How Can I Overcome and Control My Phobia and Fear of Needing a Toilet in Public?

It is common for people who suffer from various forms of anxiety to feel that they may experience a loss of control of their body functions, due to their anxiety, when out and about in public. Whilst this may sound almost ridiculous to a more calm, and collected person, these fears can literally take over a person’s life for whom fear and anxiety play a substantial part. I would like to point out, however, that more and more often, these are only thoughts rather than facts, where the person is only concerned they may not have any control of their toileting, but actually are fine with it.

To explain this more clearly, these people are usually absolutely fine at home, and have no problem at all. The real issue is they become over anxious outside, and begin to imagine the worst scenarios that may occur.

Having explained the issue, what about the best way to tackle it? I feel the most appropriate way to manage the toilet phobia issue, is to go out, possibly alone, to avoid embarrassment of friends, and so on, and go to a place you know, like your local shopping centre. Then, ensure you know where the wash rooms actually are, and make a point of positioning yourself far away from them, but still knowing where they are, if you should need them. This way, you can concentrate on the next step, whilst putting your anxiety of them being inaccessible, aside.

The best thing to do is ensure that you are aware of the difference of when you actually need to go, because your bladder is full, versus your anxiety telling you that you must go. Given ‘reflective time’, you will know the difference. To explain this point further, it is usually the anxiety of being embarrassed in a public, social situation, instead of you not having control of yourself. Hence, understanding the difference, and practicing in this way, will help you to better manage your anxious thoughts, and in time, overcome them as well.

In the event that you should start to feel apprehensive or feel the fear looming, simply acknowledge to yourself that the fears are OK. By accepting them, they will soon pass. The fear becomes a problem when you actually try to deny it, as it is at that point, that the panic can set in. However, you know you have control of your body, and acceptance of the feelings will speed up their departure.

You may need to practice these ‘outings’ on a regular basis, but the feelings will dissipate and you will find that you can gradually introduce your friends into the social picture, and cope very well.