An Anxiety Adventure in a COVID-19 World

Photo by nrd on Unsplash

A COVID-19 world, where shelter in place orders and social isolation is the new normal, there is still one sure thing. You have to eat food, and therefore you have to go shopping. Yesterday, after about four weeks of isolating and not leaving my house, I went on an adventure! If only it were so simple.

Anxiety in the Worst of Times

I have probably talked ad nauseam about my anxiety of just staying indoors. The fear of the unknown. Of what tomorrow brings and if being an introvert is enough to get me through this social isolation. I was never a social butterfly, but I did leave my house. Writing in coffee shops have a certain ambiance that is so helpful when writing. The fantastic coffee helps as well. An introvert usually can be in a social situation without participation, but now we live in a world where social distancing and isolation are encouraged. Rightfully so, but I miss being in the world.

A trip to the store should be one that is relaxing—getting food so that you can live. Not so much when my anxiety is out of control at this point in my life. I had to go out, and it was a solo trip because they advise it as the best way to limit the people. It was a sight I was not ready for at all. The entrance to the grocery store was fixated to restrict the people. There were lines set up by shopping carts and yellow tape that police carry herding people into the store. A security guard stands at the front making sure people have masks on. There were lines in which you have to follow to make the flow in the store better and efficient. It was out of an Orwell novel, but it is our new reality.

Every five minutes or so over the PA, they remind us that social distancing is encouraged and to only grab the items that you wish to buy. The process is slow as you wait for people to leave an aisle so that you can go down and pick your items. When you hear someone cough or sneeze (which I did because of my allergies), you get looked at like a social pariah.

I was overly anxious before even stepping in the door, and it was worse when I got in. I had to move fast, which is impossible now. It did not help that breathing in a mask is uncomfortable, but with glasses, you have to contend with the constant fogging when you breathe too hard. I almost passed out from the anxiety twice. Somehow I prevailed and got my supplies for the next four weeks. It was perhaps the worst experience so far since COVID-19 took over the world.

After putting away my groceries, I took the rest of the day off to recover. My anxiety was still through the roof until I finally laid my head down for the night. I feel better today, having put the experience behind me, but I know it is a matter of time when I will once again have to shop for food. Perhaps I can try the online shopping and pick up option and see if that helps. Who knows. I will put it far from my mind because it is a problem for another day. Stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting


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32 thoughts on “An Anxiety Adventure in a COVID-19 World

  1. I so feel you on this James! In one week I had two very different yet both uncomfortable shopping trips, both I forced myself to do as you put it, so I can live! Last Saturday at my local grocery store I could feel in an extremely acute way the fear and anxiety swirling through the environment and how much that was weighing upon everyone I passed by. I pushed myself to get through the store as quickly as I could. It was so hard for me being the social butterfly I am, yearning for interaction and small talk that was no where to be found. When I got back home I cried.
    Yesterday I made myself go out again but to a different grocery store. Thos trip wasn’t as heavy yet still very strange. What I did this time was tell the workers I encountered that I appreciated them deeply and earnestly. I even ran into a nurse in her scrubs and told her she is an angel on this planet right now. When I arrived back home I felt much better in comparison to last week.
    As the days unfold, turning into weeks and now a month I am so grateful for what I do have and chose to focus on that. We will get through this together. Thank you for sharing your experiences James😊


  2. Thank you for sharing this James! I live with anxiety too and I can totally relate to how you are feeling now. I live in Los Angeles and just trying to get the basic necessities has been so challenging for me and my fiance. I wish you all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Going to the grocery store is incredibly stressful! I have to go tomorrow and I am really dreading it. I have learned to not go at normal hours but instead after 7 p.m. since there are fewer people.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your experience James. I can definitely relate to the uneasiness and anxiousness due to Covid 19, where everyday things suddenly become unbearable decisions between your safety, social responsibilities and your sanity. Great post and great conveying on your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. For me, grocery shopping is already stressful because of my anxiety. Shopping during a pandemic is impossible. I’m thankful that I have someone who is willing and gracious enough to do the grocery shopping for me. Stay strong! It’s hard but you can do it. Be safe, My Friend.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Oh gosh… that super sucks. I don’t know what it’s like where you are but here we have the option to have groceries delivered to us, the only thing is you have to have a specific minimum dollar amount on the groceries you buy and I think there’s also a delivery fee. If you’re just needing $20 worth of groceries, it’s possible it can end up costing you much more than that for delivery but if I could afford it I would completely use the delivery service every time I grocery shop, pandemic or not…

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. This is one of those life changing events that will reverberate for years to come in our lives. The way we do things. The way we look at things. Life will never be the same but perhaps that is a good thing. Even a pessimist like me can be hopeful that the world changes and we along with it.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sorry you had to go through that. It does feel like we’re part of a dystopian novel or in a bad SF movie and it gets particularly intense for those of us dealing with anxiety or who are germophobes… Perhaps it would be helpful indeed to try shopping online, see how that goes. I’m sure it will be less draining and consuming for you.

    The best of luck! Stay safe and keep an eye on your vitamin D levels if you spend a considerable amount of time indoors.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I hear your struggle. Anxiety can be paralyzing.
    I share your frustration with my glasses fogging up while wearing a mask and I haven’t found an answer yet.
    I can tell that you don’t give up easily. You will find a way forward. One day at a time. You are not alone.


  8. I’ve used Amazon for years for paper towels, toilet paper, etc. but never for food. I just started using Amazon Fresh and Instacart and I love it! I’ve always hated going to the grocery store. Now it’s such an ordeal making sure I have a mask and gloves. I look forward to this pandemic being over soon but I don’t think we’ll ever be the same again. This has shown me just how dirty the world is and that alone increases my anxiety.

    Liked by 1 person

      • You can schedule your order to be delivered within 2 hours and they leave it right at your door. I’ve never had a problem. You can get a quick refund for anything that’s damaged. I make sure I put on gloves when I handle the groceries and wipe everything down. It really is great!

        Liked by 1 person

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