Bathtub Anxiety

Please don’t judge, but I have one struggle that I deal with every day – taking a shower. Go ahead and say it, “Gross!” I must stress that I don’t have ablutophobia, which is the fear of showering. I have no fear, in the traditional sense, but I do hyperventilate a little before getting in and can’t wait to get out the second my foot hits the porcelain. Anecdotal surveys among friends and acquaintances, who have some sort of mental disorder, has confirmed to me that this is a common problem.
When I was a teenager this was not an issue. In fact, I use to get my mom upset because we would run out of hot water due to my long showers. One could assume that I’ve become claustrophobic, but that would be a wrong. I can use an airplane restroom with ease, and it doesn’t get much more enclosed than that. In fact, as a kid, I would sleep in all kinds of tight spaces, such as in our bookshelves. One evening I spent the night at my older sister’s place and she became concerned when she couldn’t find me in the morning. It took her awhile but she finally found me curled up and snoozing in her closet (No coming out of the closet jokes, please. Too easy of a target.)

When I get up in the morning, I put off getting into the shower as long as I possibly can. When I start brushing my teeth I get a twinge of nervousness because I know getting into the shower is the next step. When I reach the point that it’s time to step into the tub, the anxiety kicks in.

When this problem first arose, I was usually depressed or manic. When I was depressed, I was too damn listless to drag my ass into the shower. When I was manic, the idea of just standing there doing such a tedious task, was almost more than I could bear. Being manic or depressed exasperates the problem, but being mostly balanced these days has not changed my reactions.

I’m lucky to have Maurice around. Having him gets me to coax myself to get under that dreadful showerhead. Without him, I’d easily spend all my time inside wearing my jammie bottoms, a t-shirt and not showering for days. Pause for a moment and deep breathe – it will help you get that image out of your head.

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7 comments on Bathtub Anxiety

  1. Interesting – with my panic attacks, I find that the shower is one of the best solutions to helping me calm down. I don’t always get in immediately (especially when the panic attack makes my feet numb or my hands are numb), but I find that just listening to the water helps.

    OK – so does this fear extend to baths rather than showers? What about swimming pools?

  2. Swimming pools are fine. I love being in the water. Baths I can handle a little better because I can keep the glass door open, so I don’t feel trapped. Someone once referred to a shower as violent and I think that’s a good description. Stuck in an enclosed environment with jets of water pounding down on you. At least that’s the best description I can give.

  3. I am right there with you. I hate showering and will put it off until infinity. It’s gross, yeah, but that’s life. Life can’t always be beautiful. It sounds like you ARE making yourself shower, so kudos to you. I am doing pretty good if I can get one in every other day. I’m working on it in therapy, but to many people they don’t see what the big deal is. I haven’t pinpointed it, because I feel so good when I’m done, but the actual getting there is horrible.

    1. That’s the same with me, Rose. I feel so good after the shower you’d think I’d want to get in therem but it nearly paralyzes me. Just know you’re not alone when it comes to this.

  4. How interesting Bradley. I don’t suffer with this but make up for it by plenty of other weird things! Haha We have to laugh right? Hey, I’m being serious I really didn’t know you had a male partner. Clearly I haven’t read everything you posted but I didn’t know this. BTW: It makes NO difference to me, I’m just stating a fact. Best go now and put myself to bed as it’s late here in Oz, Nite! Hugs Paula xxxx

    1. We can each have our own kind of weird. Yes, Maurice is my husband. I can’t imagine getting through my roughest spots without him.

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