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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Progress Report #10 : Keeping up the pressure

In yesterdays post I'd decided to take the center urinal whenever possible and try to desensitizing myself to someone standing next to me. I had mixed but encouraging results. I realized then that I needed to maintain that momentum so I'm sticking with that same plan.

Attempt #1 : Empty bathroom, urgency of 10/10. It was very very tempting to give up to the thoughts running through my mind..
You had a good day yesterday, you made some progress, you can afford to just go now. There's always later for testing yourself...

But I stuck with it. This Graduated Exposure Therapy isn't easy but it is effective. The gain is worth the discomfort.

It was a couple of minutes before someone came in and took the urinal next to me. I was in the center again. I started my flow the moment I heard the door open and didn't experience any anxiety only a relief that I could finally go. As I was finishing up someone else came in and took the other urinal. It was too late to feel anxious then, I'd already finished but probably helped desensitizing me a little. A great start. Lets see if I can keep it up. Success!

Attempt #2 :
Urgency came on very suddenly at about 11/10. I attempted to wait at the urinal for someone to come in but I started to get a pain low in my back on the right side. I've felt this a couple of times before. Decided to listen to my body and release the pressure. Hope this isn't going to plague me, suspect it's just a result of drinking 60 oz of water in a few hours. Failure. This didn't move me forward.

Attempt #3: Went to lunch with some colleagues. Afterward was talking to one of them and I needed to go to the bathroom so I started to walk away. It became clear that he was also headed that way. In the past this would have made me very anxious and I would have had to suddenly realize that I needed to be at my desk or to speak to someone else. But I remembered a time before when I was talking to a co-worker at the urinal and I was just able to go quite naturally. So I went along. We walked into the bathroom, took urinals 1 and 3 (2 was empty) and I was able to go with no anxiety or hesitation. It was as if I didn't have a problem at all. Then another co-worker came in and took urinal #2. We all 3 just carried on chatting. Success!

It may sound corny but I feel like I got a slice of my manhood back again. One of the things that Shy Bladder robs you of is the cameraderie of the mensroom. I wish it was that way every time for me. I am getting better. In the last month I've had more success in the bathroom than I've had in 20 years. I'm going to get free of this thing. I know I'm not cured yet, I have to keep on fighting.

Attempt #4:Entered the bathroom. Someone was just drying their hands. Went to the center urinal and urinated just fine. No anxiety about someone in the room. Strictly speaking a failure because I didn't pee while someone else was at the urinal. I guess I was coasting on success #3. Failure. Again, this didn't really move me forward.

Attempt #5:Headed for the bathroom, urgency of 9/10. Saw someone go in ahead of me. Sure enough, they are at Urinal #3. Would be poor etiquette to take Urinal #2 in this circumstance so took Urinal #1. Peed like I'd been doing this regularly for 20 years. Other guy didn't seem to suspect that I'd taken a 20 year hiatus from using the urinals with others around ;). Wasn't shoulder-to-shoulder but Success none the less. No anxiety, utterly routine and mundane.

Attempt #6:It's the end of the work day and I decide to go to the bathroom one last time before heading home. One problem : I have low urgency, maybe only a 6/10. On the way to the bathroom I see someone else going in. I get a surge of anxiety but I decide I have to face it anyway. I get inside the bathroom and they went to a stall. I'm able to go just fine. Not sure how to classify this one. Didn't follow the rules, so a failure but discovered that urgency is a dimension of my Shy Bladder that I will have to work on. I want to be able to urinate at a crowded urinal if I just "need to go" and not be reliant on painful levels of urgency.

Even after an otherwise good day, I discover new depths to my Shy Bladder problems. I am progressing though, just gotta keep on.

Further reading :

Read what happens next in Progress Report #11

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