Having looked at the forums and known about the UKPT workshops for around five years, I finally built up the courage to attend a beginners workshop last week.
So many people seem to say this of the workshops that it seems like a bit of cliche, however, it is true. I do wish I had done this earlier.
I have suffered from AP for nearly 20 years. I have always tried to make sure that it does not affect my life, but it does. The anxiety of going somewhere new where the toilets may be difficult for me, always watching to see who goes in and out so I can pick a less busy time, awkwardly queuing for a cubicle in busy bars and nightclubs when I wish I could use a urinal. I am sure many people reading the forum can identify with what I describe.
When I was about to walk into the workshop I was very anxious, however, I needn't have been. Everyone else there was in the same boat, and our workshop leader quickly put me at ease. My experience at the workshop was overwhelmingly positive. I learned a lot about how paruresis works and by the end of the weekend I had successfully used urinals ten times, which is something I did not think I would be able to do. Importantly no one is ever made to do ANYTHING that they not comfortable or confident in doing. It really is a safe and caring place, so please do not be put off by thinking you will be thrown out of your comfort zone.
To people who may be in the same position as I was, reading this post and then thinking 'I can't do this now' or 'maybe I will do this in future', I would urge you to save the five years I wasted. Honestly the worst thing that can happen is that you will learn more about AP (knowledge is power!).
Everyone has their problems in life. The difference is that some people choose to try and do something about their problems, whilst others wait for something or someone to take care of them instead. I fell into the second camp for a very very long time. Now, with the help of UKPT, I have moved into the first camp and that makes me genuinely happy.
Through the beginners workshop I have seen that AP is something that I CAN take control of if I really want to. Thank you to the workshop organisers and other participants, you really made it an easy weekend for me to face up to my PA.