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Does anyone share my very odd phobia? Maybe TMI

(39 Posts)
keithlemonsbackdoors Mon 26-Mar-12 14:26:59

Right. This is hideously embarrassing, I'm cringing just trying to get the words in order in my head. I've only ever talked about this with two people before (both counsellors)

I have a MASSIVE phobia of shitting myself losing control in public. And by in public I mean anywhere where there are other people, including my own home. I've been struggling with panic attacks & anxiety for at least 10 years now and the one aspect that I can't deal with is the fact that a panic attack pretty much instantly requires that I scuttle off to the nearest loo. So you can see the vicious circle situation; I worry that I will get the shits gastric disturbance, which causes... you guessed it.

I have so many safety behaviours that it's ridiculous:
Obviously I won't travel any distance
Motorways are right out of the question, as is having anyone else in my car or being a passenger. Or buses. Or long walks.
I can't go to other people's houses coz I'm also scared of using other people's toilets (although this isn't so much of an issue any more because I no longer have any friends)
I'm a very very fussy eater & obsessively hygienic
I only wear dark coloured clothes on my bottom half in case of 'accidents' & feel very uncomfortable if I don't have a jacket or cardie that I could tie round my waist in an emergency

A few days ago I had the norovirus - I'd been getting more & more anxious watching it go around, frantically bleaching everything after my DS & DH had it. I had to send my DH and (breastfed 2 yr old) DS away for 24 hours because I was too ill to look after the little one but couldn't bear the thought of DH hearing my bum explosions D & V symptoms in the bathroom (we live in a small flat where even the smallest of farts can be heard from any of the other rooms. I cannot bear it, there is no privacy at all).

Since then my anxiety has escalated (sp?) out of control - I just failed to walk 5 mins to the local shop (and there's a public toilet there ffs!). I won't let DH sleep in the bedroom in case of any night-time incidents. I sweat & shake & generally struggle to keep it together when anyone else is in the bathroom (we have no separate loo). I've barely eaten anything in the last few days, partly because there's something very reassuring about being completely 'empty'.

I'm not very well am I? What the hell do I do?

fluffyanimal Mon 26-Mar-12 14:30:53

What you do is get yourself to your GP and ask for therapy. Poor you, this has really taken over your life.

I sympathise because my dad had this to an extent, he didn't like long journeys, always had to be the driver so he didn't have to ask anyone to stop for him, and always needed to know where the nearest loo was. Hope you can get yourself some help. You say you've talked to counsellors about this before - did it help?

keithlemonsbackdoors Mon 26-Mar-12 14:36:02

Thanks Fluffyanimal. I've had hypnotherapy, which didn't really help (I didn't know it was possible to panic while under hypnosis and there were scary things in my 'safe place!) and CBT type counselling which was sort of helping but the NHS only funded 10 sessions - when they ended I was back to square one again pretty quickly. I'm thinking I need drugs. Lots of drugs!

PaigeTurner Mon 26-Mar-12 14:37:40

I don't share your phobia but I do have a phobia of it coming from the other end (vomit, obviously). I recognise your safety routines!

I find anxiety is always worse after a 'close call'. I have suffered panic attacks which left me housebound so I know how you feel. What helped a lot for me was listening to Paul McKenna's instant confidence CD. I did that twice a day for 3 weeks and my attacks were much, much less after that.

Did either of the counsellors help? Have you had cbt?

PaigeTurner Mon 26-Mar-12 14:38:23

Sorry x post there

madmouse Mon 26-Mar-12 14:45:07

This is not just a phobia I think - there are some pretty strong OCD tendencies in there.

Not sure you need loads of drugs, but some anti-depressants that also work on anxiety may well work. Most modern ADs (called SSRIs) do this. Or you could ask the doctor to try Amitryptiline which can also help with IBS type problems (bowel trouble).

And maybe ask to be re-referred to CBT in the hope that it clicks better this time.

keithlemonsbackdoors Mon 26-Mar-12 14:49:25

PaigeTurner - you have my sympathy! I know there are a lot of emetaphobes out there which I suppose is sort of similar (I don't even know if there's a name for what I have!) In the past I've told DH that my panic attacks are to do with fear of being sick as it seems much more acceptable than the truth (and explains the need to always know where the nearest loo is!).

HeidiHole Mon 26-Mar-12 14:50:51

I am very simliar. Mine was brought about my having Crohns disease and after a terrible year where my condition was not under control, and (like many sufferers) I did actually shit myself in public I became understandably obsessed with everything you mention

Have to know where every loo is
wont go in other peoples cars, I have to drive
wont use bus
hate queing to go through airport security as I feel trapped and cant just dive through to the loo
dont like going on dog walks with other people
hate HATE new places that i haven't found the loos for
wont go on holiday or anything with other people

the list is endless. I was the same as you that the FEAR was a self fullfilling prophecy and the butterflies in tummy actually set the bowels off and I'd find I needed the loo!

Now my chrons in under control much better and my saving grace was CITALOPRAM for the anxiety. Honestly I could kiss it, after being in floods of tears with GP and unable to even leave my house to the corner shop because there was no loo there (5 min round trip) my GP gave me citalopram and it changed my life (no exaggeration!)

Get the anxiety sorted and you'll find that you poo a lot less and worry about it a lot less. I'm not "cured" as I still wont do the things above on the list, but I am happy in my day to day life, driving about, walking dogs, doing supermarket shop and walking into town. Whereas I couldn't even go to supermarket (that had loos in!) because i was too scared to queue at the till with my food in case half way through scanning my stuff I had to go to the loo and the checkout lady would think I was mad if I ran off leaving a queue of people!

HeidiHole Mon 26-Mar-12 14:52:37

oh my other pet hate is when they put the seat belt signs on to land in the plane! panic! hate that part, I try and sleep or something so I'm not sitting feeling trapped in my seat.

keithlemonsbackdoors Mon 26-Mar-12 14:53:49

Madmouse - amitryptiline sounds very interesting, will google to see if it's BF friendly (although in my experience the info is all bit vague). I used to take sertraline which helped a bit. Tummy is currently churning like a washing machine blush

keithlemonsbackdoors Mon 26-Mar-12 15:01:00

OH HeidiHole, you poor poor thing! I completely understand about the supermarket queue thing - I do all my shopping online. I won't buy petrol anywhere except self service ones either. And as for getting on a plane... Never. In. A. Million. Years. You are far braver than me (and actually have a medical condition to deal with), I take my hat off to you! Will google citalopram too...

madmouse Mon 26-Mar-12 15:03:41

In terms of bf there is very little hard data as it is not ethically permissible to test drugs on bf babies. It is brilliant that you are bf your 2 year old and you should not stop until you are ready. I do believe that at this age the percentage of her diet that is bm is much lower than in a baby and therefore she would get very little of your medication.

keithlemonsbackdoors Mon 26-Mar-12 15:32:19

Diorrhoea (you'd think I'd be able to spell it, wouldn't you?) is listed as a side effect of citalopram! shock

So Madmouse, you think it could be more of an OCD thing then? There is a lot of obsessing involved but all the compulsions are fairly logical. I know that most ADs cross over into breastmilk but as you say, DS isn't actually going to get much of whatever I'm taking. He's down to 2 feeds a day (more or less). I spoke to my doctor about the possibilty of going back on sertraline (helped a bit, but not enough, pre-pregnancy) and was told I 'should really' give up BF first, even though it's ok to take it during pregnancy!! I think they just automatically say that once your baby is over the recommended 6 mths - doesn't really help with the informed decision making! Makes it feel like I'd be going against the docs advise to take anything and carry on BF. Like I need any help with overthinking!

madmouse Mon 26-Mar-12 15:50:57

Don't rule out citalopram as it can be very effective with anxiety. I've said this on another thread as well but headaches are listed as a side effect of paracetamol....side effects are not the be all and end all and you won't get them all.

HeidiHole Mon 26-Mar-12 16:48:28

I've been cleared to stay on citalopram (currently 8 months pregnant) and will be BFing as well.

Also like madmouse says the chances of you getting the side effects are very small. And if you were one of the tiny few who got diarroeah whilst on it you could stop it. I've had no side effects and have been on it for 2-3 years now!

Please though do take steps to get the anxiety under control. I'll also take rarely imodium (the off the shelf anti-diaorreah medicine) if I have to do anything scary just for peace of mind. Blocks me right up, I couldn't go then even if I wanted to! Just pop 2 tablets an hour before the event and you'll not poo for 24 hours smile mentally its a relief as well to know I've taken them, and theyve NEVER EVER failed me.

keithlemonsbackdoors Mon 26-Mar-12 17:30:57

I have tried imodium once, when I was a bridesmaid at my sister's wedding - I had evil stomach cramps all day then threw up in the evening and had to go home - not good! Glad you have found something that works for you and Congrats on the imminent LO! Agree about the side effects thing, should just throw the info leaflet away really! have made a Drs appointment for tomorrow...

BeckyBendyLegs Tue 27-Mar-12 08:24:43

I can relate to your fear, as to a small degree I have a similar thing and it has waxed and waned over time. I lived in Japan for two years and TMI alert and I never found out what caused it but for the second year I was there I pretty much had squits the whole time (although I'd only ever go first thing in the morning). I tried cutting out water, milk, tinned ice coffee, bread, rice all to no avail. I never found out what caused it. It was horrendous (but liveable because it generally only happened once a day). So as a consequence I developed a phobia about needing to go in public (and public toilets in Japan are not generally very nice). It was kind of understandable while I was there as I'd have to go asap when I got the urge but as soon as I returned to the UK, almost over night, things returned to normal but the fear stayed. It got better gradually as I realised that chances are I'd have time to go but then I had children. Two things happened, the first is that I had a third degree tear with DS1 and had less control than previously (i.e. if I needed to go, even though it was 'normal', I needed to go now!) and I realised that it would be more difficult to find a toilet in a hurry with pushchairs and little people. And the thing was that the fear made me need to go when we were out so it ended up that every time we went to town I'd need to go to the toilet which was a pain. I'm not so bad now, again it has gradually got better, but it is always at the back of my mind when I go on long journeys, go anywhere away from home etc. So I understand your fear.

I would expect CBT to help, I've had it for other issues and phobias (also have a phobia of balloons!). I probably have used CBT techniques to help me with this issue without really realising they are CBT techniques such as thinking 'what's the worst that can happen' and then realising that that probably won't happen and mindfulness - thinking of the objects I see, thinking of anything else, except the fear that I might need to go and there is nowhere close by to go to (I once got very panicky in Sainsbury's in a queue because I felt the need to go) and started examining each letter on the magazines, the people around me, and the things on the conveyer belt etc. It does help.

That's a long essay! Sorry, hope it helps a bit. I think what has happened with you is that your norovirus has meant your fear has spiralled up and up out of control and it needs to come back down again. You need to look at it from a different perspective. Think about what is the worst thing you fear. What will happen if that happens? Is it that bad? Is the fear worse than what is feared?

keithlemonsbackdoors Wed 28-Mar-12 18:31:44

Thanks Becky. I've been reading up on mindfulness - it makes a lot of sense. Did ypu teach yourself these techniques? As for if the worst happened, it would be the end of me, I really could not cope with the humiliation. My doctor has prescribed sertraline and referred m e for

keithlemonsbackdoors Wed 28-Mar-12 18:34:01

...cbt! Stupid phone, I give up! Toddler has hijacked the laptop...

madmouse Wed 28-Mar-12 20:38:44

You will find that if it doesn't happen it will not be the end of you and you will survive just fine.

CBT will hopefully help you.

You can teach yourself mindfulness - there's somne good stuff on Youtube.

keithlemonsbackdoors Thu 19-Apr-12 22:47:42

An update:
I'm on my third week of sertraline, been referred for cbt.
Things are not going well. I've graduated onto panicking about my DH getting in from work; it builds over the afternoon, by the time he gets home I'm in a right state. I count down the hours until I can reasonably go to bed to get away from him. I dread the weekends & fantasise about running away.
I can't go on like this.

Housewifefromheaven Thu 19-Apr-12 23:07:24

Oh you can't go on like this. Perhaps your dosage needs adjusting or changing? Or maybe it takes a while to settle? Not sure really as ive never had antidepressants. I take propranolol for anxiety instead. You should get yourself another appointment with your doctor for a chat. Good luck.

BettyInc Sat 15-Jul-17 11:02:43

I know this is a zombie thread but its given me hope to find someone else in the world the same as me.

Anyone else out there? I could have wrote the opening post word for word...

Treetop66 Sun 23-Jul-17 15:21:58

i cant beleive someone else suffers the same as me. Wow. How are you doing now hun.

Treetop66 Sun 23-Jul-17 15:23:02

yes me im the same.

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