Anxiety and Shopping
Shopping can be wonderful, especially if you’re meeting up with your friends, having a look round at things you’ll never be able to afford and then go sit with a coffee and have a good old fashioned catch up and gossip.
The problems can start when you need to go shopping on your own and when you have anxiety.
From my own personal experience I’ve found that I have days when I can cope on my own pretty well, I’ve been able to go eat on my own and even go for a wander and a window-shop.
Other days I have to be in and out as quickly as possible, I have constant intrusive thoughts about how everyone is looking and laughing at me because I’m ugly or have something on my face.
Unfortunately I can’t tell if I’m going to have a good day or a bad day until I’m actually there which is really annoying, so I’ve found that the best thing to do is plan for a bad day and then if I have a good one, its a nice surprise!
The main problem I have with shopping centres is that they’re so overstimulating, especially in larger ones: too many people, too much noise and in the case of Meadowhall, way too hot! I know that part of this is my Aspergers but speaking to other anxiety fighters, it sounds like loads of people struggle with this so I thought i’d cover it in this weeks post.
These are some tips that I’ve picked up over the years from personal experience and also from taking to other people. If I’ve missed any then please feel free to add them in the comments- I want this post to be as helpful as possible.
- Not going to lie, online shopping is my best friend. Its great when you know exactly what you want and you’re willing to wait a day or two to get it. Now the biggest problem for me is that i’m such a funny size in clothing, especially trousers. I can be a size 10 in one shop and then struggle to fit into a 14 in another! I really wish that brands would stick to the same sizes, it would make life so much easier. Luckily most places are good with returns but it is a bit of a faf, having to send things back and wait for the new one. However it can be a lifesaver in emergencies!
- Go when it isn’t going to be busy. I know that this can be hard to judge sometimes but this is something I always try and do. I know not everyone will be able to do this but if you can avoid going on the weekend it will be so much quieter. Ive found that going before 10am on a weekday is the quietest time, but just before closing is another great option!
- Where possible take someone with you. It will help to have someone there to distract you and also give you advice on things. This is vital if you’re like me as i’m so indecisive and hate spending money; I could spend an hour in a shop, pick up loads of things and end up talking myself out of buying all of them! Also my friends know my tells so they notice when I’m about to have a panic attack and can either get me out of the situation or try and keep me calm/distract me.
- Shop in Charity shops. For some reason there is still a huge stigma around shopping in charity shops but honestly, they’re amazing! Almost all of my clothes come from there, have done for years. I have picked up tons of high end, branded items for a couple of pounds! You can get some gorgeous and unusual home wear items too for a fraction of a cost. Plus the money goes to a good cause rather than lining the pockets of big brands. Not only are they great value but, because of the stigma they are usually really quiet too!
- Lists. You’ll notice this will probably be in every post but honestly, lists will be your new best friends! If you know for a fact you need to go shopping for specific items then write them down. I don’t know about you but when I’m anxious I forget absolutely everything. I even forgot my name once when I was having a panic attack! So to make sure you don’t forget the things you absolutely need to pick up, write them down. You can get loads of great apps for your phone or you can stick with the trusty pen and paper. Or do both, whatever works for you!
So there you go, again if you have any other tips I’ve missed out then drop me a comment!