The United States of Pantswetters: “How peeing my pants has made me a better person”
Urinary incontinence is a widespread problem, but why can’t we talk more openly about it then? Get a chance to learn from the founder of theusofpee.com and the wider community.
Ok. Here we go.
This story has been taking me about half a year to write. I knew I wanted to write about it for ages but, it felt like it’s such a vital part of my personal life that I was always hesitant to actually publicly ‘come out’ with it.
But, right now is the PERFECT moment because, as of May 23rd, 2015, I am completely off medication.
I can still NOT believe that I can say that.
Most of you reading this will still have absolutely no clue what I’m talking about. So, without further ado, here’s the story.
I have been peeing my pants since 1991.
We all start our lives by peeing our pants while being babies. I took it to another level though, with my mum thinking that I was just too lazy to go to the toilet up until I was sixteen.
It became a family habit to bring an extra pair of pants and underwear.
I think I had an extra wardrobe in elementary school with all the clothes I borrowed. Especially that purple pajama was super comfy.
Something that I’m super thankful for is that I have never been bullied when I actually happen to pee my pants again. Of course, I became super skillful at hiding my wet pants throughout the years, but especially at a younger age, I had never had a negative reaction when classmates discovered it.
I am so very grateful for the supporting and extremely loveable people that have been in my life and helped me with dealing with situations in a hilarious way.
Looking back at it now, I can definitely fill a book with all the situations that I got in for peeing my pants. My God, there are so many..
Here are the amazing benefits that come with incontinence;
- I got to buy new pants quite often (to mums frustration I never brought the ‘first pee kit’ that she always carried in her bag when I was little);
- I can spot a toilet from miles away (something to put on my resumé, for sure);
- When losing all our luggage on a family trip, my mum, of course, had an extra pair of pants and underwear for me in her bag — ‘gotta love dem fresh underwear!’;
- I got to go to the toilet in the weirdest places; anything that is within a reach of 10 meters did the job;
- You will never get a phobia against public toilets, they are your beacon of hope. And last but not least;
- Going on a safari? No problem, plenty of space between the elephants, lions, and zebra’s (there’s about 7 “lake Annet’s” in Tanzania and Kenia)
‘The Ultimate Pantswetter’ will come to a store near you soon.
A more fancy word to say that you pee your pants often is the word incontinence.
There are quite a lot of different types of incontinence, mine being;
urge & stress incontinence.
Symptoms (with medication)
- Peeing your pants when going from cold to hot & back;
- Not recognizing the urge to go to the toilet and feeling it waaaay too late (which means you have about 5 seconds to go when you feel you actually have to);
- Extreme intolerance to anything that has caffeine;
- When under stress, stabs in the stomach that makes you want to go to the toilet when you really don’t need to; and
- Intolerance to alcohol, which results in peeing your pants when you really, really don’t want to (think; crazy parties and Carnaval)— especially the next morning, which is a nice bonus to an already terrible hangover.
But hey! These are all a thing of the past now. On June 10th, I had my last session at the physiotherapist and am completely off medication since
But HOW you ask?!
- By finally going to the hospital to tell them that my medication didn’t do the job and probably wasn’t that healthy to take every day for multiple years;
- By crying my eyes out when hearing that they wanted to take me off my medication (imagine you’re floating in a boat on the open sea and somebody is telling you they’re taking your boat away) —probably the most retarded comparison ever, but whatever;
- By having about 328 desperate phone calls to my parents, sister, and best friend on what to do next;
- By gathering courage, and start going to a pelvic floor specialist;
- By being absolutely shit-scared to do all the pee measuring stuff at work;
- By being comforted by some of the most wonderful colleagues at VBAT and finally;
- By recognizing the problem.
In short, the diagnosis was that I always have been tense in my upper legs and butt (who needs squats when you have incontinence?!). I did not drink enough water or any type of liquid throughout the day and did not recognize the signal that my brains gave me to tell me that I should probably go to a toilet in the near future. And to top those wonderful life qualities off, I am blessed with weak pelvic floor muscles.
After realizing that I am always tightening up my muscles, I learned to relax them and with the help of a few wonderful days on which I measured all my liquid intake and toilet use during a period of 24 and 48 hours, I realized that my bladder was fine and I just needed to drink more and stop feeling stressed about going to the toilet.
Geez, not a massive problem at all, right?!
Well, luckily not anymore. And that’s why I wanted to write this story down. This has been a problem that has dominated my life in many ways and has challenged me throughout all those 23 years. But, as a side effect, it has made me a better person. (Man! I sound like such a grown-up..)
I have become more understanding to other people because of it and I noticed that telling this story about myself has helped others to open up about their life problems as well, which I am extremely grateful for.
So, here it is. Out in the open.
The story of an ex-incontinent almost 24-year-old girl.*
*2016 edit: Unfortunately, all my symptoms have returned and I’ll be going back for a second opinion at an academic hospital at the end of September.
*2021 edit: Since the second opinion, I’ve had pelvic floor physiotherapy and psychological conversations about coping with the symptoms. This has helped tremendously. I’m still off medication but my symptoms are all still there, I can just cope with them better and make sure I’m not experiencing them daily.
This story was published in support of ‘The United States of Pants Wetters’.
I would like to thank the most amazing, extremely talented and always loving Nora Kanutte for helping me built the website that I envisioned back when I was being re-diagnosed in December. I love you, Nora. You ROCK!