Running errands is a difficult task for me, and it always seems as if the errands are never ending. I’m comfortable in my own home for the most part, but when I leave my house, all of my fears start to take over. One of my biggest fears is having someone I don’t know come up behind me. My anxiety kicks in when I’m in public. I constantly look from side to side and front to back to make sure I’m aware of everything that’s going on around me.
There are certain stores that I hate going into on my own or at all. These stores have bright and fluorescent lighting, narrow aisles, and large display cases right at the entrance. These aspects cause anxiety and make me feel trapped and uncomfortable. I would prefer to go to a store that ends up costing me more money, than go to a store that brings out my anxiety. Even the regular store that I go to can sometimes cause anxiety; it all depends on how many people are there. It’s important for me to plan when I go shopping to avoid the crowds.
I also hate standing in line when it’s time to check out. There always seems to be someone behind me that doesn’t know what personal space means. This isn’t just at grocery stores; it happened to me the other day when I went to buy dog food. I despise going to the mall. I’ve actually only been once in the past year. I wasn’t alone, and despite that, I was still freaking out on the inside. These are some of the reasons why I try to buy as much as I can online.
There are so many things that I struggle to do, inside and outside of my home, which is why it’s important that I have a support system. My husband is great when it comes to helping me feel safe while we’re out. He will walk behind me so I know that he is the only person directly behind me. This especially helps while standing in lines. When I feel trapped in an aisle, I normally freeze, but he helps guide me through the store. He will put his arm around me, hold my hand, or hold onto my belt loop, making me feel more secure and ensuring that I don’t get lost. I can also go in on my own if absolutely necessary as long as I’ve taken Valium. I have progressed over time with the different activities that I’m capable of doing. Hopefully, over time, some of the regular errands I run will become easier for me to do.