T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 107558
posted 05-21-2013 11:28 AM
This is incredibly embarrassing and there isn't really a delicate way to phrase it, but basically...uh, the short version is, I'm terrified of wetting the bed when I'm sleeping with someone.
The longer version is that I'm scared of both loss of control and public humiliation. Those two things combined to give me an absolutely paralysing phobia of wetting myself in public - I've been terrified of that since I was about 8 or 9 (and I'm now 19). I only became sexually active very recently, and when I began sleeping with people, my old phobia mutated into a phobia of wetting the bed. I should probably note, it's a pretty illogical phobia - as an adult, I think I've wet the bed maybe once (I was sleeping alone, and it was just one of those unfortunate dreams where you *think* you're awake, so you get up and go to the bathroom, only to suddenly actually wake up and realise...yeah, you get the idea). But yeah, the idea of wetting the bed when someone else is there terrifies me. To be honest, my mental health in general is really bad, and whilst I'm doing my best to sort it out, it does mean that I think I may be finding this a little harder to shake off than I should. But then, to be fair, this is an absolutely obsessive phobia that I've had since I was very young, so it's going to be difficult to get rid of. Realistically, I know that obsessing over this will just make it more likely to happen. I also know that if I explained properly, most people's reaction would be sympathy, rather than ridicule or disgust, but the idea of that kind of humiliation makes me want to hurt myself (that's something else I've had a problem with since I was very young...like I said, I'm trying to sort it. Another post for another day). I'm trying not to think about it, but beyond that I don't know what to do. Any advice? It's gotten to the stage where on bad days I would rather just never have sex again because the possibility of this happening frightens me so badly. I mean, I'm having sex and sleeping with people anyway, but yeah.
Member # 90293
posted 05-21-2013 11:41 AM
HI eddrw and welcome to Scarleteen,
Are you receiving any help from a counselor or other healthcare provider for any of your mental health concerns? Dealing with a phobia is not something we're equipped to help anyone with, and in-person help from the right professionals is really the soundest way to approach that anyway. So, if you are receiving any help from a healthcare provider, have you discussed this phobia with them, as well as your tendency towards self-harm? Just to be clear, too, self-harm is not something we're equipped or qualified to help people with here as a sex and relationship education organization. I'm wondering though: Since sex with partners is making you feel so bad and anxious right now, what do you think about taking a break from it until you have a handle on resolving this phobia? It seems to me that taking a break would take a lot of the stress off of you, and probably free you up mentally to take the time and do the work to get the help that will help you in the long-term. What do you think?
Member # 107558
posted 05-21-2013 11:58 AM
Thanks for the response - I'm not currently in counselling. I've been in and out of therapy since I was 12 or so, and I'm intending to try and get a therapist who actually knows what they're talking about (...I've had a few useless ones) after summer. My mental health is very complicated, but it's something I can handle and I'm coping with it, and I'm also capable of separating my various issues from each other, so I don't necessarily need to talk about my mental health when talking about this particular hang-up. (Also, I've got to be honest, if and when I do get either a counsellor or a psychiatrist, this issue's going to be bottom of the list) With regards to the rest of your post - I actually think not having sex could quite possibly be the worst thing to do. I'm not anxious about sex at all - I have quite a lot of casual sex, mostly with close friends, I enjoy it very much, and it causes me very little stress. When I say I'm anxious about sleeping with people, I'm not being euphemistic - I am literally really anxious about sleeping in the same bed as another person, even in a platonic way. The thing is, if I just don't sleep with people...well, it gets worse. It really is an illogical phobia - I don't wet the bed. So when I sleep with someone, and nothing bad happens, that's kind of a relief. If I purposefully avoid sleeping with people, it just reinforces this idea that I have that sleeping in the same bed as someone else is something to be afraid of, and that makes things worse. I can't just have sex with people and then go home and sleep alone, either - like I said, I have casual sex, and I'm not in a relationship, but some of that casual sex is with very close friends of mine, and a couple of them would be really upset if they thought I was just using them for sex - they kind of enjoy the intimacy of sleeping together more than the sex anyway (to the extent that we sometimes sleep together without having sex). I don't want to talk about this with them, since it's so humiliating and illogical, and frankly, I don't want to stop sleeping with them anyway - I just want to be less anxious about it.
Member # 90293
posted 05-21-2013 12:51 PM
I hear you on wanting to be less anxious about this, and on how this isn't your top priority when you are able to get mental health care.
Helping someone get over a phobia really is not what we're trained or experienced in doing, whether the phobia is related to sex (which it sounds like this isn't) ror not. Have you been able to look at any of the self-help materials out there on phobias? Since you know yourself best, what do you think would help with this?
Member # 107558
posted 05-21-2013 01:35 PM
...I haven't looked at any self-help stuff on phobias, so I may do that. I don't know what would help with this - the best idea I have is just trying not to think about it. I'm hoping I'll just get less anxious as time goes on. But obviously, that can be quite frustrating, since one isn't really *doing* anything >.<
Member # 19081
posted 05-21-2013 06:21 PM
I just wanted to jump in and add a couple of things here. As someone with mental health issues and illness myself I know how upsetting anxiety about things can be, and I know that talking to someone can be hard and it often feels like they don't really get it. The thing is often when you really bring up all of your concerns to someone who is trained to help, even the anxiety about wetting the bed, they can help you with strategies to deal with a whole number of things. Sometimes the smallest things that you don't think worth mentioning are important as this obviously is affecting your anxiety levels in some way. I also wanted to let you know that you don't need to feel humiliated by this (not that your feeling that is not normal), but this is the kind of thing that doctors and therapists hear a lot of and they are good people to talk to who you can be sure wont be judging you in anyway, as they are used to this type of thing. Anyway, I hope you can get some useful ideas from the self help materials also!