Covid and paruresis

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JamesP
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:01 pm

Covid and paruresis

Post by JamesP » Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:10 pm

Hi all

I just wanted to see how covid might be affecting people with paruresis. I consider myself to be at least 90% recovered (thanks to PAA workshops and support group), but it is still something that is always on my mind when I visit a public toilet. My experience with covid has been that I spent most of last year working from home, which is a very comfortable situation for a paruretic! Also, there was much less going out socially and at times that I did go out I found toilets to be pretty quiet and in a few toilets I found that every second urinal was taped off for social distancing reasons - fantastic!

I wonder how people are going now that we're mostly back to normal life. Has this been a shock for some people? Did the lack of opportunity to practice last year set anyone back? Is anyone feeling heightened anxiety due to covid, which may be contributing towards their paruresis also?

One thing I've noticed about myself post covid is that I feel like the new social norm of distancing has made me feel more "normal" about, say, choosing not to stand next to somebody at a urinal and instead using a cubical. Interested to hear other people's thoughts.

Regards
James

eric
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri May 29, 2015 7:46 am

Re: Covid and paruresis

Post by eric » Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:09 am

Hi James,

I see Sydney has gone back into covid lockdown so it is not over yet, unfortunately.

I had badly relapsed before covid, so the reduced social opportunities during the Perth lock-downs have been a un-earnt reprieve. At home I have been distracting myself working on an old car, and at work with fewer people around, the already manageable toilet setup was even a little easier for me.
I often have the situation at work where there is a single cubicle toilet available is near areas where guys are hanging around and talking. I have to learn to avoid audible distractions such as peoples voices, which seem to dominate my attention, when I would prefer to ignore them and go freely. Normally a distraction of my own, such as what I am going to do in the day or after work helps me go, but it seems to be different when the distraction is forced upon me. There is also the urinating noise issue for me, but in some situations at work this not as big a concern as either 'time taken' pressure or the audible presence of others. When I did the Sydney workshop it was good in the graduated exposure to have a stage where guys in the adjacent room were yakking away.

With the Perth practice group long since disbanded, I am not looking forward to tackling the problem again. I know it takes time and courage and it is very easy just to 'avoid' and get by. If there is anybody in Perth wanting to practice let me know.

I hope there aren't too many others developing the problem because of covid.

Cheers, Eric.

JamesP
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:01 pm

Re: Covid and paruresis

Post by JamesP » Wed Aug 04, 2021 7:50 pm

Hi Eric

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think when you're dealing with an anxiety condition like paruresis any reprieve is a welcome one!

Interesting point about the difference between the unhelpful "distraction" of voices outside and your own helpful distractions. I would also find people talking nearby to heighten the anxiety rather than be a useful distraction. I think it is just a reminder that there are people present and this fuels our counter-productive thoughts such as "they will notice if I'm in here longer than I should be" or "what if they talk about me?" I've experienced those thoughts. If they are particularly boisterous or macho in their tone that in itself can be unsettling. Although in reality if people are chatting away they are less likely to be aware of what is going on around them. It might help to replace the counter-productive thoughts with more productive thoughts like this.

Yes it does take time and courage, and most paruretics I know have had periods of regression, myself included, but making it to a Sydney workshop is a huge effort so you're obviously motivated. I hope you can find a pee buddy in Perth.

Take care,
James

eric
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri May 29, 2015 7:46 am

Re: Covid and paruresis

Post by eric » Fri Sep 10, 2021 9:34 am

Hi James,

Thanks for your support.

I was thinking how the condition is a social anxiety, or even social phobia, and that in ways it has similarities to COVID. With COVID the body's (automatic) immune system overreacts to a foreign body (virus) which it detects as a major threat. This overreaction can trigger body responses that can fill the lungs with fluid and kill the victim. But apparently, for some people, their immune systems don't 'panic' and it deals with the virus in a more sustainable manner.

I am slowly realising that feeling comfortable, trusting and feeling safe in my surroundings are the core reasons for my paruresis problems. The distraction tactic of thinking about what I am doing next, after work, or on the weekend are all methods of putting my mind at ease, so I can relax enough to go. Getting back to the pre-paruresis mode of not giving the ability to pee a second though is my dream goal, but it is a matter of building confidence and trust. I think friendship and/or knowing and accepting yourself would be key in tackling this problem.

If there is anybody in Perth wishing to meet for mutual support please contact.

Regards,
Eric.

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