Thursday, 22 August 2013

Supermarket panic attacks

I really really enjoy them.

I love the fact that an innocuous and very tedious chore turns into such a dramatic adrenalin-fest. It makes my life so exciting.

Not for me the thrills and spills of, say, a rollercoaster. I don't need that. Bungee jumping? Nah. I can have a full blown, I'm going to die, I can't breathe, help me panic attack in the middle of fucking Waitrose.

The sudden palpitations and then your vision goes cockeyed and the light seems too bright and suddenly you know without a shadow of a doubt that you're going to puke. Right here. Right now.

But you have a trolley full of shit and there's no way you're going to leg it out of a supermarket of all places. Plus then you'd have to go to all the faff of bothering your ass to go to the supermarket all over again. Which is tedious in the extreme. I hate supermarkets even when I don't have a panic attack (about 8/10 times). They're dull and boring and expensive and full of twats and the lighting is horrible and, no matter my intentions, I always come out with pretty much the same thing and how much of my life am I going to waste standing in a queue?

Anyway, back to searing panic attack. I don't know about you (if you ever have them, of course, I'm aware that some people don't. I wonder what that's like). I start to sweat and can't quite see properly, I'm swallowing convulsively while simultaneously trying to slow my heart rate down by instigating all the CBT things I've learned over the years. I immediately calculate the time it will take to get to the toilets without looking like a total spaz and make my way there. Dump trolley, in cubicle, self medicate, drink water.

As usual though, I never feel like I can take up valuable toilet space to calm down from a panic attack because probably someone will need it any second now, so after the briefest of respites I scrape together courage and stagger vertiginously to the queue. Always a bloody queue and always a cashier that seems to go so slowly. I fight the urge to grab the shit out of her hand and do it myself and force myself to smile at inane conversation. This is the bit I hate the most. I feel like it's so obvious but then if it was wouldn't they hurry the FUCK UP to help me, because I am going to pass out any second and it's going to be embarrassing for EVERYBODY.

It feels so obvious. My breathing goes jagged and I must be sweating quite obviously by now, I'm probably flushed and possibly look like I'm going to cry any second. So basically look mental.

Finally she gives me the stuff and I can go.

As usual, almost as soon as I'm out of the situation, I immediately start to calm down. No fainting. No puking. Shaking subsides. Breathing normalises and I'm just left with an extremely familiar sense of shame mixed with anger (at myself, at panic attacks, that they're even a thing, that I can't control my own adrenalin, that I still have them after 20 years of having them) and a general sense of abnormality.

And I forgot the coffee.

1 comment:

  1. Exactly the same here. I HATE it when I start getting that tightness round the chest, tingly fingers, the lurching feeling in my tummy when I know I am going to have a panic attack. As you say, you've gone to the effort of shopping. It would be a ballache to ditch the trolley and get out of the supermarket. Mine seem to happen in Morrisons Welwyn Garden city mostly. I have no idea why x

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