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Flying High!

Aug 17, 2023 | Success Stories

[Greetings fellow members. The following is an edited and expanded version of a text I had sent to two board members upon my return from a trip abroad. Given the length of the flight, weeks prior to my journey I was feeling apprehensive. In fact just a couple of weeks prior I had lunch with Steve Soifer and I shared my apprehension about my upcoming trip. I am delighted to report that all went surprisingly well.]

Well guys, I have returned from my trip to Italy and I’m happy to report that I had no issues. Incredibly, my secondary paruresis seems to have diminished considerably because by departure day I had almost no anticipatory anxiety about whether I would be successful on the plane. In recent years my flight anxiety had gotten to a 9 on a scale of 0-10. Will I be able to successfully urinate on the flight? This time it was maybe a 1 or 2, meaning I had some anxiety in the airport, which I normally do with checking in, security lines, etc. but I was absolutely confident that I was going to succeed on the 8 hr flight. I think Dan Rocker had me convinced that I was going to be successful without needing the belt, suspenders, and parachute he had me bring, metaphorically, emotionally and literally in my bag! I had my kit, showed my wife at 5:30 AM and I said, “Dan doesn’t think I will need this stuff.” She said, “Well then you probably won’t. And if you do need it, you’ll use it.” The “kit” consisted of the Stadium Pal and these male incontinence guards (brand name TENA). I think it was the TENA things that had me so convinced that things would work out on the plane regardless of what happens. As a result, my usual low level semi-panic rumination was nonexistent. I wound up going three times on each flight, all successful, all standing (I had taken to having to sit in the past 15-20 years, often unsuccessfully). In recent years I would be at my seat on the flight, ruminating about whether I would be able to go, planning the right time to attempt to go, failing to go and coming back to the seat thinking I am going to have to ride out this 7 hr flight, which produced all kinds of tension in my body. On this trip I chose an aircraft that had plenty of bathrooms, which helped me psychologically. On my way back to the US I was in the Naples train station on my way to the Airport to get the short flight up to Milan. They charge 2 Euro to access the bathroom in the Naples train station but for me it was worth it: very clean, not overwhelmingly crowded like the train station was. They had floor to ceiling stalls. Urinating there successfully was important because I had just completed a 2 hr taxi and train trip from south and had had a very large mug of coffee before hand and I sure needed to go. The bathroom at the local train station where I started my journey was closed. So, here I am in Naples train station, full bladder: go for the floor to ceiling stall to ensure success, right? NO. I went to the urinal, good dividers, and NO PROBLEM! Thank you Dan! You’re working wonders. Thanks Steve. Feel free to share this. 😎

Final words. Dan had told me that urgency was my friend. I said, no, no way, I avoid drinking before many events I attend, certainly flights. I was wrong. He also said, practice often. I have, and it’s helped me significantly. Finally, Dan said: Tell people. No, not doing that Dan. Shame. Well, he’s had so much success with himself and others, I figured, take his suggestion, choose safe people and tell some. So I did. And no one had a weird or shaming reaction. In fact, some told me of their own phobias: fear of bridges, claustrophobia, etc. As Dan says, we’ve all got something.

Courtesy longtime member Jim from New York, July 2023

Photo credit: Joshua Woroniecki, pixabay.com



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This website is NOT a substitute for medical or legal advice and does not constitute the practice of law, medicine, psychiatry, clinical psychology, clinical social work, or any other mental health profession. If you are having trouble urinating, you should always contact a physician since difficulty with voiding can be a symptom of a serious medical condition. We are a group of professional people and people who have suffered with paruresis. We have assembled a board and a board of advisors to help people cope with urinary dysfunction that has a psychological or social origin. On this website, we are NOT practicing medicine, psychiatry, clinical psychology, clinical social work or any other mental health profession. You should have your doctor evaluate your condition before diagnosing yourself, and seek the appropriate necessary mental health counseling if warranted. IPA, Inc. disclaims any and all legal liability whatsoever.