I have had a 'Radar' National Key Scheme key for some time.
I find public toilets impossible, they are smelly and unhygeinic with wet (urine) soaked floors, rudimentary handwashing facilities, and only slightly better than wetting myself. I will only use one when absolutely desperate. I therefore thought that as I was Autistic I would get a key so I could use the 'disabled' toilet.
Problem is, I cannot bring myself to use it. I do not have a wheelchair or have physical problems using a 'normal' toilet. The problems I have are a mental aversion. On the odd occasion I have used the 'disabled' toilet (what a strange name, it is not the toilet that is disabled, it works perfectly!) it is because the normal one is out of use. And it has always been a lot cleaner and more pleasant.
So should I just grit my teeth and bear the normal toilets? Or should I ignore the (perceived) thoughts of those who think I should not use the disabled toilet. Or is it the case I should not use the disabled toilet at all as they are only intended for those who are physically disabled?
I understand your dilemma. Being seen coming out of disabled toilets when you don't have a visible physical disability can be embarrassing.
There are however clean public toilets about. Try upmarket department stores. Or wetherspoons pubs. They always refurbish toilets when they take over a pub.
I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who has trouble with toilets when out and about. I won’t even use the ones at work which isn’t ideal.
My solution (similar to what Robert has said) is to have a few “safe” places where I know I can go to the toilets and they will be in a pleasant state. Alternatively, I have been known to deliberately not drink anything while I’m out so that I don’t have to go - not recommended but I’d rather that than the anxiety of using a toilet when out.
I’ve never used a disabled toilet personally, though I probably will have to soon when I have surgery on my knee. I do see the issue with people being judgemental if you don’t have a physical disability, but in my mind mental and physical disability should be equal, especially when it comes to basic needs such as using the toilet. Some places are getting better at putting signage on their disabled toilet that say things like ‘Not all disabilities are visible’ and I think that’s a good idea to help with some of the judgemental people.
Most importantly, try to come up with a solution that doesn’t make you anxious or uncomfortable.
Greetings, to "Brains from Thunderbirds"...(!)
I must say that I am not certain as to why I reply to this... but I support what you say and Mr.Robert123s answer. However, this is my own experience...
From Schooldays, I had built up an aversion to using "public/communal" toilets. Nowadays, I use the toilet before going out, and "hold it", until returning to a safe place again...!
You are totally correct about "Disabled" Toilets... spacious, cleaner (-ish), "more pleasant"... I use these when I can find them, and it is indeed all of that - compared to "normal" toilets...
(And as I type this, another answer has said what I was about to say - do not eat or drink while being away from a safe "toileting" area!)
...Finally, I say, do not be embarrassed or reluctant, for two reasons: 1- you are not the only "not in a wheelchair person" who does this. Just sit outside and you shall see (!). And 2 - ...You say that you have a National Radar Key Scheme... you yourself must have qualified for it, and so you are perfectly within your rights to use it. (Wave it at anyone whenever you exit!)
I have been to public toilets that are very good, some exceptional (North Berwick and Dunbar in Scotland should be on the tourist map as how public toilets should be, at least when I visited ten years ago, even fresh flowers in them!). But not always can we choose to use good toilets, often the only toilets available are the poor ones, and not always a disabled one available anyway....! But sometimes there is a disabled toilet adjacent to the one that is disgusting ....sometimes at a bus station, sometimes in the park ... and often when the other toilets are shut which is when I will use the key.
I do face another problem with public toilets and that is complete lack of privacy. And this is alleviated with a disabled toilet with toilet and washing facilities togethet
There are very many disabilities that are invisable, but still mean you need to have an accessible toilet, yours is one of them so use it. No one else knows why you or anyone else uses that bathroom.