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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Can you really be cured of Shy Bladder?

This is a question I ask myself from time to time. As my progress shows you can certainly recover from it, taking back your life through Graduated Exposure Therapy and maybe other treatments. Based on my progress so far I expect to be able to make a full recovery some day (maybe soon).

But what form will that recovery take? My observation of the mensroom tells me that everyone suffers from some hesitancy and everyone has some avoidant behavior. Give a guy a choice of a urinal next to someone else and an open stall and a certain percentage will choose that open stall. I've seen this in action over and over.

With Shy Bladder this hesitancy and avoidance behavior spirals out of control. It's not just sometime, it's all the time.

Do sufferers have a pre-disposition to the condition? If so, can you eradicate the underlying cause or are we simply wired that way? If I cure myself through Graduated Exposure Therapy will I stay cured? Or will I inevitably slide back into it and be forced to confront my Shy Bladder time and time again?

People have reported curing themselves of Shy Bladder. But are these rare cases? I don't know, I'm not sure anyone does. I do know that Graduated Exposure Therapy is working for me and if I do slip back I now have a system to defeat it again.

I've had a couple of great days where it was as if I was free from the condition only to slide back again so I know that just because you think it's over doesn't mean it is. I accept the fact that I am going to have to continue to challenge myself and not allow my avoidant behavior an opportunity to come back in.

Even when I'm symptom-free I suspect it will be easy for me to avoid using a public restroom and "wait until I get home" when at the crowded mall. If I never get that kind of thought again, maybe then I can truly call myself cured.

Further reading

Analysis of recovery stories from Shy Bladder Institute Website.

Analysis of Shy Bladder from an Internet-based study carried out in 2004.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the words of wisdom. I just got back from drinking with a buddy and tried twice to go in the bathroom.

The first time, empty bathroom, I choice the wall stall and could not relax, just kept waiting for someone to come in. Finally gave up when someone did come in.

The next attempt, pretty intense by now, 4 beers and I was dying. Went into the stall to sit down. Usually a fail safe, but this time I felt rushed. My buddy didn't know about this problem so I started feeling that pressure of not taking too long. Oh well, I gave up again.

By this time I ended the beer drinking festivity, saying I had to run home to get some work done. Almost passed out before I finally got home.

What a pain this problem is.

Anonymous said...

I suffered this condition since about the age of 9.The only thing that has helped me is the breath holding technique.It does work. Its best to use in the stalls.Definately helps on airplanes,trains or friends houses etc.

Gilbo said...

I've suffered this condition since Primary school. I can even remember the last time I could pee in a urinal (about 7 or 8 years old). I was peeing when another kid came rushing at me screaming really loudly with a red face and bulging eyes. This reminded me of my father who would rage before beating me. The kid was doing it on purpose (for kicks I suppose, I didn't really know him) and he pushed me into the urinal. It gave me a fright but I handled it and yelled at him to get lost. I remember being disgusted at the thought of getting pee on my hands while trying to stop myself ending up pushed up against the urinal wall.
Anyway, I tried to go again and just as I was letting go the kid ran back in and did it all again! This really annoyed me of course but because it reminded me of my father I became a little intimidated so I used the stall to finish my pee.
After that I just started using the stall all the time. Years go by and at some stage I realised I could no longer pee in front of others (although I can do #2's just fine). I have suffered all the pain and humiliation you can think of. At the age of 25 I became so sensitive that for some months I couldn't even go at home when alone!! My head would fill with negative thoughts and it would take several attempts before I could finally relieve myself. I even became suicidal about it because I knew I was limiting my whole life and considered myself the biggest wimp on earth for my inability to just go pee!
I've been to a phobic clinic. No cure there but like therapy I no longer feel so bad about my issue which is at least life-saving. I've tried hypno-therapy which was mildly effective but nowhere near a cure. I've spent years since just living with it.
Over the past 6 years I've tried my own version graduated whatchamacallit. It has worked to a point. I can now pee in front of my sister and 3 friends (usually).
It's been way too slow going and I'm finally getting fed up with the living with it.
I will go to my doctor next and ask for a referral to a CBT therapist.
I might buy a book about it as well so I can use it as my 'bible'.
I turned 46 last month. If you are young and have this problem, don't wait as long as I have to tackle it head on. GET HELP NOW! and not necessarily here. Do what works for you but DO SOMETHING.

Anonymous said...

The breath holding technique works and I have made a full recovery. This is my procedure. I go into oxygen debt - less breathing in as I start to approach toilet. When about 20 metres away breathe out and hold breath until diaphragm start to pulsate. Enter toilet on the 20th pulsation. On reaching urinal up to 25 or 30 pulsations have occurred. Point it and wait without forcing and stream starts automatically after about 5 seconds. Easy! Works no mater how many others are present. e.g. at the football at half time. Practice the above procedure at home first to master the feeling of the flow automatically starting.