I have suffered from paruresis for what seems like a life time. When I was younger I played for a professional football club (academy level). The first memory I have of having the problem was not being able to pee in the changing room with others there, (whether it be the coach or fellow team mates). This meant holding a full bladder for a full game or sometimes even faking injury so I didn't have to play. The paruresis got to me that much I ended up quitting and having a big fall out with my parents about it because to them the situation was that, 'i wasn't enjoying it and hated playing football'. I never told them the problem. I never did anything about it at the time because I just thought I was weird. What did I know, I was only 16.
As my late teens and early 20s went by it seemed to get worse and worse and meant I stopped going out with friends as much. I decided to do something about it. After some research I found the UK paruresis trust and messaged Andrew about the beginners workshop. Before going I was very anxious and nervous about the kind of people I would be meeting. However as soon as I walked through the door and was greeted by Ian and Jonathan, I felt much more calm. There were people of all ages there too and they were all nice, understanding, caring people. The beginners workshop was fantastic for self confidence, and I found myself smiling and laughing quite alot. I was so pleased with how everything went I signed straight up to the follow up workshop, which just kicked me on another level. By the end of the follow up workshop I was bypassing strangers who were waiting for cubicles, to go pee in the urinal. One person was even waiting for another space to open up at the urinal because it seemed he didnt want to stand inbetween two people. I walked round him, stood inbetween the two people and did my business. It felt fantastic. 3 months ago, I never dreamed of that situation as it was sometimes hard for me to go in a cubicle with a locked door. As I left the workshop I stopped off at some busy shopping centre toilets not too far from my house. There were 3 urinals with one person at the left and one at the right, leaving the middle urinal free. I walked up nice and confident and did my business. I was so happy I treated myself to a milkshake!
Signing up to the workshop was probably the most daunting thing I have done, and turning up to it was one of the most nerve-wracking. However once you're there it just feels so natural and is such a wonderful environment. If you are a sufferer of AP and are unsure whether to sign up, I strongly urge you do so. It's probably the best thing I have done, and I cannot thank Andrew, Ian, Jonathon and George enough for all their help. I hope the AP sufferers reading this post can take confidence from my story and make the right decision for themselves .
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