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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

How Shy Bladder started for me

One of the suggestions in the book is to write down your history of shy bladder and how you feel about it. Doing so can help you discover some things about your condition that perhaps you didn't know or hadn't thought about before.

Do you remember the first time you experienced shy bladder?

At 16 I was taken to hospital with severe abdominal pains. The docs thought it was acute appendicitis but they wanted me to give a urine sample to test.

I couldn't do it. I was left in an emergency room with only shower-curtain type screens to shield me from the rest of the E.R. They were kind enough to run the faucet but I just wasn't able to go. Eventually they catheterized me.

They say that catheterization is painful but I don't remember it hurting at all, compared with the abdominal pain at least.

Some years later I was drinking in a pub with a group of friends. We went to the bathroom as a group and I experienced TBF (Total Bathroom Failure). My friends teased me about it a little but I don't feel it was a big trauma. Certainly not enough to put me off peeing in public for life.

Since then I haven't been able to use a urinal in a public restroom unless I was alone in the bathroom and the chances of someone else entering the room were very low.

This was a curse through my college years since trying to find a quiet bathroom in a crowded club or bar is near impossible.

Slowly but surely my condition worsened to the point that I could only go in a stall while sitting down.

One day, on a whim, I decided to do a web search on Shy Bladder and discovered that I wasn't alone. This changed my world. I'd thought I was the only one who suffered with this problem (something most Shy Bladder sufferers think). I learned that Shy Bladder was a known medical condition with the name "Paruresis". I knew my enemy and I felt empowered to do something about it.

I bought the book and decided to follow the steps outlined for Graduated Exposure Therapy. That led to my first plan and from there, I hope, an eventual cure.

Update : A month or so after writing this I review my progress. I've progressed to being able to use the Urinal in a widening set of circumstances through the application of Graduated Exposure Therapy. I am winning!

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