Coping with AP

Starting to cope with AP - Ten steps to taking charge

Recognising there is something you can do to start taking charge of this, you have already done this by finding this site. This for some people is an anxious process, starting to recognise there is a problem and taking the first steps to find solutions.
Finding out you are not the only one. On the forum you will find again and again that others claim they felt alone and had no one to talk to or share his/her anxieties with. Well, no longer!
Recognising it is most likely to be an anxiety thing. For most professionals interested in this area they consider it to be a type of social anxiety; such as fear of going into a lift, or of flying, or of public speaking etc. It is an anxiety response to an irrational fear which stops you from doing things you would like to do; things that most people don't find difficult. You might feel stupid about this and try to hide your responses. You put on a mask to disguise the person you really are. You find excuses to avoid the situation that worries you, or excuses to not tell anyone in case they think you are weird or stupid.
Telling someone (partner, best friend etc) – yes this sounds impossible but it works. Many people find this difficult to do, but once they have taken this first step in self-control they get a real sense of relief – to be able to stop putting on the mask and getting on to an honest relationship with someone you trust and/or love. Just start to tell the people that need to know and.give them a chance to love and trust you as well. You will be surprised at the amount of understanding you will get. See breaking the silence barrier on Case Studies.
Consider going to your GP or medical centre to tell them about the problem. Not all medics understand about this. Take some information from this website with you. Tell them that they can get information through here from professional people who have researched and published on this topic in respectable journals. Ask the GP to refer you to a urologist for an examination to make sure that there are no contributory physical problems.
You can also ask for a referral to see a psychologist. That does not mean you are crazy, but realising that the best help often comes from someone experienced in dealing with anxieties of all types. They can help by taking you through the stages designed to help overcome your fears. You can of course go and see one privately. For help in finding a recognised psychologist you can visit the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy website; or you can visit our list of approved BACP therapists who have either treated someone with paruresis or who have expressed an interest in the subject.
In time, meet other people who have paruresis. The best way is to attend a UKPT weekend workshop. That will help you to realise that your problems are not unique to you; and it is a big relief to talk to people who understand from their own experiences what you have been going through.
Develop a "can do" attitude. Positive thinking is very important. Because of one problem, some people can start feeling negative about themselves and getting to the position where everything is hopeless. They then feel totally helpless. You again are now beyond that point by visiting this site! Keep on the process and start trying to feel confident about yourself, in all situations.
One of the things that you will learn from the professional therapists and the fellow AP sufferers is that a step by step approach called de-sensitisation is one that often is the most successful in dealing with this type of anxiety and all phobias. That is, you take small steps towards a long-term goal. You plan these steps or stages and practice coping with them a little at a time. You don't move on until you feel comfortable at this stage and are then ready to take on the next stage. Practising exposure to the situation in very small steps, starting at a point you can cope with is called de-sensitisation. You can read up about it on the forum, and it is well described in Steve Soifer's book, Shy Bladder Syndrome. If you read the forum postings you will see there that people talk about de-sensing, that is the using the desensitisation processes
If you can, try to attend a Beginners Workshop – they are held at present approximately every four months, alternating between Reading and Manchester. Watch the blog or follow us on Facebook or twitter for announcements, and details are on our Workshop Listings page.

The UK Paruresis Trust is pleased to launch its report of a survey into the effectiveness of UKPT workshops based on participants’ feedback and their subsequent progress in overcoming paruresis. Click here to download the PDF version.
Now look at the page on Components of a CBT based approach.

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