The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
The Fear of Pooping in Public
A topic that most people would hardly ever think to discuss, talk about, or even bring up, but at Confessions of the Professions, where the professions confess everything and there is no filter on what is published. The topic of peeing or pooping in public restrooms needs to be brought up, for the anxiety and fear is far more common among people than you might think. The conditions are known as Parcopresis (defecation anxiety) or Paruresis (urination anxiety).
People fear it so much, that they will schedule their day around not having to go #2 at work or anywhere else, no matter what it takes, even if it means skipping breakfast and lunch, or timing it just perfectly so bathroom time is directly in the morning or right during lunch, as one can stop home real quick, and do their business, before heading back to wherever they were and whatever they were doing.
A night out on the town? There are plenty of people who will go out and have a great time, often making sure they are not far from home, even avoiding peeing in public places, as the real fear is likely sitting on a public toilet. For men, peeing in public is not so much a big issue, though some men are extremely bladder shy, and need complete concentration and silence in order to actually pee, often opting to use the stall, as the thought of even someone standing next to them or behind them brings up anxiety, and despite the pressure and buildup of having to release, the nervous tension will not allow for it.
There are even some people who will not go farther than 20 minutes or 5 miles from their home or leave their city, state, or country because the fear of having to use a public restroom that is not their own is so great they let it hold them back. This is a reality that many people can be overcome if they want this fear to not hold them back. A public restroom should not be a life-preventing event that keeps you from living a life that is not bound to the vicinity of the home range.
In my own personal experience, I eventually had to learn to conquer my fears of going in public, especially in a high school restroom, but before I did this, I would avoid eating breakfast and sometimes lunch just to make sure that I never had to go to the restroom in school. I never minded taking a piss at school, but the thought of sitting down on a toilet in this public place was disgusting. When I was younger, I would fake some sickness so I could go home just to use the bathroom. As I got older, I just went to the office of the nurse, who had a private bathroom. Eventually, that ended, and there was a somewhat less used bathroom by the nurse’s office that I would just felt more comfortable using.
Nowadays, considering I eat a lot healthier than I did back then, I normally use the bathroom before I leave the house, and I am usually good for the day. Considering I work at nights, I head home on my dinner break and may use the restroom there as well, though I have no qualms about using the restroom at work, as I see the cleaning crew in there every night and they do a very good job of making sure it is spotless.
There is comfort in using our own toilets, regardless of how often we clean them or not, but the feeling of being at home, sitting on our own thrown, is enough to bring out the fear of using any other toilet that is not our own. However, there are sometimes those emergency situations where you must succumb to using the toilet in a public place. How do you get over that fear?
I am not going to tell you it is easy, but it is possible, if you relax your mind and keep calm. Here is the thing: why do you have anxiety and fear of using a public restroom? Is it the people in the restroom with you? Is it because you think it will smell afterwards? Is it the thought of sitting on a dirty toilet or flushing a dirty handle or just being in a restroom used by so many others? Are you nervous that you are being judged?
The honest truth is: No one cares that you poop. We all poop. Every living thing on this Earth that eats and consumes energy poops and pees. Welcome to living life. Occasionally, what we ate may not agree with our systems, reverse itself, and come out the same end it went in and we end up vomiting. Puke is a whole other story, but if you have grown out of your drinking phase and know your limits, it probably does not happen as often as when you were in college.
You will have to get the anxiety and fear and realize that public restrooms are shared and no one is judging you or cares that you have to go to the bathroom. The bathroom is a fact of life – about every 2 to 3 hours for me. If you work in a good place, the bathrooms are usually cleaned several times a day.
In order to try and reduce your anxiety and fear of public restroom use, you can try these few things to keep your mind at ease when it comes to using a public toilet:
Courtesy Flush / Flush As You Go: This is often what I want to tell someone if I find myself sitting down and there are toilets on either side of me, and no one is courtesy flushing. Flush as you go to muffle the sound and the smell. There is no limit on how many times you can flush, especially if it is really bad. Flushing every few minutes is perfectly okay.
Start Eating Healthy: Once you begin to eat healthy food, severely reduce your fast food and junk food intake, pooping will be much more pleasant for you. Once you master the skill of eating healthy and you find yourself only eating healthy food, you will realize how much toilet paper you have been wasting over the years, and begin to wonder what was ingredients were in your food that was causing the gross mess. I personally use less than one roll a month.
Just A Drop: If you are self-conscious about the smell you make as you are using the restroom, use a drop of this stuff, and it will neutralize the smell, so no smell will actually escape the surface of the water. You can also bring a can of Air Freshener with you or leave it in the restroom at work.
Adult / Baby Wipes: If you are self-conscious about taking too long or the way you smell after you use the bathroom, you can cut your time in half by using Adult flushable wipes or baby wipes. I urge you, however, that you do not flush them down the toilet. Wrap them in some toilet paper, take them with you when you are done, and throw them in the trash can.
I, along with many other people, including celebrities, have admitted to using wipes in my article, Secrets of the Bathroom. I have no shame in telling anyone that I use wipes to feel fresh and clean, something that toilet paper just cannot do. Not only do I feel fresh and clean, but when I just use toilet paper, I notice I take longer in the bathroom. Adult wipes or baby wipes can cut this time in half and if you are self-conscious about your own body hygiene afterwards, as toilet paper is just a dry piece of paper that does not eliminate odor, having wipes with you and using them after your business is done with is as good as taking a shower and being clean again.
On the topic of adult / baby wipes: There are plenty of different brands of softness, roughness, alcohol or alcohol-free ones. Whichever you prefer, if you have to spend the extra dollar or two to buy a brand name to feel comfort when wiping yourself, than trust me, it is worth it.
Lysol Wipes: If the thought about germs and bacteria is bothering you, just know that your Office Work Space and your Keyboard is probably dirtier than the toilets at your workplace. It does not make sense, does it? Germs and bacteria tend to linger where human beings are the most and where people tend to put their hands the most. They patiently wait on door knobs, keyboards, mouses, refrigerator handles, and other objects that people touch often. These objects are even dirtier than the flush knob on the toilet. The restroom knob handle probably has more bacteria on it than the toilet.
If you are still bothered by the fact that the toilet has germs and bacteria on it, which almost all surface areas do, than get yourself a package of Lysol wipes and take a few with you to the restroom, wipe down the restroom knob, the sink handle, the restroom stall handle, and the toilet itself. Lysol contains the chemicals necessary to kill 99.9% of bacteria effectively. Just know, we as human beings have survived this long living alongside fungi, bacteria, disease, and viruses. In fact, the majority of our human body is made up of bacteria. Germs might get you sick if you do not take care of your body and avoid known contagious germs, but you most likely will not die from letting your butt cheeks touch toilet.
If none of these help you to overcome your fears of using a public restroom, and you want to and are committed to reducing and eliminating your anxiety, try practicing by going to the bathroom with a family member close by or even in the bathroom with you. If you need to use the restroom while out with a friend, try going over to their house and using their bathroom. Practice doing this and each time, be daring enough to attempt a public toilet, specifically when no one else is in there with you, and you might be able to finally overcome your fear.
When I was younger, the toilet from Look Who’s Talking portrayed by Mel Brooks scared me. The whole movie was funny to watch, but that part probably scared any child that saw it. No toilet is going to bite off your tushy so you have nothing to fear about toilets with teeth.
If you still cannot go in a public restroom, well, as I say to the dog when I take her for a walk and she is taking forever to do her business: “Go poop already!”