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Bathroom Anxiety

I've read some of the posts on here about people with anxiety issues, but I haven't found one that specifically talks about this. If it's already posted out there or has been talked about a thousand times, forgive my ignorance.

Last year I moved up to NYC. I don't own a car anymore and use public transit to go everywhere. However, this anxiety issue I had ever since I was diagnosed as a child is starting to become more relevant. Basically, since I don't own a car anymore, when I leave my apartment I'm always thinking about where my nearest bathrooms are. I always have a list in my head of bars, stores, train stations, etc, that I can go to in case of an emergency. When I had a car, if I was driving, I could just find the nearest McDonalds or similar place and use the bathroom there. But now, I have to walk everywhere and places like that aren't as abundant or easy to find within a few minutes. Or worse, be stuck on a bus or subway and not be able to get off. The closest I came to having this feeling when I had a car was when I was stuck in traffic.

I've found that I'm only really comfortable when I'm somewhere where I know I have a bathroom available. Even when I'm out somewhere that does have a bathroom, there is always that fear that I'll have to wait or there will be a line or it will be out of service. So in essence, I only feel 100% comfortable when I'm at home.

This also leads to another situation that when I do have to leave, I'll start thinking about not being able to get to a bathroom to the point where all of a sudden I have to go, or at least feel like I do. It's really annoying because I'll be fine up until I'm about to walk out the door. This doesn't happen every time, and in fact I've been kind of learning how to cope with it. Usually once I'm out, I feel fine. It's the getting out part that causes the anxiousness. I'm just curious if anybody else has had similar experiences and how they deal with it.

-side note-
One of the ways I cope with it is I've found apps that show you where the nearest bathrooms are. Some even have reviews telling you if it's free to use, clean, hours that it's available, etc. One is called Charmin Sit or Squat. The other is specifically for NYC and called Way 2 Go NYC. Both take your GPS location on your phone and show you where the nearest bathrooms that were reported are. What an age we live in!


Super Moderator
I've had this anxiety myself. I literally had to force myself out of my comfort zone. I wanted to do things like, go on a bike ride, or go kayaking, but I didn't do those things for a few years because of the anxiety of not having a bathroom nearby. One day I just decided, I'm going to go kayaking and hopefully I won't run into trouble! And it was fine. I never had any accidents and my stomach has been nice & calm every time I've been kayaking. The same with bike riding - I just went for it and didn't have any issues, just had a nice time. For me, the anxiety and the "what ifs" were far worse for me - it's easy to think of worst case scenarios, but those things aren't necessarily going to happen. And it was a real confidence booster when I was able to do the things I wanted and I realized that the worst case scenarios weren't necessarily going to happen - I just had a nice bike ride and a nice paddle in my kayak.

I will say, depending on how active your illness is, you may not be up for a bike ride or a kayak trip - totally understandable of course. But, I do encourage you to push yourself out of your comfort zone just a little bit, whatever that means to you. You said yourself, once you're out, you feel fine. So push yourself a little more to go out - if you're like me, the more you'll do it, the more you'll relax about it.
At first I didn't go out ( except for work) for eight years. I was terrified that I will not find a nearby bathroom. I lost many of my friends during this time . I started to travel out side my city only 3 years ago ( maximum three days). Yes, the most difficult part is the getting out part. Actually, the reason I started to go out came by accident. We were visiting a friend in the hospital where I work and we had to wait for some time till she come out of surgury. It was too cold and one colleague offered us a cup of coffee in a nearby coffee shop. I was surprised that it is Just 10 minutes walk from my home and I have never noticed it !!! I suddenly realized that the streets and shops have changed and i knew nothing about it. And actually enjoy ed the few coffee sips that I had. Few weeks later, I asked my sister to go with me there . and till now this coffee shop is my favorite place especially that they have clean bathrooms. ;)
I still dont go out tjat much and travel outside Cairo once or twice a year ( must be accompanied with my sister to feel safe), but overall I feel I have accomplished something. :)