844-I-CANT-PEE (422-6873) getinfo@paruresis.org

Pee Shy Film Blog

Dec 20, 2023 | Advocacy, Success Stories

Hi everybody! Some of you may have heard about my film project from Tim, or maybe seen the rough (rough!) draft of my Kickstarter fundraising video that’s been making the rounds.   

Either way, I’ll start from the beginning: I’m Steven Jackson, I live in Portland, Maine, and I’ve had a shy bladder for most of my life. I should say from the outset that I am one of the lucky ones. My paruresis is not debilitating. I can fly on a plane. I can usually find a workable restroom in public places – it’ll just take me a while. Still, over the years it has been a huge source of stress, shame and missed opportunities, and a daily reminder that something is not quite right here – that I’m defective in some small but profound way.  

About a year ago, I finally decided to do something about it. I was going to learn as much as I could about this weird condition of mine, talk to experts and fellow sufferers to understand how it shows up in the lives of others, and try all the techniques and interventions to overcome it. I would also make a short film about the whole thing. I’m a documentary maker by trade, and I thought this would be a fun and worthwhile side project that would also help keep me accountable in my recovery process. And maybe the film itself would lead to a better, more nuanced understanding of paruresis in the wider world. 

I started my journey in January of this year with an IPA virtual workshop led by Dan Rocker and Tim Pyle, where I met a great group of guys and experienced my first graduated exposure practice sessions. Since then, I’ve been researching like crazy, filming interviews, and continuing to practice in public with the help of my friend, cameraman, and honorary pee buddy, Alex Lewis. And perhaps most importantly, I’ve started telling people about my paruresis. It’s no longer a shameful secret; instead it has become my project, something I actually want to talk to people about. 

I’m sure you’ve heard the disclosure gospel before, as I had, but to experience it is something else. Every time I tell someone about my paruresis, the shameful secret feels further away. Shockingly, many people reply that they also have a shy bladder, or have dealt with it in the past. Sometimes it leads to a wider discussion about mental health, anxiety, human frailty, etc. (great dinner party conversation!). Without exception, being vulnerable in this way has helped me tremendously, opened up worthwhile conversations, and brought me closer to the people in my life. 

I know extreme vulnerability (borderline exhibitionism you might say) isn’t everyone’s bag. I certainly never thought it was mine. So I hope that by putting my story out there, and shining a light on paruresis in general, my film will poke some holes in the stigma and invisibility of paruresis, and make it a little easier for everyone suffering in silence to find some peace – whatever that looks like for each individual.  

The IPA has been a huge help every step of the way, both in terms of the documentary project and (most importantly) my own recovery. This February I’ll be attending my first in-person IPA workshop in Boston where Steve, Tim and Dan have graciously allowed me to film. The comfort of my fellow attendees is top priority – I’m not in the business of “outing” anyone or hampering anyone’s healing. But I hope to capture some of the magic of these weekend workshops, and a glimpse of the support community that has grown around paruresis. Maybe I’ll see you there! 

If you have any questions or comments about my project (or if you’re local to the Portland area and are looking for a pee buddy) get in touch! You can reach me at sbrokawjackson@gmail.com




P.O. Box 21237
Catonsville, MD 21228

You Are Not Alone.
There Is Help For You!

Shy Bladder, Bashful Bladder, Pee Shy


Monday - Friday
10:00am - 6:00pm (ET)

844-I-CANT-PEE (422-6873)
443-315-5250 Office

Email: getinfo@paruresis.org

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.