It’s just the grocery store. I don’t know why I can’t go there. It’s not something I want to hide from. I need to get food, feed myself. I don’t know why I am so afraid, so anxious, to go there. I tell myself all I have to do is get in the car. All I need to do is drive there. I’m okay leaving the house, getting inside my vehicle. I can do those things. I love driving. It makes me feel free; I don’t get that tight feeling in my chest that happens as soon as the automatic doors to the grocery store open. That’s when the chills start. I begin to fear that it will take over, that feeling that I can’t shake. I’m not okay. I’ll never be okay and it’s not going to stop. What’s wrong with me? Everyone gets their food this way, or most people do anyway. Now you can order stuff online I guess. But before the Internet, people just went to the grocery store and bought eggs and milk and broccoli. Why can’t I just do that? It’s because there is so much to think about when I am inside the store that it overwhelms me.
I can’t do anything, that’s why. I’m not normal and I’ll never be. I’m actually okay with the “not normal” part. I just want to be able to go buy food at the store like millions of other people in the world seem to be able to do, but I can’t. It’s not fair, and I don’t want to be this way. I’m okay being quirky or even crazy, but not being able to do something so basic like go into a store, get some items and check out is so upsetting and I feel like a total failure.
It’s just the grocery store. Why am I so afraid of it? Because there are people there, that’s why. When I enter the store, I have to look at people. They might say hello to me, they might smile or ask me how I am. They might ask me where they can find something even if I don’t work there, which I obviously don’t since I’m not wearing an apron or a nametag. But they don’t care. They still want to talk to me and I hate talking to people. I utterly despise it because when I was a child my mother forced me to do it. She made me talk to anyone who visited with us. I was so shy. I didn’t want to look these strangers in the eye, but she forced me to do it.
When I go into the grocery store, I remember my mother. I remember her letting me sit in the cart. I recall strangers looking at me as we cruised down the aisles; well not cruised, as she was leisurely in her pace, maybe glided is the right word. We glided down the aisle and strangers smiled at me, they sometimes even waved. I finally covered my eyes because I didn’t want to see or hear them. My mother yelled at me to open my eyes and that I was being ridiculous. I was only five.
Now, I just can’t go there. I won’t do it. If I have to order in, I’ll do it. If I have to get my items online, I’ll do that. But I won’t go to the grocery store because I’m afraid of people that I don’t know at all.
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