Was walked in while doing #2. Feeling violated. Any ideas what to do?
October 2, 2013 8:25 PM   Subscribe

I have anxiety when it comes to doing #2. I was recently walked in when doing so at a previously safe spot. Now, I don't know if I can feel comfortable going poop again at the university.

So, I've posted about this before, and took some of the very good advice posted. I was able to work out a reasonably good system - it happened that my previous group of roommates all worked during the day at regular 9-5 jobs, so I had the house to myself during the night, and would go do #2 then. This worked for a long while, and at times when I couldn't go at home for various reasons, I used a less-used restroom at my former university (which I live right by). This restroom was a private restroom in a bathroom full of stalls (I think the private toilet was designated for those in wheelchairs, etc). This was in a big school building.

Quite recently, things began to change, and not for the better. A new roommate moved in, and she's a night person as well, and doesn't work, so I could no longer feel comfortable going #2 at home during the night, due to her odd hours. I then resorted to using my university's bathroom everyday, using that private restroom - it worked well, as always, until I found out the lock on the door wasn't an actual lock, but rather one that could easily be unlocked using any key. It was simply a generic lock. That made me feel uncomfortable and in a way... "violated" - although I have been using that toilet since 2005 without any problems at all whatsoever. So, I moved to a new building, this one being a smaller building, and used a basement bathroom that was fully private, with a lock that was impossible to open generically. The basement was also literally deserted, without any people around at any given time, and had two doors leading to some kind of conference room, that, AFAIK, were never occupied. It was the perfect "hiding spot" for me to do #2 without the possibility to be disrupted... until now.

Today, I was doing my business as usual. I have this strange ritual (that makes me feel more comfortable) when I turn the lights off, switch my iPhone to Airplane Mode, and put my shirt over my head. This makes me feel much more "safer" and less "exposed" (if this makes any sense) to drop trou and do #2. While I was doing #2, the unthinkable happened. The door burst open, and a security officer was looking onto me. I'm sure I looked like a deer caught in headlights; I was in shock, and felt incredibly violated and confused. The officer left, and I gathered my things, cleaned up, and left, shaking.

A few things - why on earth would the security officer open an obviously locked bathroom? It couldn't have been left locked by accident; the lock was those kinds that pop unlocked when the door closes. The light being off wasn't obvious from the outside of the door, because the "hallway" light was on. The building wasn't closed yet. It was in a deserted area of the building, but that doesn't make me understand WHY the security officer would go about doing that... and now I don't know if I even feel comfortable going anywhere at the university. Using the trusty old building I have been using since 2005 without any problems at all probably would work, but I just feel shaky and violated right now, if that makes any sense - I feel like my sense of privacy has been taken away, for no reason. What makes the situation more sticky is that I'm not a student or staff at that university; I'm an alumni; so I'm not sure I'm even technically supposed to be at the university (although I've seen many alumni wandering around without incident, and security on that is supposedly lax). If I report what happened, they might just "twist" it into "well, you're not a student or staff, so technically, you really shouldn't even be using our facilities in the first place!"

What I'm asking is... theories why the security officer did that, how I should cope with this and unbrick (no pun intended) my anxiety to feel comfortable using the university's facilities again, and how to cope if this happens next time. I have awful anxiety issues around #2 and must not get any text messages or be interrupted in any way, so that's why I use my iPhone in airplane mode when doing #2, so being interrupted physically, let alone in a private bathroom for no reason, has left me traumatized. Therapy is an option I am pursuing, but I am very busy and it would be difficult to fit it in my schedule.

Thanks for your thoughts.
posted by dubious_dude to Human Relations (39 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Response by poster: Ugh, I forgot to say, it's not that the officer was looking at me in a SEXUAL way or anything like that. Just... opening the door, then a few seconds of looking at each other, then he left. Wanted to comment about that before anyone could think it was actually sexually related/violated sexually. Sorry for the threadsit!
posted by dubious_dude at 8:27 PM on October 2, 2013


The security officer did that because he is doing rounds, nobody's ever there, and he made a mistake by making an assumption that nobody was there and not knocking first. I'm sure he's incredibly embarrassed.

This is something you need to talk to a doctor or therapist about. Like, today. This is not something you can afford to not have addressed, it can lead to lots of other medical problems. You do not have time to not find a medical or psychological solution to this, immediately.
posted by brainmouse at 8:29 PM on October 2, 2013 [85 favorites]


The security officer most likely unlocked the locked bathroom for one of the following reasons:

1) He thought it was vacant and had been locked accidentally;
2) People had been reported using that bathroom to shoot up, or perhaps to smoke cigarettes;
3) People had been reported using that bathroom for sexual encounters.

Please get therapy (I recommend cognitive behavioral therapy with a focus on addressing phobias). To be blunt, you'll be amazed by how much time you save by not having to enact elaborate defecation rituals. I had great success with cognitive behavioral therapy for a deeply entrenched phobia, so I empathize with where you are right now (phobias suck) and want to encourage you to make the time to get help for this.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:34 PM on October 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


It is also possible that a member of the building's staff who knew that that area was disused at night was concerned that someone was entering the building simply to use the bathroom, and asked the security guard to check if, say, a person who was currently homeless was using it as a shelter (this happened in a university building I used to work in).

I am so sorry you are experiencing such a difficult time with your phobia. I wish you all the very best in finding help with it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:39 PM on October 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is the only thing I'm at all qualified to address in this post because I'm not the therapist and/or doctor you desperately need:

If I report what happened, they might just "twist" it into "well, you're not a student or staff, so technically, you really shouldn't even be using our facilities in the first place!"

If there are areas they don't want you in, they have those behind key-card doors that you can't get into without the right permissions on your ID card. (Not saying you should or shouldn't report it, I have no idea.)

Now I'm going to quote what brainmouse said, for emphasis:
You do not have time to not find a medical or psychological solution to this, immediately.
posted by bleep at 8:53 PM on October 2, 2013


I think the best way to cope with this is to really, really try to get therapy to deal with this issue. However, my only idea as to be comfortable in the meantime ...

Could you install your own lock on the inside of the bathroom? This might sound crazy, but could you buy your own lock that can be installed simply by screwing it onto the door (inside the bathroom), so that only the person occupying the bathroom would be able to lock and unlock it? I'm thinking something like this or this. If you bring the needed tools, you could install this lock in minutes. And if you do a careful job, the lock will look like it is meant to be there and no one will think twice about it.
posted by Nightman at 8:55 PM on October 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah your anxiety is clearly out of control to the point where it's seriously impacting your life. I agree with everyone above that you need therapy.

However, that's more of a long-term solution since it doesn't work instantly and you might not even be able to afford it right now. You still need to be able to poop in the short term while you work through this.

If I were you, I'd try to get a prescription for Xanax to be taken "as needed" and use it to chemically subdue the anxiety whenever you need to poop somewhere you don't feel "safe" or comfortable. You can't use this crutch forever (you'll eventually develop a tolerance to the drug) but it could help you survive while you work on a long-term solution.

I suggest this because I used to have severe anxiety and I found that taking a preventative Xanax 15-20 min before I knew I was going to be in a panic-inducing situation helped me function more normally. (Personally, I ultimately switched to 1mg/night of Klonopin because I had generalized anxiety and thus needed a daily preventative medication, but since your anxiety is tied to a very specific thing I think the "as needed" dosing could work for you.)
posted by Jacqueline at 8:55 PM on October 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I agree that you should pursue therapy asap, but in the short run is there any way to make your home bathroom a safe space to use again at night? Is it possible to make sure the door is secured internally and can't be opened from the outside, and then run the water in the sink, tub or shower? You really only have the one roommate that potentially would possibly be around at night, and perhaps even if she has irregular hours, she still is most likely to be asleep at certain times, and you should be safe if you ensure the door cannot be opened.
posted by gudrun at 9:02 PM on October 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Maybe this is just because I am a woman, but if a security guard unlocked a bathroom door and busted in on me while I was using the bathroom, I would report him so fast your head would spin, and I would want some really good answers. Just busting into a locked single bathroom should not be the first thing you do if you are a security guard.

About your immediate problem, one of the good things about getting a therapist is that therapists' offices have bathrooms and nobody is going to be busting into them. If it's a larger building then they should be at the end of a hall and you could just go use that bathroom during the day when you need to.
posted by cairdeas at 9:03 PM on October 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


Do not, under any circumstances, attach your own lock to the door of a university bathroom. You could be prosecuted for vandalism.

As for "if it wasn't okay for you to be there, they'd have key cards"---that's not accurate in my experience of working at universities. University policies on trespassing are not generally bounded by which facilities are key carded.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:08 PM on October 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


And it's not just "you could be prosecuted for vandalism," either. Universities have good reasons to be able to unlock all the doors on their property. What if someone went into a bathroom that had an unauthorized lock on it, engaged the lock, then had a medical emergency and called university security for help? Security would have no reason to know they couldn't open the door for paramedics to be able to assist the person in distress.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:12 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


While it's difficult to say what is normal, when your anxiety keeps you from your day to day life, you probably should get some sort of help for it. A lot of it seems to be a spiral. One thing that you might have an issue with, and then something happens on top of that and suddenly it is rewriting your life. That's not good.

What has worked for me and many other anxiety sufferers I have spoken too is a combination of talking to someone therapy (professional, who you don't know as a friend, that you feel comfortable telling everything) and physical therapy (which would be medication.) I hope you find something that can work for you.

Just because you are on medication now does not mean you always will be. In fact, I don't take my anxiety meds any more. Knowing I have them and can is enough. So consider them like a flu medication. Just until you get better. Because things can get better.
posted by chemoboy at 9:14 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Not to threadsit, but to follow-up a bit:

a) Using a lock would not work for me at all, because of the university's settings, and like Sidhedevil said, it could lead to prosecution. It was a good suggestion, though!

b) I do agree that I need therapy to help address this; however, I'm not sure how it comes across that the anxiety is out of control and seriously impacting my life, and how it's desperately needed for me to get help for health reasons. I go #2 almost everyday and have managed to do that just fine, even recently; it's just that with a few changes as of lately, it's became a bit harder, but I've managed. I'm not in physical pain. If I was literally unable to go poop, then that would be a problem, but so far, I've managed to make it, just had to make a few adjustments.

c) Using a shower/water running would be a great idea! The thing is, I'm Deaf (and so is all my roommates), so that 'noise barrier' wouldn't help at all! The same goes for my university; it's a Deaf university, so the security officer probably wouldn't have thought to knock, because he probably assumed (correctly) that if there was someone in the bathroom, that they'd be Deaf. I should have mentioned my Deafness in the main question, but I didn't realize until now that it might've made the picture a bit clearer.

I do understand that the ability to unlock all doors if needed is of essence at an university (and for that matter, pretty much any public building), but the "fake lock" at the original, since-2005 building can be easily opened by anyone. It's literally just a "switch" that you turn with any key or heavy-enough object, although it's kind of subtle and not obvious at first glance. That's what makes me nervous.
posted by dubious_dude at 9:39 PM on October 2, 2013


I was thinking that the officer barged in unannounced, but with the clarification you made about being deaf, I don't know that I can rule out that they knocked first.
posted by zippy at 9:53 PM on October 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


b) I do agree that I need therapy to help address this; however, I'm not sure how it comes across that the anxiety is out of control and seriously impacting my life, and how it's desperately needed for me to get help for health reasons. I go #2 almost everyday and have managed to do that just fine, even recently; it's just that with a few changes as of lately, it's became a bit harder, but I've managed. I'm not in physical pain. If I was literally unable to go poop, then that would be a problem, but so far, I've managed to make it, just had to make a few adjustments.

Hey, look, I have a much, much, much more mild version of this phobia and it still impacts my life on occasion--the camping trips with friends where I haven't gone for days and had to resort to . . . extreme measures to manage to go. And I can use the toilet in houses with roommates, and family members, and can occasionally use stall toilets. What you're describing sounds really extreme to me, really disruptive and miserable. What if you move? What if you go on vacation away from these bathrooms?

From my own research, I've learned that this phobia can be more intense than others and more difficult to address in part because of physical peculiarities (if the sphincter won't relax when you're tense, there's really not much you can do even if you're trying to relax). I really, really think you should talk to someone about it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:57 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd try to get a prescription for Xanax to be taken "as needed" and use it to chemically subdue the anxiety whenever you need to poop somewhere you don't feel "safe" or comfortable.

Unfortunately xanax can cause constipation! I agree that some sort of chemical chilling out should probably occur. Klonopin, maybe?
posted by elizardbits at 10:03 PM on October 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Using a shower/water running would be a great idea! The thing is, I'm Deaf (and so is all my roommates), so that 'noise barrier' wouldn't help at all!

Hmm, this is interesting, I totally assumed it made you uncomfortable to go to the bathroom around others because of what they might hear.

Since it might help us come up with better ideas, what is it then, that makes you uncomfortable? Is it just the possibility of being interrupted, which you mentioned? Is it the idea of them knowing what you are doing?
posted by cairdeas at 10:14 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Certainly don't install anything permanent on a door that does not belong to you; however, there are portable locks that would allow you to secure a door from the inside, then remove the lock and take it with you when you leave. for example
posted by bq at 10:16 PM on October 2, 2013


Response by poster: Yes. It's kind of complicated, and I really don't know HOW to explain or pinpoint it. In the question I asked last year, I explained a bit of backstory... basically, I went to a Deaf residential school and lived at their dorms from middle school throughout to high school. In middle school, I was bullied a lot in the dorms because of my halfway-developed right ear, and sometimes when I used the toilet (single, private), the other boys would pound/kick the door violently, startling me. I could feel the pounds reverberate on the floor and it startled me, and a 'fear' of using the bathroom, especially #2, began to grow. The pounding/kicking door thing wasn't related to bullying (they did that to everyone), but in my sensitive state, I think it was taken to heart somehow... if that makes any sense.

I have gotten over the bullying, but the #2 issue has been with me since middle school. I've been using hotels, other public buildings, school buildings, home when nobody is there, etc., since about 2000 or so. Realistically, I know everyone goes #2, but... I don't know, it's really weird, but my mind just blanks out when I try to pinpoint what it is exactly that makes me so nervous. I'm not sure if it's a phobia, because I'm not actively scared, nor am I anxious. I just can't take or stand ANY interruptions/simulations. That's why I have a '30-minute perimeter' as in which I cannot answer any texts 30 minutes before going #2, and I look at calming images online to help relax my mind.

Hope this answered your question, cairdeas.
posted by dubious_dude at 10:22 PM on October 2, 2013


I think you need to get a handle on this right away with a therapist and/or medication. I'm imagining that something happens to you - appendicitis, gallbladder disease, a traffic accident - and you end up in the hospital. Once you're admitted, and certainly if you have any surgery, you won't be released to home until you have a bowel movement. They don't expect there to be any real big deal about that and if you don't poop they'll give you a laxative and you'll poop whether you want to or not. It's okay - they must be sure your digestive system is working - all the way through - before they release you. But this could place you in a really miserable situation, so yes - get someone who can help you deal with this as soon as possible. Don't be embarrassed - you'd be amazed at the many different problems we have and therapists are not surprised by anything; your "thing" isn't all that rare, anyway. If you don't have money, ask your physician for a referral or check with one of the local "free" or subsidized clinics - there is help available, but you have to go get it.

I wish you courage and success at getting this problem resolved so you don't have to think about it anymore.
posted by aryma at 10:23 PM on October 2, 2013


"I'm not sure how it comes across that the anxiety is out of control and seriously impacting my life"

Having to leave your home and find a deserted university building every time you need to defecate is out of control. I am not saying this to be rude in any way, but you are so enmeshed in this phobia that you've lost perspective on how much of an impact it's having on your day to day life.

I can imagine that being Deaf adds another layer of hassle to the process of finding therapy, but being able to use your own bathroom comfortably will be such a huge improvement in your life that you won't believe it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:23 PM on October 2, 2013 [48 favorites]


Portable door stop to block the door from opening.
posted by HMSSM at 10:24 PM on October 2, 2013 [11 favorites]


You were in an abondoned area, lights off and door locked. He likely knocked on the door and when you didn't answer assumed someone was pulling a prank, having sex or doing drugs, etc.
posted by HMSSM at 10:29 PM on October 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


dubious_dude (and others who might be curious about the physical mechanisms), it might help to have "shy bowel" and "parcopresis" as terms to google. Anismus is another one--I know that when I'm in a situation where my parcopresis is triggered, it's not that I feel actively fearful--I just can't physically seem to go. But CBT is really, really something that can help with this.

Hearing more about your time restraints, it's entirely possible that the security guard saw you enter the bathroom and thought something weird--someone using drugs or masturbating or something similar--might have been going on. I honestly think you need to find ways to reclaim your bathroom at home. It might be as simple as talking honestly to your roommate about it, if you're comfortable with that (me, I have no problem talking about poop; just doing it!). It might be as simple as developing a routine with her: at midnight, she watches TV in her room while you have private bathroom time. Something like that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:30 PM on October 2, 2013


maybe the security guard needed to use the restroom.
posted by cupcake1337 at 10:32 PM on October 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


however, I'm not sure how it comes across that the anxiety is out of control and seriously impacting my life, and how it's desperately needed for me to get help for health reasons.

You cannot use the toilet at home. You scout out specific toilets to use, and abandon them when something goes even mildly awry. You have specific toilet rituals, and aspects of those rituals consume at least 60 minutes of every day. You need to get help for your mental health, because while you've managed to normalise this behaviour, to an outside observer it skews way outside of normal and into a phobia with a significant and restrictive impact on your day to day life.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:47 PM on October 2, 2013 [38 favorites]


theories why the security officer did that

Ironically, for the same reasons you were using that bathroom in the first place - because you were in a little-used bathroom, in an empty basement, in a deserted part of the building, with the lights off. As others have said, he likely thought that either it was empty (yes, people lock stall doors then crawl out sometimes, who knows why) or that the person in there was up to no good.

Your anxiety is creating a vicious cycle for you here. The more empty and isolated and dark your "hiding spot" is, the less likely a security guard or someone else is to think "ah, door closed, obviously just someone using the bathroom". So a situation like this happens, and in response you'll try to find somewhere even more empty and isolated and dark in future, and so on and so on. That's a really good reason to get help with this.
posted by Catseye at 2:37 AM on October 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


I do agree that I need therapy to help address this; however, I'm not sure how it comes across that the anxiety is out of control and seriously impacting my life, and how it's desperately needed for me to get help for health reasons.

I'm not sure what you mean. A therapist will not be shocked by this and they will trust you if you say "this is out of control and seriously impacting my life." They will not say "Oh it's not that bad, you're overreacting."

I have other bathroom-anxiety related issues and medication (for anxiety) changed. my. life. If you can't/won't go to a therapist, talk to your regular doctor about getting something for anxiety.
posted by desjardins at 7:22 AM on October 3, 2013


I do agree that I need therapy to help address this; however, I'm not sure how it comes across that the anxiety is out of control and seriously impacting my life, and how it's desperately needed for me to get help for health reasons

You are leaving your home in the middle of the night to seek out empty buildings for their private toilets where you then lock yourself in a bathroom, turn off the lights, turn off your phone and wrap a tshirt on your head before you are able to poop.

Everyone has some type of ritual they go through daily in their lives but this goes so far beyond "I need privacy to poop" that it isn't even on the same planet.
posted by crankylex at 7:34 AM on October 3, 2013 [25 favorites]


Since you are deaf, you might have missed the normal things guards would do in a situation like this- knock, say something, before coming in. He may have realized you were deaf after seeing you. He may not have had the language skills to communicate with a deaf person. Also, he was probably embarrassed as well. As a sometimes-security guard, my partly biased answer is 'don't report' since he was doing his job. I cant tell you that you shouldn't, or that its wrong- those are obviously choices you'd have to make on your own. But yeah, being sent in to investigate occupied rooms that usually aren't occupied in the dark is 100% in his job description.
posted by Jacen at 9:34 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


The security guard should not have walked in on you. The only reasons I think that that would be ok is if someone was being held hostage/injured, if you had called for help from your cell phone because you were locked in, or in the event of a serious emergency.

There has to be some sort of procedure that is generally accepted by the Deaf community. I do not know what those are, but staff at a university for the Deaf should certainly be trained and aware of those procedures and know more than the average hearing layperson on how to best communicate with the Deaf. Maybe he could have used a flashlight or a laser pointer to gain your attention?

In any event, therapy would definitely help. While you are waiting for an appointment, you could look into portable door locks like this. They are temporary and will not damage the school's doors in any way.
posted by lovelygirl at 9:41 AM on October 3, 2013


Ugh, I hate going poop in unfamiliar places and when other people are around. I'm only home about 8-10 hours a day so I got over it, but I understand where the phobia stems from and you definitely need therapy, but in the meantime maybe you could try some things to make your home bathroom see more isolated so you feel like pooping is between you and your maker only.

Bathroom rugs - put down some bathroom rugs to absorb noises or vibrations from the floor.
Window sticker things - they sell these vinyl window cling things that make your windows look like stained glass or another design and they make it so light can come in, but you cant see whats outside the window and vice versa. You can buy them at Home Depot and Lowes type stores.
room dividing screen - can you put a foldable room divider screen in the bathroom to block off the toilet area from the rest of the bathroom when you need to go?
Make your home bathroom a phone-free zone. Maybe put a little wall pocket outside the door to drop your phone into before going into the bathroom.
eyemask - keep one in your home bathroom to use while you go to block out visuals, maybe you can get something that has lavender or some soothing scent to it.
Wooden matches - After you're done pooping, you can light a wooden match and let it burn down to eliminate poop smell if you are self conscious about that or don't have good ventilation in your bathroom. Alternately you can use a deodorizing spray if there are scents that you like and don't feel that it contributes to your phobia, being a dead giveaway that you just took a dump.

Happy pooping!
posted by WeekendJen at 9:55 AM on October 3, 2013


Props to my sister for the info (and because I agree with everyone that this is a case for therapy):

There is actually a HUGE shortage of Deaf or sign fluent therapists and it's a problem. Furthermore, only a few states (Alabama surprisingly) have good public mental health resources for Deaf folks, and that was only implemented after a lawsuit. Super lame.

That being said, some states do have limited mental health resources available through government funded agencies. As for finding interpreting services for therapy, that's also tricky because for many therapists, the ADA technically doesn't apply to them. Since most counseling agencies have fewer than 15 employees and further, because the cost of interpreting services would eat up a large percentage of the total visit cost, they tend to be unwilling to take on Deaf clients as it is not a financially viable option for them.

HOWEVER, any time you need to arrange for interpreting services you should contact a local agency.

Also, you can check out Vineya; new and super cool approach to finding interpreters.

And most of all! Fear not! There are awesome places like Alternative Solutions Center (YouTube ascdeaf, also on fb) who can do remote (read via webcam/videophone/Skype) counseling. An excellent resource all around.

posted by whimsicalnymph at 10:06 AM on October 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


I want to repeat HMSSM's comment just in case it gets missed.

Buy a portable doorstop at a hardware store, you don't need a big one, it can fit in a pocket. It'll function as a portable lock to any bathroom you're in. Just as a coping mechanism as you get help to deal with this, which I really hope you do.
posted by lemniskate at 10:28 AM on October 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ok, the anxiety is obviously a problem, but you need a safe place to use the bathroom, too.

If there is an LGBT center on your campus, contact them. They will probably have a map of single occupancy restrooms. Get those needs met.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:58 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anxiety is about control. It seems like you're trying to control two situations - 1) what happened in school with the banging on the door (interruptions) and 2) the situation now (possibility of being interrupted). Except, the way it's being managed at the moment is inconvenient to your life (you have to leave your home to do this) and results in you being significantly interrupted anyway (because you're trying to do this in a way that provokes suspicion from others).

There is a good chance that you will always be interrupted in some way (not someone barging in I hope, but there will be noise and activity around you) because that's life. Your anxiety is trying to make you control a part of life that you can't control.

A good therapist will cultivate your resilience around this potential that you might be interrupted so that you will be able to see that you can actually deal with it. If your anxiety is affecting your life to this extent, it is serious enough to warrant therapy - that's what the therapist is there for. Simply explain to them what you've explained to us.
posted by heyjude at 12:11 PM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is actually a HUGE shortage of Deaf or sign fluent therapists and it's a problem.

Yes it is. But one of the reasons it would behoove dubious_dude to seek help now is that both Gallaudet and RIT have campus therapists for Deaf students: Gallaudet has a Mental Health Center and RIT has Counseling Services. It is likely that dubious_dude will never be better placed to get help than he is right now.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:31 PM on October 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


I was in the hospital for a number of day and *really* needed to take a dump. Got worse by the hour. I told them "Hey, I *really* need to take a dump, why don't you carry me over there or wheelchair me or some shit." And they're all "Oh, no, you're too weak and stuff" and they brought in a tray or box or whatever for me to shit in. I'm like "Hey, cats shit in boxes, not me, this is not gonna happen; get me over to the john." On and on, round and round.

Finally one day theirs just a couple of friends there visiting, sortof keeping an eye on me, they're supposed to hold down the fort but they didn't really know me, I bulled past them and into the john. Relief! Except now I'm so exhausted that I can't even stand up, and I've got to be carried back to my bed, and there are all kinds of nurses buzzing in like angry goddamn hornets and everyone was all frowny and mad and all, but fuck it, I'd told them that I don't shit in boxes, and I don't; let them be all frowny. It like to killed me, which was interesting of course, but I'd pretty much rather die than shit in a fucking box. It gave the staff there a new appreciation different aspects of me.

All of which is to say: I've got me some issues about all this jive also. A t-shirt over my head wouldn't have even have gotten me into the neighborhood, they could have wrapped an entire mattress around my head and I'd still be all "Fuck you" about it.

I've spoken with friends who've been in prison and friends who've been in the armed forces, and there is no way out, it would get you past that phobia for sure. In prison it's you and another person in a box the size of a closet, and there's the toilet and sink, not one minute of privacy, ever, from the minute you walk through the gates until you walk out. So maybe serve some prison time. Just kidding of course. But we're all just eating and pooping machines, every damn one of us, maybe it'd help you to remember that.

Who's your biggest hero? She took a big dump today, or might be right now. Look at Abraham Lincolns face, you've gotta know that he was a horror show to be around, probably the kind of guy who'd fart in bed and then wave the covers around, probably that's why his wife went nuts, and who could blame her.

I like to kid around some, but I know that it's hard, what you're dealing with. You *can* do this, you *can* get past this.

Good luck.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:45 PM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Once you're admitted, and certainly if you have any surgery, you won't be released to home until you have a bowel movement. They don't expect there to be any real big deal about that and if you don't poop they'll give you a laxative and you'll poop whether you want to or not. It's okay - they must be sure your digestive system is working - all the way through - before they release you.

They are not checking for a functioning digestive system btw. They are looking for blood in your stool which would indicate something went awry with the appendectomy. And they won't give you a laxative. They will give you an enema.

Which can be a real big problem if you have bathroom issues particularly since most hospitals have shared toilets.

I actually learned what a 'bowel movement' was when I had my appendix removed and yes I got the enema and yes the shared toilet in the children's ward was occupied just when I needed it. To this day I consider my ability to restrain that particular movement to be one of my greater physical achievements.

I grew up with safe toilet issues and eventually got over by realizing that everybody is in denial about the bathroom zone. We just all pretend that we hear, see or smell nothing. So I joined in.

I do remember reading somewhere that Arundhati Roy mentioned during a speech that whenever she is feeling anxious addressing a Western audience that she just reminds herself that all those fools just wipe their butts with tissue paper and think they are clean. There is something strangely comforting about knowing that an extremely eloquent and fantastic writer thinks about people's dirty bums when anxious.
posted by srboisvert at 9:21 AM on October 11, 2013


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