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Expect the unexpected!

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Life sometimes throws us a curveball. Things can be drifting along, much as they always do, and suddenly circumstances change making you take an unplanned step outside your comfort zone. Maybe a family emergency means you have to make an unplanned long train or plane journey. Maybe you get called to do jury service, or to give evidence in a court case. Maybe you suddenly find yourself admitted to hospital. Maybe your house is flooded and you have to take refuge somewhere unfamiliar. Maybe you get arrested…. It can happen! Circumstances like this can be challenging for anyone. But for someone with paruresis (shy bladder syndrome) it can be especially difficult.

People with paruresis frequently organise their lives around being able to use what they feel are 'safe' toilets – ones which they feel they will be able to use. As long as they can control their toilet situation they are likely to feel they can manage. But when life presents an unexpected situation where the toilet facilities are unknown, it can add an extra layer of stress to an already difficult situation.

You never know when things like this may crop up so it's difficult to be totally prepared. But some of the following might help.

  • It can be difficult to explain paruresis to others, especially if you're anxious. But you could keep one of UKPT's leaflets about paruresis tucked discretely into a bag, rucksack or briefcase to do the explaining for you. This could be especially useful if you find yourself, for example, in hospital or a police cell. You should hopefully find staff sympathetic to your predicament once they know about it.

  • If you are called to do jury service or to appear in court, you can contact the court beforehand to ask about the toilet arrangements. Don't be afraid to say that you need to use an accessible (disabled) toilet. They generally offer a higher level of privacy and better facilities than standard toilets. And people often spend longer in an accessible toilet so you may feel less time pressure.

  • Train and plane journeys offer particular challenges. For help with flying when you have paruresis, visit https://www.ukpt.org.uk/living-with-paruresis/paruresis-and-flying. Many of these ways of coping will also apply to trains.

If you haven't been on a UK Paruresis Trust workshop yet, maybe this is something you need to seriously consider, to help you to prepare for the unexpected. Visit https://www.ukpt.org.uk/paruresis-workshops to find out more.

If you value reading our blog posts, please subscribe so that you don't miss any. Your comments are always welcome too, and may just help someone else in a similar situation to yours.

The Telegraph - Agony Uncle
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Saturday, 20 April 2024

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