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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Progress Report #13 : Lucky for some?

Had a poor showing the last couple of weeks so decided I had to get back in gear and get back into practice.

Attempt 1 :
Spotted a colleague going into the bathroom. Sure enough, at Urinal #3. I take urinal #1, have hesitancy for about 5 seconds. Decide to start a conversation, a couple of seconds into chatting, able to go normally. Success!

Attempt 2 & 3 : Someone comes into the bathroom, I'm able to pee normally. They don't take urinals however. Note to self : Don't waste these opportunities. Failure. Note to self: Stick to the rules!

Attempt 4 : Can't wait any longer. Note to self : Don't empty. Come back later. Failure

Attempt 5 : Someone in stall, someone at sinks. Use urinal. Hear a voice, it's the guy who said "Always uses the stall when I'm talking to him". Satisfying to pee freely while he's washing his hands. Mild Success

Attempt 6 :
Waiting at Urinal#1, someone comes in and takes #2. Had an urgency of about 7/10 but was able to go with only a couple of seconds of hesitancy. A few seconds in someone else comes in and takes urinal #3. Doesn't affect me at all. Success!

Attempt 7 : Walk into bathroom, someone is using urinal 1, I take urinal 3. Again, 2 seconds hesitancy and I'm able to go totally normally. Urgency was 8/10. Success!

Attempt 8 : Walk into bathroom. Couple of guys are having a conversation at the sinks, pretty loud. Urgency about 7/10. Able to go just fine with no hesitation. Mild success

Attempt 9 :
See a colleague going into bathroom ahead of me. He's at the center urinal. I have an urgency of about 6/10. Decide to try anyway. Total failure, unable to start. As soon as he walks away I am able to go. Annoying but I won't let it get to me. Need more focused practice and higher urgency. Failure


Overall not a bad showing. I had a couple of weeks where I didn't make the effort to progress followed by a high-intensity set of failures. This was my come-back attempts. So far though it looks like I didn't fall back as far as I had thought. I'm claiming some success for attempts that weren't 100% to plan because I'm in a fall-back mode, just trying to see where my limit is currently set.

So where am I? It seems that I've got my Shy Bladder beaten back now to the point where I can go freely if there are others in the bathroom but not using the urinal. I don't seem to suffer with anxiety that someone will come in while I'm standing alone in a bathroom either. I still have a long way to go but that's satisying progress.

Have noticed that I'm talking at the urinals more maybe as a cover for hesitancy. That will be something I have to watch, can't become dependent on that since you generally can't chat with strangers at the urinal. Attempt #9 suggests that I still have a problem with side-by-side encounters and low urgency so I'm going to have to go back into the discomfort zone and get back up to 8+/10 urgency (which is the part I hate about the whole process, it's unpleasant). At the same time the fact that I was able to stand there while someone else finished up without burning embarassment suggests that my attitude toward hesitancy is healthier, I know it's not the end of the world now - that alone makes me a better functioning person.

Graduated Exposure Therapy is a process and more art than science. My feeling is that so long as you are making even tiny strides forward it's worthwhile. I've come too far to let things slip back now.

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