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

James

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