Bathroom related transit anxiety
September 3, 2014 6:04 AM Subscribe
Lately, I have been starting to have symptoms of anxiety when I'm traveling in a vehicle that does not have a bathroom, or that can't easily be exited to find a bathroom. Of course, one of the symptoms of anxiety is needing to eliminate more urgently than normal, so this is becoming a feedback loop. I live in NYC and must use subways and taxis (over long bridges and through long tunnels) all the time. How can I cut the loop?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I try to practice calm deep breaths when I'm in the subway going under the East River or in a cab on the BQE when it's not moving. It helps, but doesn't get rid of the irrational anxiety. Several times recently I've had to exit a subway midway to my destination to find a bathroom, or had to ask a taxi to stop, and today when the B train stopped for five minutes underground on the incline up to the Manhattan bridge, I almost freaked out. (I was thisclose to announcing to the train car "I am having an anxiety attack. Can someone please talk to me to distract me and/or possibly hold my hand?") It's getting to the point that I'm starting to dread the subway. At this very moment I am delaying getting on the subway to return home to Brooklyn because I'm worried I'll be anxious again.
This is particularly perplexing to me because I've lived in cities and regularly used this kind of bathroom-less transit for my entire adult life. I don't have coping mechanisms (beyond the deep breathing) because I've never even thought about it before I started having this anxiety recently.
I'll be discussing this with my doctor at my next visit (which is in a few weeks). Until then, what can I do myself to help this anxiety abate?