When you suffer from paruresis (or shy bladder syndrome), the everyday activity of going to the toilet can turn into a minefield. Many sufferers avoid having to use public or shared bathrooms by cutting down on how much they drink or making an extra effort to time bathroom visits carefully so that they are the only ones using it.
But paruresis might have affected your career choice in the first place. When an issue seems insurmountable, a person may make decisions (conscious or not) about the job they do.Home working
If a job means someone can work part-time or full-time from home, it is obvious that will appeal to anyone who suffers from paruresis as it removes the stress of shared bathrooms. Some jobs allow people the flexibility to work from home some or part of the week, but it does depend on the job and the employer.
Nowadays, far more people choose the contractor or freelance route which often means working from home, but it depends on your skill set, the demand for what you do and your ability to find contracts and work.Office working
Toilets in offices vary widely and it is easy to see why many paruresis sufferers find them challenging. Depending on the age or condition of a building, toilets might have been added on the cheap and their walls wafer-thin or the rooms shared by many different offices. At the interview stage, a person who struggles to use public toilets might find him or herself checking out the building's toilet facilities, whether consciously or unconsciously.Jobs that do not make the most of your potential
Paruresis can cause a great deal of mental anxiety and stress. If worrying about the toilet situation at your workplace takes up a lot of your time and attention, it can be hard to give 100 per cent to your job. And that can be upsetting in itself. If you are seeing other people getting ahead or accepting tasks or projects you need to turn down, this can lead to feelings that what you are doing is not fulfilling.
Again, whether you are aware of it or not, paruresis can lead to people making job choices where they choose to work in isolated circumstances or opt for jobs where they do not have many or any colleagues. For some people, this choice will work but for others it can compound feelings of isolation and loneliness.
If you think paruresis has affected your job choices, remember it is possible to get help. You can speak with medical professionals, find support from other sufferers via our forums or attend workshops which will supply you with some of the practical tools and techniques that help.