I have two Masters Degrees and am successful in life. Great wife, job, kids. . . I have it all. I however have been controlled by one specific anxiety my whole life. This group helps and is doing very important work with very meaningful consequences for millions of people like me. In my situation, drug testing, which is required, is my worse nightmare even though I have never done any drugs in my life. anyway, this is a great nonprofit.
For over 40 years, I suffered from the damaging effects of Shy Bladder Syndrome (paruresis). I simply could not urinate at will when I needed to, no matter how hard I tried.
The serious emotional toll that was exacted was just as debilitating as the physical discomfort. My daily life became severely restricted: I constructed it around the presence or absence of bathroom facilities - and the people I might encounter in them. I missed out on all kinds of life-affirming activities and opportunities.
Over the course of many years, I consulted with a host of urologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers. No person or technique helped because the nature of my condition was misunderstood.
In 1997, I made a startling discovery that ultimately changed the course of my life. I located an Internet-based Discussion Forum that is now operated by The International Paruresis Association (IPA). Here I found others with my symptoms - people who communicated and commiserated about this condition. I felt as if I had just found a lifeboat full of survivors from the same nightmare.
Supported by members and leaders of the IPA, I began a journey toward a goal of complete recovery from paruresis.
I learned that Shy Bladder Syndrome could effectively be treated through exposure-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. I enrolled in two workshops that the IPA sponsored and at each made tremendous progress, step by step. Armed with new-found confidence and dedication, I continued to practice many of the exercises I learned - over and over. Instead of avoiding bathrooms, I confronted them head on. Gradually, I won my battle over paruresis, to the extent it no longer controls my life.
I am eternally grateful to the International Paruresis Association, which, for over 20 years, has helped those who are afflicted with and affected by Shy Bladder Syndrome. Operated by a small group of professionals and primarily staffed by a core of hard-working volunteers, the IPA has helped thousands of men and women realize a difference in their lives through its workshops, newsletters, websites, counseling sessions, research and outreach.
As someone who suffered from a severe case of shy bladder syndrome for 40+ years, I didn't know who else to turn to. All the professionals from whom I had sought help had failed me, and the people in my life, while supportive, didn't know what to say or do to relieve the constant and heightened anxiety I felt each time I entered a bathroom. My life had become increasingly limited because of my condition. Then, back in 1997, I discovered the IPA, then in its infancy stages. Suddenly I found others with my symptoms who commiserated and communicated. I went on to take two IPA-sponsored workshops, practiced the exercises that were taught to me there, and gradually recovered. As a result, I regained my life. What more could one ask? At the same time, I developed meaningful and longstanding friendships with many of those people who are either fellow sufferers of paruresis or equally dedicated to helping people recover from this debilitating condition.