Fear is the most limiting of all human experiences. Fear stops you from acting out of free will. It also stops you from realizing your dreams. The only way to beat your fears is to accept them, face up to them and work with “mind tools” to make them a thing of the past. So, don’t give up, accept and keep facing your fears about peeing – it really is the only way to overcome paruresis.
Shy bladder syndrome is officially classified as a form of social anxiety. It’s the fear of peeing when in the presence of others. Over time, if left unchecked, it can develop into deeper and more diverse fears. The fear of public restrooms for example and even eventually the fear of going out and social contact. In very advanced cases, shy bladder syndrome can turn a perfectly normal person into a recluse.
Now, if your dream wasn’t self-actualization away from humanity the chances are your dream will get hampered. And to avoid that you need to be able to overcome the fear.
Keep Facing Your Fears About Peeing
What is fear? Interesting question. Fear is a sense of foreboding, it is an experience of anticipation – but anticipation of the negative. But whatever the fear, it exists only so long as you do not overcome the obstacle. When you’ve overcome it – the fear will naturally subside!
But to overcome any fear you need to face it first. And the same holds true for Shy Bladder syndrome and your fear of urinating in the real or imaginary presence of others. So you have it – and you find it difficult to enter the loo, walk up to the urinal, and then ‘let go’ in the midst of a public toilet. And because you anticipate your inability to pee you gradually learn to avoid these toilets altogether.
Will Avoidance Help To Overcome Your Fears About Peeing?
The answer is, simply, NO! Whilst it may mask over the issue the problem is still there, festering and developing in the background. It’s not until you accept that you have a problem that you can actually start to do anything about it. And, there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of – we all have fears of different kinds. For some it’s the more common fears of spiders, heights, the dentist, flying etc. Your fear just happens to be of peeing when others are around. Don’t forget also just how common this condition is. It’s estimated that around 7% of the population suffer from paruresis … that’s millions and millions of people! It’s just that it’s a condition that’s very rarely openly discussed.
You may struggle to pee when in a public environment but that doesn’t mean you need to stop going or avoid being in this situation. You know it’s not “normal” or rational and you see everyone else going with complete confidence. Don’t let yourself be beaten by this simple, irrational fear – you CAN beat it. So why let shy bladder manipulate you anymore? Take the decision NOW that you’re going to keep facng your fears about peeing and beat them into oblivion!
Steps To Overcome Your Fears About Peeing
There are a number of options available. All different but all effective. Which one will work best for you is going to be personal preference and trial and error.
You’ll need to talk to you doctor about these but there’s absolutely no magic pill that will get rid of your fear. Sure, there are anxiety relieving medications, anti-depressants and alpha-adrenergic blockers that relax the muscle of your bladder but that’s not for us to comment on. Discuss with you doctor and never be tempted to self medicate.
For the vast majority though medication is not needed or prescribed.
Graduated Exposure Therapy.
Graduated exposure therapy is, as the name suggests, about gradually facing up to your specific fear by facing it head on and gradually building up the level of difficulty. It’s a common way of treating many forms of anxiety.
In the case of shy bladder syndrome the first step to overcoming the fear is to visit a quiet, familiar public restroom. Don’t just visit it once but go there over and over again. And when in there try to calming the nerves, and getting yourself to pee. Get yourself used to this relatively comfortable environment before building up to a busier restroom, then a more compact restroom etc.
You get the picture – you’re gradually getting used to increasing levels of uncomfortable environments and building your confidence. We have an article on Graduated Exposure Therapy for Paruresis which you may want to read.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT as it’s abbreviated is known as a “talking therapy” which, by changing the way your mind automatically thinks and reacts can help manage fears of all types. It’s a very popular and effective treatment of depression, anxiety and mental problems and is a proven treatment in the battle against shy bladder syndrome.
In the case of this particular fear a trained CBT therapist will break down the overall fear into smaller parts and work with you to change the negative patterns into rational reactions. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy will very often incorporate Graduated Exposure Therapy and part of the treatment program.
That wasn’t so easy to explain but you can read more in our article CBT For Paruresis.
Breath Hold Technique
It’s thought that, by holding your breath, it’s possible to relax the muscles into releasing a flow. There’s a specific technique to follow and, for some, it’s proven to be very effective.
Sure, you’re not addressing the fear head on but it does result in increased confidence and hence the fear will naturally subside.
If you’d like to find out more you can read or article on Paruresis Breath Hold technique.
Hypnosis is a powerful tool. It’s not to be associated with those “entertainment” hypnotists who put people into a trance with the intention of making them do ridiculous things … that’s not what hypnotherapy is all about at all.
Hypnotherapy works by basically bypassing the conscious mind to get to the powerful unconscious part of the brain. The bit that produces the automatic reactions to situations and circumstances. It will then, in effect, reprogram the sub-conscious to produce a rational reaction – like it used to do before the fear started.
It works really well and, believe it or not, there’s even a specific self hypnosis treatment program specifically for paruresis. It’s aptly called the “Overcome Shy Bladder Syndrome” hypnotherapy session and is available for just a few $s. We explain all about paruresis hypnosis in a separate article.
If, like me, you cant face the thought of discussing your shy bladder with anyone or can’t afford costly face to face therapy you need not give up. There are a number of great self help treatments out there. There’s two I particularly suggest that you may want to check out as I personally found them to be highly beneficial: