When someone has Agoraphobia, the fears are somewhat irrational. Knowing that, doesn’t change the fear. If someone would say “you have nothing to be afraid of”, I would think “NO SHIT!” I knew there was nothing to be afraid of, but it didn’t matter. There is no “off” switch. The sensations are just there.
One problem is that a panic attack can happen at any time and anywhere. Since I was afraid to have a panic attack, that meant I was afraid to go anywhere, at any time!
Before the major panic attack, I always had some anxiety. Shopping was one of those activities that could trigger it. I always stuck to the stores that were usually empty, or go at times where there would be less people than usual.
As the medication started to work, I experienced less and less panic and became a little more adventurous. I had not gone shopping at all since THE panic attack, except online. On this day, I decided to go to Walgreens. It’s a small store, relatively empty, and I could get a few things I needed.
On the way there, my mind was working against me. What if something happens? What if I have a panic attack? What if I feel like running out? My mind was/is always my worst enemy. I ignored the “what ifs” and made it to Walgreens. I walked in and the store was pretty vacant. The cashier said “hello and welcome to Walgreens!” and I was thinking “Man, you have NO IDEA what I’m going through right now!” …but I just smiled and said “thank you”.
At first my heart was beating a little faster than normal and I was nervous, but as I started walking down the hall of the beauty products, I started feeling better. I thought “ok, this is doable.” I went down the aisle of the baby products which always makes me smile. I saw cute little diapers, baby bottles, body wash and found a few things I needed for my own babies. I walked up and down every single aisle and little by little, I felt more at ease. I didn’t want to leave because I loved that I could be there, feeling perfectly calm.
An hour later, I was checking out and making small talk with the cashier. Yes, I was overthinking everything, like “I’m going to pick up my bags now” and “I’m taking my wallet out of my purse” but I wasn’t nervous. I walked to my car, put my bags in the back, sat down and drove home, ELATED. It was just a trip to Walgreens, but to me it was another victory, another step towards freedom and independence. It was another step towards living my best life.
Are you feeling courageous? If you are and haven’t been out in a while, go to Walgreens! J
Continue reading my story here: