I'm a middle aged Paruresis sufferer who has had A.P for 20 years.
My A.P had been really annoying me the past few months and had gotten worse at home. You see, A.p can affect you no matter what surrounding's you are in. I needed help. I needed support.
An email came through informing me of the next workshop and after emailing Andrew Smith i booked my place on the course.
Now... there was no turning back. I wasn't in a trap, i was in a commitment. A commitment not just to Andrew but a commitment to myself to TRY and get better but NOT fully recover because it would be too early at this stage to have that kind of expectation.
Workshop day: i entered the meeting room to be pleasantly greeted by tutors Ian and Jonathan.
I sat down and saw the tables were prepared together for four other men and i was the first to arrive.
I was happy that i was going to be in the company of my fellow A.P counterparts very soon and that the workshop would begin.
They all arrived shortly after, one by one. An elderly Patrick Mower look-alike, a young Parisian, a middle aged man, and another young man. You see, A.P affects men from all over the U.K and the World no matter what age.
I felt no shame or embarrassment that these strangers were going to know of my A.P but what i did feel was that we were all in the same boat and we were about to sail together like comrades for the weekend with a non-judgemental guidance by Jonathan and Ian and a non-judgemental attitude to each other.
Over the course of the workshop we were skilfully structured by Jonathan and Ian through a very well orchestrated and non-invasive timetable which helped me pay attention.
One of my concerns about attending a A.P workshop before was that i have learning difficulties and that contrary to belief in this group (inside joke!)I have trouble remembering anything so would i get anything from it?
Not to worry too much it seemed because we had paperwork to refer to in front of us as our tutors went through it at a steady pace on a whiteboard (you get to take this paperwork home with you so don't worry about memorising as you can refresh your mind at home or even take the paperwork out with you in a bag or rucksack so the information is at your fingertips).
During the workshop we could participate as much or as little as we felt comfortable with and were put under no pressure at any time.
Ian and Jonathan identified when i was ahead of myself and advised me on what step they felt i was at and should be taking next.
This helped me to slow down and we worked through the process together.
The tutors and A.P sufferers all got on well and worked well with each other and also used their own initiatives to try and help one another.
I am so glad i attended the workshop and met everyone who was there.
We should all be pleased with ourselves.
You have nothing to lose by attending a workshop but something to gain in one or more of these steps.
My action plan has begun...