I can't tell you how relieved I am to have found this site. I've been going to therapy for about a month for depression due to things at work and in passing mentioned my fear of being in other people's houses or public places and having to use the bathroom. I've never thought of it as a problem since I've had it forever but she was surprised I didn't mention it earlier. She suggested I google my symptoms and I found this site. I already feel much better after reading many of the posts. I suppose I'll tell my story here; I think it would help.
I was diagnosed with IBS about 10 years ago (I'm in my late 20s now) and have been obsessing over what I could and couldn't eat to control my IBS. I think this led to an intensification of my not wanting to use the bathroom when other people were around. Now, it's gotten to where I don't go to friend's houses or parties or somewhere where it will be quiet with only one bathroom and everyone could hear me. I can't go to my fiance's mom's house anymore because she has a small apartment with the bathroom right next to the living room and her house is very quiet. I have been to her house a couple of times and was so panicky we had to leave within an hour on Christmas. I also won't ride with someone in their car somewhere and will rent a car to drive myself so I can leave when I need to to go home and use the bathroom. Most recently, I have to attend seminars about twice a week and have to sit in the very last row on the end next to the door in the back so I can leave if I have to go to the bathroom or if my stomach is making noises. One thing that I have found helps is Eater's Digest tea with fennel, peppermint and ginger. I don't know if it physically helps but I feel safer if I am holding it during a seminar. Just last week I had a horrible time at a seminar that was in a different room than usual and there was only one exit in the front of the room so everyone could see you leave. I lasted about half and hour and then got so panicky that people would hear my stomach if I walked out and everyone would know I was going to the bathroom that I DID leave because I couldn't breathe. As soon as I got outside, I didn't have to use the bathroom and could breathe again. I know this is a long post but I feel so relieved to tell someone and have them understand. Thanks so much