Forests, Trees, and Public Restrooms

Sometimes, it's difficult to see the forest through the trees - just like how sometimes it's difficult to see the obvious through the anxiety... 

FOF, what are you talking about??  Are you ok?  Did you forget to take your meds again? 

No... I am not going crazy - even though in some ways - maybe - I'm already there...  Take, for instance, a couple of little phobias like Parcopresis, and Paruresis.

Regular visitors are accustomed to reading about these phobias of mine.  If you do not know what they are, please follow the links provided.

Under "normal" circumstances - these are not really a big problem for me.  I have come up with my own "coping" techniques, and for 99% of the time it's not even something I even think about, as it never really "becomes" an issue (thanks to those coping mechanisms I just spoke of). 

Yet, there is still that 1% of the time that coping mechanisms are not effective, or not practical.  Take for example - last week... 

I had my day planned - and so I did not expect to run into any "problems" - but when the day's plans changed, and I had to add a trip to Target, dinner out, and a last minute stop at Sam's Club after I got off duty (without a chance to stop at home) - my struggles with parcopresis reared it's ugly head.

I'll save you all the "details" (don't all thank me at once), but let's take up this story at the point we were at Sam's - when I was telling the Mother of Five that we would not be able to stay long...  No, not long at all.  In fact, we should probably have left about 20 minutes ago (it's a 20 minute drive home). 

In other words... Things are getting pretty bad!

That's when the clouds parted, and a ray of sunshine from the heavens shown down upon me.  It was when the Mother of Five said...  "Why don't you just use the "FAMILY ROOM".  They have one here, and It has a lock on the door".

(Blank stair on my face... Crickets chirping...)

Hmm...  The family room.  I can be alone.  The Doors lock.  Solitude.  Hmmm... Well, maybe...  I'll keep it in the back of my mind it case of an "emergency".

Less than five minutes later - I was making a bee-line for the "Family Room".

When I arrived at the "Family Room", I (thankfully) found it unoccupied.  As I entered, and verified that the door did indeed have a lock on it, I was hit with the instantly recognizable and overbearing odiferous evidence of an eighty-something year old woman who doused herself with an overly heavy layer of "ode-de-grandmother" (or other similarly scented perfume, splash, spray, or powder that is frequently found on the grandmotherly among us).  You know the smell.. the ones that make you INSTANTLY think "Grandma !!")

Which, by the way, sounds like I am referring to it as a "bad thing".  For clarity... I AM NOT.  I both love and miss my grandmothers so very much... It's that reason that makes this scent stand out so much...  It reminds me of my own grandmothers.

I was immediately creepd out by the fact that "Nah-nuh", "Grammy" (or what ever cute pet name her grandchildren called the woman who last used this room) may have left only moments before.  Heck, the seat may still be "warm".  (~shiver~)

I also continued to try and remind myself that the voice in my head that was saying these oddly weird and disturbing ideas was coming from a place that is a bit "out-of-whack". 

From the moment I opened the door, until the the whole ordeal was nothing more than a bad memory - my skin was tingling with anxiety (and not in a good way)...  It almost brought me to tears...  I was actually having a conversation with "that voice", and repeatedly told myself that the "voice" was being irrational, and that everything was going to be o.k.

In the end, I was able to successfully complete the mission (or at least partially), and was able to buy myself enough time until I could relax in the safety of my own bathroom...    

FOF... Seriously... What is the matter with you... I really think there is something wrong with you.  Why would you share this with us?

Well, for a couple reasons...  First and foremost  - after I was able to calm down the "rational" and "healthy" side of my brain kicked in - and I started seeing the humorous side of all of this...  How ridiculous it all is... I even started chuckling to and at myself!  OUT LOUD!  I hope YOU did too!

Secondly...  I wanted to point out that through the anxiety, how I was unable to spot the obvious...  And only through having the Mother of Five point it out to me, did I even consider the possibility that, in the worst of emergencies (and I have been there a few times) there may be a possibility.

Thirdly - I realized that by thinking through this process, I was able to see that IN THE WORST CASES, I am able to triumph over my own psychological struggles.  That even though it's a pretty strange phobia to have, things could be worse...  That I am (maybe) only HALF CRAZY!

Finally - You would be amazed at the number of hits I get here for people searching out parcopresis and paruresis.  Maybe someone will hit on this post - and by my telling this story I can share the compromise that I myself could not see without it being pointed out...  The whole "If this post could help at least ONE person, then the shame, humiliation, and embarrassment of sharing it with the world would all be worthwhile." type of thought...  


  1. " was still warm..."

    HA HA HA! I hate that. I like to pretend that my butt, is the ONLY butt to have ever sat on that seat...ever!

    I'm currently coping with having had people use my "man room" in the basement. I'm not sure what is an acceptable amount of time before it's "safe" to use again.

  2. 'I'll save you all the "details" ' Thank you!

    So, don't those little paper cover things help you at all? Or do you not have them there in rugged Minnesota? I am surprised at the places where I do and do not find them. In church, paper covers. Some grungy on the road places, NOT. One has to be desperate. I think that one can purchase their own to take with them. Or - if you have the time - line the seat with TP - another good thing to have with you all too often!
    While not sharing your affliction, I do agree, "There's no place like home."

    Your grandmas smelled better than the last grandma I dealings with! Some old people (poor things) smell like they may have died last week but nobody told them.

    "You would be amazed at the number of hits I get here for people searching out parcopresis and paruresis" I do remember that you are the poster boy. ; )

    Congratulations on your personal triumph and on reaching out to help others.

  3. Another personal triumph! Keep them coming.

  4. Barbara - Regarding those tissue paper seat covers... I don't know because I have never really tried using them.. It's less about the "germ-a-phobe" in me as much as it is "performance-anxiety".

    I just can not fathom the idea of using a restroom that someone else is in, 2 feet away from me (even if behind a partition, or divider...

    But, don't get me wrong... the thought of sitting down on a toilet seat that is still "warm" from the person who used it before really gives me the hee-bee-jee-bee's...

  5. Um, I am sure that I have some kind of smartass comment make here, but I will leave it alone and go with same cheer that I used when my kids were potty training. "Push it out, shove it out, waayyy out! Good Job!"

  6. This interesting that you brought this up. I'm a first time reader. When I'm around a lot of people, I'm usually okay. There are sometimes though I just want to go into a bathroom and lock the door. Instantly I have peace and I just want to be in there for a bit till I feel better. Only if it's a single bathroom really. I do that at people's houses or out where there are crowds. I'm a mom to five also by the way. Soon to be six. I don't have this severely and I've never even thought about it. Till I read your blog. I do have an anxiety though and sometimes almost shaking when I finally find a bathroom alone. Interesting.

  7. I meant to mention that what I deal with is different than you it's just that you got me thinking about it.

    I love finding other bloggers. Thanks for sharing your stories.

  8. Jenny - Thanks for swinging by! I too enjoy others Blogs... I have added you to my Lots of dads (and a few moms too!) Blogroll!

    I'm running out the door now (as any busy parent of five, or more can attest to.....) but I'll be back to check out "Meet Virgina"!

  9. Dave,
    A helpful hint; CHEW your food. Gulping it down in chunks is only going to haunt you later on. Second, I am very concerned at your use of laxatives and your binging and purging. Get some help, soon.
    I suspect you will replace the flax seed, rolled oats and bag of prunes I had in the work fridge.


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