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Phobia of showers (Page 1)

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Well, I've developed a huge phobia of taking a shower, I haven't in two months. If you're going to make fun of the situation please don't even post on my question! I'm normally a VERY clean person, and used to shower so much!... One night I took a shower in my bathroom at my mom's house, and I was VERY anxious about doing so in the 1st place due to the fact it's VERY enclosed, and I have anxiety as it is... So, I went in the shower, and next thing you know I'm freaking out && crying my eyes out, and I tell my boyfriend to hold me, but I tell him I can't feel it... That's where my showers ended... Sad I still wash my hair in the sink, and wash my body with washcloths... I just.... I don't know what to do! CANT FIND A DOCTOR.... && plus I'm pregnant... help?
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First Helper virginiawc
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Users who thank mizz_manna_xo for this post: Sugarglider  PhobiaGirl 

replied January 18th, 2009
Experienced User
Serious Question
Is it just being in the shower stall or are you refusing bath also?
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replied January 18th, 2009
Serious Question
I can't even go in the bathtub... Nothing... It's messed up...
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replied January 18th, 2009
Experienced User
hi mizz manna xo...

you have anxiety issues and anxiety issues (like panic attacks) are famous for making phobias.

being as it is, you have to continue to fight the inclination for your brain to create a new phobia constantly (my guess).

there are a couple of things you have going for you. 1) you have taken showers ALL YOUR LIFE without consequence. 2) you know and understand that this is an irrational fear.

here's what i would do, and i'm no-body, i don't have any special knowledge, etc. just my 2 cents.

go in the bathroom at your house. get naked. turn the shower on. put an arm (up to your elbow) in the shower. consider it a victory and stop.

next day, put an arm and a leg up to your knee.

next day, wash your arm up to your elbow and your knee down to your foot.

keep doing this type of thing until you get a little more and a little more of your body in the shower.

don't expect it to be easy. it won't be. it will be hard and you are likely to panic like HELL, but remember all the time, that this (showering) will not hurt you. it has never hurt you and that's that.

i had a roomate who had severe panic issues and this is the approach she took when she had a phobia of leaving the house. this is what she did to just get to the parking lot to the mail box. it took her a few days, but was well worth it. now she can go out and go to the grocery store, go to work, etc. she still has big problems (so it doesn't work perfectly) but guess what?! she can go out now and she couldn't before.

if you'd like for me to be your pal and encourage you, i'll be glad to.

good luck!
jasmine
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Users who thank Jazzy77 for this post: mizz_manna_xo 

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replied January 18th, 2009
THANK YOUU!!
Thank you so much. I hope that will work. It's just I feel so pressured even going pee by the bathtub. Ugh... We'll see how it goes...
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Users who thank mizz_manna_xo for this post: PhobiaGirl 

replied October 24th, 2012
Hi, It was a relief to find that I'm not alone. Given that it was 2009 that you posted, have you managed to overcome this - if so how! I would love to hope that i can get better Sad
Natasha
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replied January 18th, 2009
Community Volunteer
Ablutophobia
The Fear of Washing or Bathing

Ablutophobia, defined as the fear of washing, bathing and cleaning is an intense fear that poses no or little danger. Just thinking about bathing could cause a number of symptoms such as: breathlessness, dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, feeling sick, shaking, heart palpitations, inability to speak or think clearly, a fear of dying, becoming mad or losing control, a sensation of detachment from reality or even an anxiety attack. Most people who are suffering from the phobia are surprised when they find out that they aren't alone. Ablutophobia is surprisingly common. It is caused by the mind as a protective mechanism. From some point in the past there was a traumatic event linking with washing, bathing or cleaning. It could have also been formed from a realistic scare or even from movies, TV or seeing someone else experience trauma. Some people who suffer experience it all the time and some others experience it in just direct situations.
Not only does it effect your health and quality of life but, Ablutophobia can have a severe effect on anyone that works or is in school; living with the fear can make it hard to concentrate on something and fully give your best. Ablutophobia can cause a loss of tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your lifetime due to lost opportunities, poor performance or grades, or promotions that pass you by.
There are two different treatments for Ablutophobia; the ever popular temporarily suppress the phobia with potent, prescribed medicine, and therapy, self-help treatment.
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Users who thank zigemyster for this post: mizz_manna_xo 

replied December 10th, 2009
afraid of baths and showers
I had a nervous breakdown and since that time, a few months ago, I have had a serious fear of the bath and shower for no apparent reason. The only help I have found is to fill the tub with just a tiny amount of water and use that to wash in. Lately I've just been forcing myself to take a shower and once I get in it isn't so bad but I'm still afraid and if I think about getting a shower days before it's going to happen (I make myself take one about every 3 days) I still feel as nervous as if I were thinking about going to the dentist. My older brother held my head down under the water at the beach when I was little and this is the only thing I can think of. But before the nervous breakdown I took baths and showers for years without any trouble. I just don't understand why this is happening.
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Users who thank siddigfan for this post: PhobiaGirl 

replied December 10th, 2009
i know how u feel about ur anxiety i have phobias too. I also hate being in a store cuz im afraid ill have a panic attack. I have terrible anxiety.... you just need to relax. Whats the scariest thing about a shower for you? Is it only because its in a enclosed area.... do u get claustrophobic?
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Users who thank dmaimone1 for this post: PhobiaGirl 

replied December 10th, 2009
I do have claustrophobia but it never bothered me to take a bath or a shower all my life. This just suddenly apppeared along with the nervous breakdown and also includes driving my car though I make myself do it. Also balancing my checkbook and handling money. I pray to God these pbobias will go away.
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Users who thank siddigfan for this post: PhobiaGirl 

replied February 3rd, 2010
i'm with you
thankyou sid, i have been reading so many redundant blips about ablutophobia, but nothing i can identify so readily with as your description. Post breakdown, pre-bankruptcy, and its been almost a year still of this madness, I don't know what to say about it other than it's debiliating and awful and i feel for you. If u make progress, even if u don't i want to know about it.
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Users who thank freeport for this post: PhobiaGirl 

replied April 6th, 2010
Anxiety
I have suffered from anxiety for years and have been to lots of therapy. The only thing that can help a anxious person is to face your fears and do whatever scares you. If something scares you and it can cause no harm . . . force yourself to do it. You may never become totally comfortable with the situation that frightens you but must just do it anyway. The mind is a very powerful thing. p.s. My brother-in-law was a counselor he use to tell me if something scares you tell yourself lets see how scared can I get . . . you''ll be suprised at reverse psychology and what it does - try it sometime - whatever scares you tell yourself I am going to do it and just see how much I can scare myself.
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Users who thank captaindefinder for this post: PhobiaGirl 

replied April 13th, 2010
THANK YOU FOR SHARING
WOW! JUST WOW!!!........I have been strugling with the exact same thing......I just can''t believe someone else is feeling the way I feel about showering/bathing. I too use to be extraordinarily clean, then (& I have NO IDEA why) I just abolutly feak about having the water touch my body......my nerve''s go crazy. I hate the feeling of water & just fear my hair getting wet & not drying or just a "washing away" of my comfort zone. I have cried sooooo many times & my family can''t understand at all! What''s worse is that I have explained this fear to my therapist & she just totaly ignores it!....It has ruined my life over the past year & u have know idea what it means to actually hear someone else is going through the same thing~
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Users who thank JennyNJ for this post: Sugarglider  PhobiaGirl  tasha6284  tasha6284 

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replied June 9th, 2010
I'm so glad to hear that I am not the only one who experiences this. I only experience anxiety about showering or bathing when I am in a new place i.e. a hotel or someone's house etc. I also find it hard to use a public restroom or an unfamiliar restroom. I wonder if anyone else experiences anxiety in these situations??
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Users who thank kat_61706 for this post: PhobiaGirl 

replied November 21st, 2010
I'm so glad this forum exists. I've been suffering the same way over the past few months. I think for me, personally, it was a shower fall compounded by pre-wedding stress. Believe it or not, it seems like more of the wedding stress than the fall! Perhaps the stress if pregnancy is similar to the stress before/throughout a wedding. Perhaps that kind of pervasive stress is the key.
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Users who thank Sugarglider for this post: PhobiaGirl 

replied November 21st, 2010
I'm so glad this forum exists. I've been suffering the same way over the past few months. I think for me, personally, it was a shower fall compounded by pre-wedding stress. Believe it or not, it seems like more of the wedding stress than the fall! Perhaps the stress if pregnancy is similar to the stress before/throughout a wedding. Perhaps that kind of pervasive stress is the key.
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replied November 22nd, 2010
This also seems to dovetail with an increase in clutter in my condo. I feel like my living space is unmanageable at times, and I feel like this absurd phobia has to do with that sense of lack of control over my surroundings.
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Users who thank Sugarglider for this post: PhobiaGirl 

replied November 23rd, 2010
I have the same problem as well. I saw that a lot of you "had no idea" how it started. I just want to say, don't beat yourself up not knowing why. At this point, the why doesn't matter. I KNOW why I have a problem, but it hasn't seemed to do me any good knowing. =) I think mine is mostly the small space, but also that I can't see what's outside the bathroom and I can't hear anything once I'm in the shower. That creates the most anxiety for me. I feel too vulnerable once I'm in there and can't "protect" myself as effectively if I was fully clothed. This creates a horrible cycle. It has severly disabled my ability to live my life like I need to. I have other phobias as well, but I believe their all basically from the same problem. Living with anxiety this long has also created some new phobias. Thanks for listening. I have never before in my life ever said that to anyone.
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Users who thank LifeofPi for this post: PhobiaGirl  sheenamarie 

replied February 2nd, 2012
This is me exactly! So glad I am not alone. I never could figure out why before reading ur post. It is definitely the vulnerability feeling for me. Just wish it would go away. I want to be cured of my anxiety for good. I'm onwellbutrin and zoloft and have been for 10 years. I feel like they just don't help anymore. My situation seems to be getting worse. My husband doesn't understand.
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replied February 1st, 2011
I have this same thing. I tried talking to my former therapist about it but she told me I wasn't so bad, she'd seen people in mental hospitals who hadn't showered in almost "8" days. And I was thinking, that's nothing! But she showed she thought 8 days was gross, so I didn't go into how bad it was because I didn't want her to think I was disgusting!

So there needs to be some anonymous online forum-type thing for this. I've searched & searched. It took me hours to find this site with actual people & their experiences with "ablutophobia", as opposed to just definitions of it. If anyone knows of a forum on this, please post a link!
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replied February 1st, 2011
showers and cold
Something I have maybe figured out about my fear of the shower is a sudden fear I have developed of the cold. I'm afraid the water will be or get cold. I am afraid when I get out of the tub I will be cold. It's winter and I'm afraid to go outside in the cold. I feel so vulnerable. Does anyone else feel like this? Love Siddigfan You are all in my prayers. Please pray for me!
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replied February 11th, 2011
Shower & Life anxiety
Wow, what a relief. I know others have said it too, that they're glad to have found others w/this fear. I used to love taking showers, never thought twice about them, and now, like a lot of you I panic just at the thought of getting in. Once I'm in, the shower feels great and I badger myself over being so afraid. But then I panic over having to dry my hair. Like others have written, I don't put my clothes away anymore, bills are piled on my table, books are going unread, I never want to leave the house. I was given Xanax and yes, it worked. But I don't want to become hooked and for it to be the only way I get thru the day. Once I leave the house, I'm okay. But I will come home from work on Friday night and not leave the house (even to get my mail) until Monday morning when I have to go to work. As a result, no grocery shopping or laundry gets done. Thanks for letting me vent.......I think there have just been too many changes in my life over the past few years (divorce, lost the love of my life to another, have moved 3 times, got very sick, had to change jobs, lost a lot of co-workers due to layoffs, no financial assistance from ex husband, no gal friends to hang with...) Anyhow, hugs to all of you!
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