The respiratory thing I had since February is finally starting to lift and I am beginning to get my energy back- hurray! There is nothing like being sick for awhile to make you really, truly appreciate your health.
Something about being down and laid up really triggered my anxiety also. I know that being physically ill is a trigger for my abnormal anxiety to act up. It certainly hasn’t been fun doing battle with my mind while feeling under the weather, that’s for sure.
But today is sunny and clear out. I finished up my chores and then had to go to the grocery store. Well, that bright sunlight hit my retinas and all at once I was afraid of going to the damn store.
My anxiety told me that it would be too much to go to the store today. My anxiety wanted me to ask my husband to come with me. (!!)
No way, this is not going to happen today, I tell myself. I am going grocery shopping and that is that. I am going to do it, and Do It Afraid until the fear melts away…
Driving to the store I kept my focus on the present- on the here and now. I look around and see all the other cars and pedestrians out and about. I focus on my breathing and on my grocery list. At the stop light I see people out jogging and walking their dogs. Everyone seems to have a bit of spring fever, and who could blame them?
There’s just nothing like a bright sunny day to make your spirits soar with hope and look forward to warmer days ahead! 😉
I decide I will make this trip really easy for me. Today is about easing back into feeling ok. I am not going to set myself up for doing something really trying, like going to the deli counter and standing there and waiting and waiting for what always feels like forever. That I can do tomorrow. Today is my first big grocery shopping out in weeks and I am not putting unnecessary pressure on myself.
I also feel compassion towards myself- I am going with a big list, but if I forget things, I’m just not going to sweat it. I will go back again tomorrow and get the rest of the things.
This is practice, this is good for me…
I get to the store and notice I feel shaky and unsteady. The parking lot is full, as it is every Saturday. Not a problem, I tell myself. I get a cart and push it along and get into the store and go right in to the produce section.
I allow myself to not feel hurried and just focus on picking up some garlic and salad and green onions. I am courteous to the other shoppers, and I notice when I look around, everyone is just focused on their groceries. Hey, no one’s focused on me- no one, just me! Relief!
Hey this isn’t really scary at all. We are all just in here doing what we have to do. It’s not a big damn deal. I take a breath and just let it out. This is really ok, everything is fine.
Wow, that anxiety I felt was just a phantom. It’s not real at all. (Why do I always forget this??)There is nothing here to be afraid of…
Reality is always so much kinder than my thoughts about it! 🙂
I get to the end of the produce aisle and continue to the meat section. I fill my cart up and take a moment here and there to pause and feel so grateful to be here enjoying this part of my day.
How wonderful it is to take part in life- to be active and out and not holding back and avoiding the grocery store.
I remember when I used to avoid going to the grocery store. I used to listen in to that anxiety and believe what it said. I would abort my trip before I even got there on the worst days. Other days I would rush through and just fill up my cart and get out of there as fast as I possibly could, lest panic strike, or worse, lest I run into someone I know and then panic strike right in the middle of the aisle.
The grocery store used to be absolute hell on earth for me, because I believed what anxiety said about it. (That the people were menacing, focused on me, I was trapped, and it was dangerous, yada yada, etc., etc..)
Well and as you can see it can still be a challenge for me today, especially on a day I don’t feel my best.
But oh what a difference a little perspective and self compassion and gentle exposure makes.
And you know what really is so cool? When you Do It Afraid, you don’t stay afraid for long! Truly, when you expose anxiety for it’s unreality, it just doesn’t take long for confidence to come back. Now that is something worth celebrating, yes? “:)
Ok, I’m off to do some cooking now.
Wishing you peace,