fear of bathrooms?

by Paul D.
(Columbus, OH, USA)

I am a 34 year-old male, and have a few fears which may be considered phobias. One of the strongest though, and most unusual, especially in my childhood, is a fear of bathrooms, especially public restrooms. It is not a fear of peeing or pooping while in the bathroom, and it is not a fear of germs or contamination. It is not a fear of an intruder waiting to butcher me and make me his next dinner..It is a fear of the restroom space itself. Some restrooms are worse than others. The smaller, the more dimly lit, the more unkept, the worse it is. Over the last 30 years I have gotten much better about it, though to this day I feel quite uneasy in a strange restroom, especially if one of the above criteria are met. But as a kid..I would rather hold it in until I was in pain than use a public restroom, especially in an unfamiliar place. Up until I was in my early teens I would have nightmares about being locked in a restroom, with the lights off, the hand dryer sounding like a 747 taking off, and no way out. Frequently these dreams were accompanied by wetting the bed. I don't have those anymore thank God, but I am curious if anyone else out there shares this phobia, which may just be an offshoot of the much more common claustrophobia (enclosed spaces in general). I have some ideas as to the early childhood origin of my phobia, and ironically, I have a strange fascination with creepy old restrooms. As long as I am not in them.

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