Going to the toilet is not really an activity that you’d think would warrant anxiety. And yet I found myself sitting at a table for well over an hour tossing up whether or not I could just let my bladder stay full.
I’ve been increasingly emotional these past few days. Much of it will be PMS (and indeed PMDD for me) related, the rest of it just straight up depression and obvious anxiety. In short, I’m having trouble regulating what I’m feeling.
So I was looking forward to tonight. Going out to dinner with my boyfriend and one of his friends. There was no set plan. No stress. We always have a laugh together, mostly to my poor bloody boyfriend’s expense (I’m lucky he’s a good sport), and a good time. We decided on a beer and burger bar. The food was great and the laughs free.
And then I needed to pee.
I could see the sign for the restrooms from where I was sitting. It wasn’t a far walk. Yet I couldn’t make myself get up and go. Getting up from my seat was suddenly daunting. My anxiety began bubbling in earnest. I decided I could hold it.
And I kept holding it. Holding it, and holding it. I’m not even sure for how long because I didn’t check my phone once, but it was a long while.
I feel almost ashamed that I was paralysed by anxiety. And over needing to go to the bathroom, of all things. But that’s what it was. I’d never been to this bar before and the unfamiliarity rendered me useless. As it always does in new places, and with new experiences.
Just as hard is explaining it to others. Because they just don’t understand. It’s not an accessible experience for them. My boyfriend often tells me to ‘just come down to the station’ on a Sunday and I simply cannot. My heart skips a beat and and I reply ‘maybe’ knowing full well that I won’t. He comes to collect me instead and tells me that it’s okay.
But I think that explaining to him that just going to the bathroom in a new place was a genuinely terrifying experience for me was new ground for both of us. An incredibly stark example of how strangely I function at times and just how much work existing can be, for me.
I went to the bathroom in the end. A small but valid victory.