I am scared of taking showers.

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Hi, i am so scared of taking showers…im not scared of the water…im scared to shower/bath after other people…i’ve tried to do it and i cant…i just end up washing up because i can’t do it. it has been like this for about 2 years. it started at my own home and now i cant shower/bath anywhere else..not hotels..not at my friends house…nowhere…i dont know why im so freaked out about it. i juss keep imagining all the germs…i am scared of germs in other instancies sometimes…but its not as bad as this… could i have a phobia…does a phobia even exist for something like this? i know i need to get control of it…i cant go my whole life like this.
on top of that, sometimes when im alone in my room something happens that i can only desrcibe as abuse fantasies. its like im laying in my bed and im this kid being physically abused (spanked)and emotonally abused. i dont know why or what it comes from..ive never been abused…and i do have some control over it…but only some…its like another world…i know im in my room…in my bed…but im also somewhere else…and im aware of both…
am i crazy? i dont know whats wrong with me?

A: The fear of germs you describe is typical of a Specific Phobia. Although most people who have germ phobia wash themselves excessively, your phobia has taken a less common form. You stay away from showers because you are afraid of the germs you think may be there.

Phobias are a subset of the anxiety disorders. Without talking to you at length, I can’t pinpoint what is causing the abuse fantasies. I can only guess that something about the idea of abuse triggers an anxiety response that becomes so intense that you have to dissociate (separate) from the feelings in order to tolerate them. That would account for your sense of being in two places at once.

Anxiety disorders and phobias can be treated. You can do a web search to educate yourself more about symptoms and treatment options. But I do think you should see a mental health professional to get a complete evaluation and to decide what you want to do to reduce your level of anxiety and perhaps eliminate the phobia.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Mar 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). I am scared of taking showers.. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/03/01/i-am-scared-of-taking-showers/