Dave's Story

My Recovery From Phobic Level Shy Bladder

Baby picture of Dave

My name is Dave, and I was born with a "shy bladder".

It was an inconvenience that required me to have more privacy, more time, and sometimes a different restroom in order to whiz.

Dave age 9

By the age of 10 I was avoiding occupied school restrooms. Emptying my bladder was becoming more difficult.

Avoidance sensitizes you further. I spiraled downward in a vicious cycle of worsening avoidance and increased sensitization.

At first, urinals weren't an option, then standing in stalls wasn't an option, then sitting in stalls wasn't an option. Ultimately, if there was any way possible, I wouldn't even enter a restroom.

...and yes, I did get beat up a lot because of that bow tie.

Dave age 18

Long before the age of 18, I became deeply embarrassed and vowed to NEVER reveal my secret to ANYONE.

Where will I pee? That question dominated my life.

Career, dating, travel, social events, all controlled by an overwhelming fear of being trapped with a bursting bladder.

I no longer had "just" a shy bladder. I now had phobic level shy bladder.

At least I had hair.

Dave age 51

For over 30 years I avoided medical tests requiring a urine sample.

I avoided employment that required urine based drug testing. I didn't use drugs, but I couldn't pee in a cup on demand to prove it.

On a desperate day in April 2006, at the age of 51...I discovered I wasn't alone. There was a growing online community of people like me.

The medical term for phobic level shy bladder is "paruresis". People with paruresis are "paruretics". My recovery began.

Dave Wearing Shy Bladder, So What Tee Shirt

I vowed NEVER to hide my shy bladder or paruresis again.

I realized that it's just shy bladder plus extreme sensitization and I worked hard to overcome decades of avoidance and sensitization.

It worked!

I began Paruretic.Org while deep in recovery. It continues today with the hope that my experiences, techniques and opinions will help others.