Crohn’s disease is hard to deal with in the privacy of your own home, but on the road, it can be painful and devastating.
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s is a gastrointestinal disorder that causes inflammation of the bowels.
Scientists don’t know the exact cause of Crohn’s disease, only that it occurs when the immune system malfunctions.
The symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:
- Severe stomach cramping
- Chronic diarrhea
- Joint pain
- Mouth ulcers
How does Crohn’s affect your daily life?
Crohn’s doesn’t leave much room for social anxiety as far as public restrooms are concerned; chronic Crohn’s disease patients rely on these “safety zones” to get them out of embarrassing predicaments while traveling or just shopping for clothes. But if you have anxiety about using a mall restroom, for example, then you’re likely to avoid leaving the house at all. Don’t let awkwardness or nervousness about using public restroom facilities keep you from enjoying life.
Here are 6 coping mechanisms for overcoming public bathroom anxiety:
1) Check for supplies. Before you lock the door, make sure that there are enough toilet paper rolls and seat protectors in your stall. This sounds obvious, but imagine how embarrassed you’d feel if you had to beg a total stranger for supplies after the fact.
2) Stall for time. While in the bathroom stall, preoccupy yourself with rummaging through your messenger bag or purse, covering the toilet seat, or examining your shopping bags until you have enough privacy or until the noise level increases. Once you hear other occupants leave, you will probably feel more at ease.
3) Always opt for the private stall, as opposed to the open urinals. Resist the temptation to use the handicapped station, which is really reserved for people in wheelchairs.
4) Keep an mp3 player, such as an iPod, in your purse or pants pocket. Nobody will think anything amiss if you play a little music to mask background noise.
5) Plug your ears and close your eyes to create the illusion of being in a quiet, private restroom, and your nerves will react accordingly.
6) Pretend you’re at ease, even if you feel differently. Sometimes, just putting on an outward display of self-assurance will make you feel more self-assured on the inside, as well. Breathe slowly, and smile or hum while checking yourself in the mirror. Act cool and confident, and everybody around you will assume that you are.
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