Panic! at the Supermarket

The moment of Unspeakable Dread
I have arrived at Sainsbury’s
I left my shopping list at home
Not because my sieve-memory has forgotten whether it was regular or Thai basil
Not because I used my last notepad paper with the flowery trim to write it
Unspeakable Dread
Because I now have to improvise what to cook for dinner which shouldn’t be a big deal
All the while catching my breath from ascending the entrance stairs
Which is 50 percent lack of fitness
And 50 percent panic that this lack of breath might indicate asthma
OR obesity OR an increased BMI OR a panic attack OR a silent killer blockage in my veins
Which reminds me to buy Flora not butter
For a newly-formed health plan.

The moment of Slight Reassurance
I am in the fruit and veg section
I am fucking winging this
Because I started with the basics the staples the bananas apples pears milk bread butter
Because I now need to decide what to cook for dinner with limited skills
Slight Reassurance
Despite wanting to cook something healthy tasty vegetarian protein-filled and easy
All the while furiously pacing the ready-meal aisle for inspiration
Which is when I notice that man from the bread aisle
Who is now here and gives me a look which could be him checking me out
OR judging my indecision OR assuming I’m following him OR laughing at me
Which causes me to divert to another aisle
Abandoning a half-formed plan.

The moment of Last-Minute Desperation
I am hovering by the chicken nugget fridge
I am considering climbing in
Because I have now been in this labyrinth of packaged food for twenty minutes
Because I have tried to phone my husband asking what he wants for dinner
Last-Minute Desperation
Which proves fruitless because it goes to empty posh-voiced robot voicemail
All the while thinking actually he should be at home by now
Which is when I notice he hasn’t been online in hours
And I decide he must have just stayed back for a boring long meeting
OR got stuck in traffic OR died in a car crash OR died in an attack OR his phone is off
Which I hope is the case because now I’m biting my nails
And trying to forget these half-formed plans.

The moment of Chest Fucking Pain
I am hopelessly looking at cookbooks
I am subtly removing their plastic film
Because the stabbing strangling clenching gritting tightness makes me breathe faster
Fucking Pain
Because I can’t even get bloody signal at this part of Sainsbury’s
Chest Fucking Pain
Because of a single stupid petty completely irrational reaction to shopping
All the while wondering if this is because I’m stressed about other things
While I feel a fully-formed panic attack explode
Which becomes breathless incessant hyperventilating gasps because I’m useless
OR a snowflake OR a crybaby OR pathetic OR struggling OR actually fine OR going through some things OR absolutely terrified of everything OR attention-seeking OR selfish OR a classic millennial whinge OR tired of explaining myself OR not actually anxious about the fucking shopping list
Which led me to smile at the woman who checked I was okay
Beginning another half-formed plan.

For me, this is anxiety. Would love to hear about other people’s experiences in the comments. Take care of yourselves guys.

Information on symptoms of anxiety:

Information on panic attacks:

Getting help (UK info):

Photo by Fikri Rasyid on Unsplash.

4 thoughts on “Panic! at the Supermarket

  1. This was good and thanks for sharing. I’m always glad when more people get real and share about mental health. I have issues with anxiety too. Over time I’ve figured out some ways to lessen it. Some of the things I’ve done are I know what times I can go to certain stores when they’ll be less crowded or avoiding certain restaurants.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading, and for sharing your own experiences. And that’s a good idea, I think there needs to be more candid conversations about mental health and how people manage it 🙂


  2. This was so honest and real. Probably that’s why I could relate! I have been through anxiety and depression and the whole mess, and I could feel you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading! Sorry to hear you have been through it too, but glad to hear there are others out there who relate, think that’s why it’s important to share experiences like this 🙂


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