Grief and Anxiety at the Grocery Store {Scriptic}

The simplest of responsibilities and tasks have taken on momentous proportions, since Clara died.

I have social anxiety and it can get pretty intense at times. I’m not a fan of crowds or loud noise, and when you combine the two, in a Christmas shopping expedition, for example, I become grumpy and short-tempered. I shut down, in a manner of speaking, and must get out of the store NOW.

My anxiety is not one of my prettiest traits, that’s for sure.

Today is the last day of school/work for the kids and David until January 2, 2013, so I had grocery shopping to do, to prepare for everyone being home for breakfast and lunch. I really didn’t want to go shopping. The traffic was awful at 10 on a Wednesday morning, which is never a good sign. I have had a bad couple of days, emotionally, and grocery shopping had taken on this huge and scary dimension. It was quickly becoming something I could not do, in my anxiety-ridden mind.

Honestly though, it had to be done.

It doesn’t matter whether I’m tired, emotionally tearful, scared to death of simple tasks like picking out chicken, bread and milk and paying for them at the register. And what if there are babies in the store? Surely there will be at least one tiny baby, snuggled in a sling on their mama’s chest, or riding in their car seat at the head of the cart. Maybe they will cry, and then I will be paralyzed with the desperate want to scoop them up and comfort them, coupled with the wild need to get as far away as possible, to shield my hurting heart from the grief and the constant reminders of what we have lost.

All that aside, my kids have to eat. I don’t have the luxury of sending the housekeeper to do my shopping (wouldn’t that be nice though!?), and I won’t send my husband into the store after he’s been working all day. Don’t get me wrong — I have done this, many times, but I feel guilty when I do, like I have reassigned one of my responsibilities to him, when he already does so much.

Plus, I had already sent him a text to let him know that I was off to the store, asking if he needed anything. I didn’t want to disappoint myself. I didn’t want to disappoint him, though he would never express disappointment. No, this would be self-judgement of the worst kind, if I didn’t make myself do this chore.

So instead of giving into the urge to drive right past Aldi’s and head for home, and the warm comfort of my freshly-made bed, I pulled into the parking lot, parked the car, and after many deep breaths, headed into the overflowing store.

I did survive. There were no babies in the store this time, so I didn’t have a meltdown. I got what I needed and I even managed a brief conversation with the cashier. I was quite proud of myself, to tell the truth.

But that won’t make it any easier, the next time I need to go to the grocery store.

For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Diane Trujillo gave me this prompt: “I’m off to the market. Do you need anything?’.

 I gave Tara Roberts this prompt: Write a letter to the first person who ever broke your heart.

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I'm Heather, a married mama of two teen girls, a stillborn baby girl (7/1/12), and a sweet and wild preschool girl (4/2/14). I've been blogging at The Destiny Manifest since 2001. I like to write about appreciating all of the beautiful little things that surround us, particularly in the face of grief, infant loss and mental health issues. Every day is an adventure!

Latest posts by Heather O. (see all)

  • JanineHuldie

    Oh I can only imagine Heather and will say this you are doing the best you can for you now. You need to definitely cut yourself some slack and definitely be proud of yourself for accomplishments such as yesterdays with grocery shopping. You are a strong and wonderful brave woman and I am proud of you for this and so much more 🙂 🙂

  • I had some PTSD a couple years back and the social anxiety was the worst. I’m sorry you are having to deal with that!

  • You know that I deal with social anxiety myself, so I can understand how huge such a simple thing can be. Attempting it after the loss you’ve suffered would be unimaginable.

    You are such a beautiful and strong woman. I know that just getting out of bed some days can be hard, so I applaud you all the more for extra accomplishments.

  • I can’t imagine how stressful it must have been to feel anxiety combined with the fear of seeing a baby. You are am amazing woman, Heather!

  • My son has been diagnosed with panic/anxiety disorder. It can be debilitating. Something as simple as a trip to the grocery can turn into a very scary experience. I get this, and empathize.

  • I have a child with panic/anxiety disorder as well, and debilitating is the exact word for it, for both of us at times. It’s very hard living with it, but I think harder still to see your child living through it. {{{hugs}}}

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