won’t look through the 1″ crack in the door…
He walks to the sink, washes his hands and leaves.
I’m alone at last!
Only then am I able to pee. I don’t go much, but I did go.
I kept expecting someone else to enter the bathroom, but no one else did.
Just me, going slowly, peeing tiny amounts at a time.
I finally stop, zip up, wash my hands and leave.
My friend was just finishing up at the counter. I hold my popcorn (extra butter), while he then goes in to the bathroom and pees (he’s fast, 2 seconds and boom, he’s done).
And as I’m standing there waiting with my back up against the wall, I look across from me and notice a guy sitting on a bench. He’s reading a brochure. And as I glance at him, I look down and notice his shoes…
He’s the crapper!
And as I look back up, he’s staring directly at me…
It was a look of “I know you! I couldn’t finish pooping, because you couldn’t finish peeing!”
Weird stuff runs through my head.
So YES, tonight was a failure in the fact that I couldn’t pee in the bathroom with another guy, and it was also a failure because I was so anxious that my breath hold wouldn’t work…
But then again, it was a success because I DID pee!
Only because I was alone though… But I peed!
And that’s the most important thing to me.
Failure or Success?