Last month I came to the realisation that I never go shopping on my own, partly because I suffer with crippling driving and parking anxiety when I’ve got to drive to unfamiliar places with risk of getting lost (please tell me I’m not alone on this!) alongside just general anxiety of being out on my own for fear that something bad will happen.
So, my day off during the week came around and I had an appointment in the morning about 5 minutes away from a huge shopping centre with about 3/4 huge multi-storey carparks, and that was when I decided to rip the band aid off and just go and do it. Plus I was in desperate need of some new clothes and I realised that I needed a nice outfit for a wedding I’ve been invited to.
To put in perspective how bad my anxiety was on the day, I had a panic attack as I was parking my car for my appointment because I was scared I wouldn’t be able to get out of a space once I finally got in it. That then happened again when I thought I was lost trying to find my way to the multi-storey carpark and finding a space to park in that wasn’t the size of a peanut.
Once I finally got parked, the fear sunk in that I might never find my car again (irrational I know..) so I took a photo of where I’d parked and rang my mum to tell her about my triumph and to tell her where exactly I’d parked in case I forgot.
So I made my way into the shopping centre, and my sense of achievement was crazy! I literally felt like I could take on the world, for about 5 seconds. Then it occurred to me that I’m all on my own and that I’d also need to repeat what I’d just done to get home!
After this realisation I decided that I would go and have a cuppa before I start shopping to celebrate facing my fears and anxiety head on and this way I would actually face another situation which makes me anxious; which is sitting on my own in a restaurant or café alongside having cake which the lovely eating disorder voices in my head were very adamant would kill me. But guess what, I didn’t listen to those voices and it didn’t kill me! Woo!
I don’t know why I was ever so anxious about this one, because as soon as I got myself a cup of tea and a slice of chocolate cake and started reading a magazine I forgot all about the people around me and it was bliss. Highly recommend it.
Once I finished my tea and cake I felt a lot calmer than before and it set in that I can do the following:
- Take as much time as I want looking at stuff.
- I don’t have to worry about being indecisive and wanting to revisit the first shop I went in 3 times..
- Learn to stop worrying about what other people will think about stuff I’m trying on.
- Go and get a snack when I’m getting hungry instead of feeling like I need to wait for other people to be hungry first.
- No panicking about picking up clothes in shops and comparing my clothes size to whoever I’m out shopping with.
- Try on as many clothes as I want without feeling rushed.
And let me tell you, I had an amazing time once I’d realised these things because I could just be myself and do what I wanted, taking as much time as I wanted.
Whenever I go shopping with other people I spend a long time looking at clothes with them and then hardly ever buy anything for myself. This is partly because I never feel like I have enough time to try everything I want to on, so I just don’t buy them.
But this time, because I was by myself, I spent about 2 whole hours in Primark (mainly because the shop is so damn huge!) trying on as much stuff as I could get my hands on; and after trying on so many clothes I came away with quite a few lovely pieces and some really cute shoes!
Then I went to around another 5 shops and another café before heading home! And after all of that I came home with 4 new tops, one new jumper, a maxi playsuit, 3 pairs of shoes and a load of new makeup! I felt like Alicia Silverstone in Clueless!
As scary as it was for me to go shopping by myself and face my driving anxiety, the benefits I got from it were so worth it. So worth it that I’m already planning my next trip by myself! I’m even debating an overnight trip to a spa!
Moral of this story, if you’re anxious about doing something or scared of doing something, give it a try and take your time with it, it will seem scary and stressful at the time but you’ll soon come to realise that you’re so much stronger than you think you are.
Also, I completely forgot to mention that throughout my time shopping I was very lucky to have both my boyfriend and mum message or ring me every so often to make sure I’m okay and staying safe which definitely made me feel more comfortable and confident; so if you’re going to do this and are super nervous, ask a friend or family member to keep tabs on you to give you a little more confidence and security. Trust me, something as little as this goes a long way!
Have a great weekend everyone!