(And I still haven’t learned the answer…)
My bladder and I have a love-hate relationship. She filters toxins from my lil bod… she helps me to balance my electrolytes… she waits patiently whilst I stagger to the toilet in heels whilst blind drunk before instigating Operation Pee…yada yada. I return the favour by not making her wait too long and by ALWAYS peeing after doing the dang thing…if you know what I mean (sexy sax plays softly in the background). She does however get a wee-bit (you’re welcome) of hate from me because of my frenemy OCD. Most people learn their way around their bladder’s needs as toddlers (as did I) however a little later on in my childhood I developed an obsessive and intrusive thought pattern that I needed a wee when I in fact did not. Just when you thought OCD couldn’t get any more niche eh?
Our brains and their brain-babies (brain-babies are thoughts beeteedubs) hold a lot of weight, and for me personally, thoughts can begin to manifest physically. In other words, my brain would worry that I need to pee, then it would send this signal to my bladder, then my bladder would need to pee. BUT SIKE she didn’t really!
As a child, this created a lot of anxiety in my crowded little brain in terms of going anywhere that may not have a toilet. It also made me anxious about going to new places because I didn’t have a concrete plan in my mind of where the toilet would be. Long car journeys caused anxiety, as did drinking liquids before going anywhere.
As an adult, I’ve dropped the majority of these anxious thoughts. I drink a metric shit-tonne of water daily, both prior to leaving the house and whilst I’m out. I have a very vivid memory of peeing outside for the first time at 18 whilst wasted at an outdoor party with my friend (who couldn’t bloody believe she was actually teaching me how to pee outside for the first time). I remember something clicking after this, as I realised that being caught short with no toilet around isn’t actually the worst thing in the world. I wouldn’t die or get ill, I’d just have to pee in some grass next to a turnstile whilst a rogue duck watches me knowing full-well that I don’t have any toilet paper. I do however still worry about not knowing exactly where the toilets are in new places, but I think this perhaps has more to do with generalised anxiety, which causes me to visualise and plan ahead.
These days, the most annoying part about OCD-bladder is the fact that sometimes my bladder tells me I need a pee, but when I go – no pee happens. For a short while, this caused me to worry that there might be something wrong with me physically (any other worries my brain wants to chuck into the mix?) so I went to the doctor and it turns out that my pee-hole is in great shape and it’s just a psychological issue (so you can all stop worrying about my pee-hole now okay guys).
So why in fresh hell does this happen eh? Basically, my OCD brain is like one of those little grey absorbent sponges that people use to clean their sinks, except it doesn’t clean sinks; it helps me to pick out which food I want and ALSO it helps me to see through the cloud of bullshit that lingers around fuckboys. If I worry about something once, or even show a small amount of concern about it, instead of it being a passing moment which is forgotten, my brain absorbs it and lets it fester within the depths. It festers like a small disgusting piece of Bolognese in a grey kitchen sponge. DAMN YOU, FILTHY SPONGE. It then reappears as a much larger issue like an obsession, or a ‘physical’ issue, or a compulsion. In this scenario, the trigger was probably just me being desperate for a pee in public one time, or perhaps I watched a TV programme where someone peed themselves. Whatever the trigger was, OCD swallowed the whole darned thing, licked it’s lips and promised to make my life a touch more difficult.
These days, I’m a very confused little gnome because most of my need-to-pee anxiety has gone, but the physical side-effects remain, which is irritating because I can’t hone the CBT tools I’ve learned as I’m not sure where the physical sensation is stemming from psychologically. I don’t worry about being caught short, but I still feel like I need to pee when I don’t. A small part of me thought that in writing this post, things may have become a little more clear but no cigar my friend. Maybe I just need to be patient, or maybe I’ll spend my life sprinting to the toilet for nothing – who knows?
Side note: I heard on the grapevine that if you repeatedly count how many times I used the word ‘pee’ in this post, it changes every damn time.