Paruresis is defined as a form of social anxiety which leads to the inability to pee in the actual or perceived proximity to others. You might therefore think that social distancing measures, introduced to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, might make things easier for sufferers since we are all being asked to avoid being around others where possible. However, not everyone is able to practice this kind of distancing depending on their circumstances. And not everyone will find being at home – either alone or with others – will make managing their paruresis easier.
From 'lockup' to 'lockdown'
We all know what lockup is – that feeling of needing to pee and not being able to. Now, along with many others we are having to cope with 'lockdown' too. If you struggle to go in your own home either alone or with others, the current situation may be making your paruresis symptoms worse. And remember that a range of concurrent stresses – including the demands of social distancing – are likely to make your paruresis worse. Know that you are not alone and others are also struggling. The charity Mind have put together a fantastic guide to looking after your mental health during lockdown. Have a look at it here and see if you can incorporate some of their tips to help you cope.
Now is not the best time to start or continue to work on combatting your paruresis. If you know what your 'safety behaviours' are (the name we give to the things we do to manage our paruresis) then keep using them! Be kind to yourself and practice what some people call 'self-compassion'. This is a challenging time so don't make things any more challenging for yourself.
The UKPT's response to COVID-19
At the UKPT, we have postponed workshops which were scheduled to take place in Spring 2020. We will continue to review the situation and follow relevant guidance. If you book onto a workshop which is later postponed, we will offer you a place on a future workshop or a refund if you can not make the new date.
The UKPT is still here for you. Please use all of the resources available online including information on living with paruresis or have a look at some of the real-life stories. And don't forget that you can continue to share and connect online via our forum as always – now might be the ideal time to check it out if you haven't before.
The Trust is considering a number of online and virtual reality resources which may help people with paruresis. We will share any we think are worthwhile on our website depending on their suitability.