Still Living With Bathtub Anxiety

This weeks Throwback Thursday doesn’t go back that far. Originally posted in January of 2014, I’m sorry to say not much has changed since then.

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.

14 comments on Still Living With Bathtub Anxiety

    1. LOL. Isn’t that always the way? I think you and I have done that before. Must be some kind of psychic connection.

  1. I wonder what the source of this fear, or dread is? Interestingggg….. I envy you your “Maurice” – I hope to have a supportive partner one day.

    1. I hope for you too. The key is don’t look for the right one. The last thing I wanted at the time was a relationship…next thing you know I’m on a first date where we laid on the beach, under a full moon and talked for five hours straight.

  2. I struggle with this as well, and have done for years. no one understands when I try to explain, not even my mental healthcare providers. They all just think you are lazy. I actually use a shower chair because it is so exhausting standing there that long, especially with my arms up to do my hair.

    1. A shower chair wouldn’t be a bad idea. It is so exhausting. If we didn’t have a tree right out the window for me to enjoy, I’d really be in trouble.

  3. I don’t understand it but I dread the shower too. It’s worse when I’m depressed but I dread it when well too. I think I don’t like the shower pounding on me. My husband put in a rain head shower which is more soothing than pounding–it helps but I still don’t like the shower. I’m starting to think I just don’t like getting wet because I don’t like to swim anymore either. And of course after a swim you have to take a shower. The strange thing is that I feel so good when I’m done–clean feels good. Go figure. I just push myself to do it.

    1. I think it’s the feel of the water pounding on me too. Feels violent. And, of course, I feel so much better afterwards, but I practically have to be dragged in there to start. I don’t dislike being in the water. I go to the beach a lot, but don’t swim because I don’t like the salt water, but put me in a pool and I can be there all day.

  4. I have the same problem, but mine is more for the work afterwards of drying off, deciding what to wear, and having to blow dry and fix my hair and make up. If I had no hair it would be easier for me. I hate the whole hair and make up thing, but I need to do it to feel like I look nice. And in all reality it only takes me like 15 min to blow dry and straighten my hair and 5 minutes to do my make up. I hate getting dressed because I don’t really have nice clothes so I always feel like I look like a bum. Oh well.

    1. Isn’t funny how it’s only a short amount of time, but it can be unbearable? Good to see you, WIL

    1. It’s horribly exhausting. I think I’m going to search the net and see if there’s been any studies done on this.

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