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Have yourself a stress free Christmas

Have yourself a stress free Christmas

Christmas can be a wonderful time of joy and celebration. Traditionally families get together, children look forward to Santa's visit, and Christians celebrate the nativity – you don't need me to point all this out.

You probably also don't need me to point out that some people find Christmas very hard. Family relationships may not be as peaceful as they are in the TV adverts. People may be stretched financially and can't afford to buy the presents they'd like to be able to give, or afford the Christmas food they'd like. Some people may be spending Christmas alone, perhaps for the first time. Others may not have a roof over their head at Christmas, and many people find their mental health challenged by the expectations of a glowingly idyllic Christmas.

But what about if you have paruresis, aka shy bladder syndrome?

You quite probably have a mental list in your head of places and situations that feel "safe" for you to be able to pee. Shops where you're familiar with the toilets and can manage, as long as there are not too many people around. Friends and family you can visit knowing where their toilets are, where you can manage, as long as there are not too many people around. If you're travelling, perhaps service stations where you can use the toilet facilities, again, as long as there aren't too many people around. But of course it's the run up to Christmas, so there will inevitably be lots of people around!

Your instinct may be to stay at home and avoid any risk that you will be unable to pee in less than ideal circumstances. You will survive, but it could mean you may not have such a great Christmas.

Why not try to get out and about? Visit a shopping centre. Go for a cup of coffee so that there will be something in your bladder. Then visit the toilet. People will be far too busy to notice you going into the toilet, far too busy to notice how long you take, far too preoccupied to listen out for the sound of you peeing. Most big shopping centres have rows of cubicles – go in one, take your time, make yourself as comfortable as you can, try to relax. If you manage to pee, great. If you don't, well at least you tried and nothing terrible happened.

It's the same principle if you visit other people's homes. They will be so full of Christmas spirit (perhaps literally!) to notice you going to the toilet, so go in the knowledge that you can be as long as it takes, and once that stress is removed you might just be able to pee.

Whatever happens at Christmas, it's closely followed by that other stressor – New Year. But however you spend that time, why not consider getting to grips with your paruresis in 2024? Most people who have paruresis have developed lots of poor toilet habits – you may not even be aware of them. So make 2024 the year you develop some healthier toilet habits. Maybe consider attending a paruresis workshop.

Visit the UKPT website for more information. Find out how other people have overcome their paruresis. And maybe next Christmas you'll be able to view life in a whole new way.

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Friday, 14 June 2024

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