I fear public restrooms

by Jake
(Norman, ok. US)

I am very glad that I'm not alone in this. For all my life I've never spoke to anyone who has the same kind of fear that I do. I rarely speak of it because of the shame I have. My wife and only a few really close friends know this about me. I fear public restrooms. Pipes plumbing water running in the back ground. Noises pipes make when a toilet is flushed. Boiler rooms hot water tanks exposed plumbing. If I go into a public restroom and the toilets have that exposed chrome pipes I won't use it. The ones that are very tall and exposed scare me to death! I'll feel like I'm starting to have a panic attack my breathing will become fast and my chest will hurt. The really weird thing about it, if someone else is in the room with me I'm not scared at all. If I have to go to the bathroom in a very public place like an amusement park, I know there will be several people inside there and I'm completely comfortable. I don't understand it and I hate this fear! I'm a 38 year old man with 5 kids. I consider myself physically strong and in decent shape. My line of work is demanding and I have to take charge of various situations and sometimes save lives. And to have a fear like this makes me feel weak. Sometimes the pilot light on our hot water heater will go out and I have to re-light it. I can't go there by myself. My wife has to come out there with me and talk to me the entire time. I'm so thankful that I have her. She understands and doesn't judge me or think I'm weird. I wish there was something I could do to overcome this fear. I feel trapped! I've even spoke with a therapist about it and he didn't have any idea how to help me with this fear or any answer where it came from. I'm not afraid of swimming pools I really enjoy swimming. But if there's black lines at the bottom of the pool I will not get in it by myself. The toliets with the black seat and white body freak me out. I hate them! I even feel uneasy if I'm at a store like Home Depot and I have to walk down the isle that has the water heaters on the shelves. I can do it but I have a nervous feeling that slightly hits me. For most of my life I thought I was the only person who had a fear public restrooms and to read everyone else's stories about it gives me some comfort. If anyone out there ever finds a name reason or treatment please share it!

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