Paruresis 2

Earlier this week I wrote a post on the effects of Shy Bladder Syndrome on my daily life.

On reflecting on what I had written in that post,  I felt that I had missed a key element of my experience, so here is Paruresis 2!

I am quite sure that my experience of Paruresis is anxiety related, but I am less clear about the origins of that fear.

In my earlier post, I described my anxiety as being an innate element of my own persona which I was not able to overcome as a child.

In my adolescent years, two further factors contributed to my anxiety at perhaps the worst possible time as I transitioned from boy to man.

The first was my own pre-occupation with size. This fear originated in the boisterous exchanges in the male changing rooms which I was unable to deal with.

There is absolutely no problem with the size of my male equipage but I think I believed that there was, and that was an inner belief, coupled with the fear of ridicule which caused me to be anxious on top of my innate anxiety.

Secondly, there was the accusation that men who could not pee in the communal urinals was gay.

I suffered from accusations of being gay at school (an all boys school) from being about aged 13 to 16.

I did not feel at that time that I was gay and in fact I aspired to be married and have children.

There must have been something in my outward disposition and sensitivity which brought me to the attention of the bullies and the result was that:

I failed to thrive;

I failed to explore;

I failed to connect;

and periods of intense anxiety about whether I could succeed in the world were a feature of my life at this time.

As a young adult, now gaining confidence in the company of men in social situations, I would have to feign agreement with the others at the banter that those who could not pee together must be gay.

This banter was a febrile generalization not directed at another, but the effect on me internally was an even greater sense of entrapment within my own anxious state.

I was married with two of my three children before I was able to acknowledge to myself that I was in fact gay. It had taken me nearly thirty years to recognise my truth and it would take a further twenty years for me to confront it and accept it.

I am now equipped with a fuller sense of my identity, I am confident, I successful, I have been able to stay in my marriage, I have three grown up children who are making their way in the world and yet Paruresis persists but I am better able to manage it.

I am quite sure that this condition has nothing to do with being small or gay. It is connected to being anxious and insecure and is a social condition not a sexual one.

It is my hope in relating these insights into my experience that someone, somewhere will be able to be relieved from their own suffering and know that they are not alone.

My next blog will be: I Want You To Make Me Feel Safe

William Defoe



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