Reply: Trying to pee at work

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Topic History of: Trying to pee at work

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  • andrew

Hi David.

Very glad you got in touch. You seem to have got yourself into a vicious circle, let’s see how we can break out of it. As the main trigger of anxiety is time pressure, what about testing if the time pressure actually exists. What you could do is, when you do NOT need a pee, go to the cubicle and stay there say two minutes. When you come out, see what reaction there is if any.

Anxiety is also triggered by worrying that someone will comment, and not wanting to admit to shy bladder being the reason. So in this situation arm yourself with a reply that sticks close to the truth but gives little away e.g. “Sometimes it seems to take me a long time to get started; don’t know why.” Say it in the same tone of voice you would use to say you were a bit constipated. Don’t evade, or justify, just shrug your shoulders. Having that reply ready may ease your anxiety a bit; especially if no-one comments.

If that test went OK, do it again, just to confirm it to yourself.

Once you realise you can allow yourself a suitable length of time, actually going for a pee should be easier. If someone comes in while you are there, wait them out; they can only pee for so long say 20-30 seconds. After they have left, that leaves you plenty of time to get started yourself.

About reducing fluid intake. After the above has shown you can allow yourself time, I suggest your return to drinking normally, but don’t try going when you get a twinge. Relax your body, especially your belly, take a couple of slow deep breaths. Wait until you have a strong but not uncomfortable urge. That should make to easier to start a flow.

Let me know what you think of this.
And BTW seriously think about getting onto a workshop; it is a safe place to get over these fears.


  • David

I've been doing regular gradual exposure for the last year and have got to a point where I can usually pee in a cubicle with people either side of me but I've just started a new job and found that I can't go in the same situations and that I have to find an empty bathroom in order to pee. The fact that it's a co-worker in the bathroom makes me lock up as well as the biggest thing for me which is time pressure as I'm currently in training so I feel I need to be quick as everyone knows I've left the room to pee which makes it harder, I'm therefore finding myself not drinking so I don't have to pee and worrying about it constantly thinking I need to pee even if I don't, I just don't know how to get over this hurdle. Am I making it worse by avoiding fluids? Thanks, David

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