Shopping anxiety
Daily life poems

Shopping gone wrong. Humans scare me now.

That one-time shopping was stressful. Yay, I now have shopping anxiety.

Pressure mounting on my social nest.

Conversations are increasingly hard to hatch.

Nature has changed my path.

Luring me into the addiction of my own company.

Withdrawal: the abductor of my need for social norms. 

I always thought I needed people more than I do now.

Will I ever go back to inconvenient chitchat again? 

Social anxiety

Shopping in a crowded street

Crowded shopping street.
Photo by Rafael Guimarães on Pexels.com

Shopping has always been my favorite sport. Before you argue with me, it is a sport.

Trying on so many clothes, and half of them not fitting, is a mental war.

Only the strong can win it and continue moving.

Specifically, walking into the shabby stores and finding gems. That takes time and patience.

Sometimes, it means going into more than one store. It can take up to 20 stores for you to find, what you are looking for.

Nonetheless, this has always been a stress relief to me. A thing I truly enjoy. Even if that means others will make fun of me.

Yet, for the first time since, my awkward middle school phase, I found myself loathing shopping.

Woman confused.
Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com

Hating shopping for the first time

To paint a clearer picture, imagine being in Bourj Hammoud, a bustling and hectic street in Lebanon.

Deceivingly, when we first arrived the sidewalks were empty. It was a weekday. Presumably, people would be at work.

It ran way beyond my head that shopping would be a priority for others.

I’m sorry, I fast-forwarded too far. At first, my shopping experience was a shopaholic’s dream.

I found a catch. A really charming bead embodied bag when I was not planning on buying anything.

See, I was supposed to be a plus one. Helping, my younger cousins find their graduation dresses.

In the process, we ended up finding many hidden gems. However, after leaving, a shoe store, a swarm of people arrived.

Dear brain, stop seeing humans as ants and pests

Perhaps, they, the humans, were coming out of a bus. But suddenly the emptyish street was infested with people.

To me, people started to look like ants. That’s new. I never looked at a human and thought: Oh a pest.

Specifically, a pest with one head, that is possibly infected with a disease. I’m sure they were thinking the same thing about me.

In public, I clutched my mask even closer. Hating every second another human came close to me.

Seeing so many people in one place, after living, in a pretty empty and desolate town was jarring.

Somehow, I seem to have developed a fear of humans in this never-ending quarantine. Every step a human took near me, I needed to take 10 steps back.

At some point, I bumped into an old lady, or she bumped into me. Quickly, I added hand gel on all infected areas.

I did not recognize myself at that moment. A germaphobe.

Since it got so crowded, I had to leave. But it finally dawned on me: I am afraid of humans.

Human germs

The moment I realized things are different 👁

I guess it never occurred to me that the pandemic could affect shopping too. I spent my time online shopping to relieve boredom.

There is a stark difference between how I used to shop and my shopping experience today.

Further, leading me to the realization that there are many people with social anxiety about shopping too.

Shopaholic
Side note: This is what I think I look like shopping.

The picture above is how I imagine myself looking while shopping.

In reality, I usually wear a dress, forget to wear pants, and *always always* wear the wrong bra.

Hey, I never said I was a shopping expert.

Shop anxiety and fear after COVID

Perhaps, a lot of my fear stems from the sudden urgency people feel when shopping, as resources seem to dim.

Fights in grocery stores over food. I can’t blame them as grocery options are inaccessible to a good chunk of people living.

Nevertheless, the behavior scares me. I am getting a fear of shopping in person, which I never thought I would experience.

Considering, my favorite past-time is trying on dresses, shorts, and funky outfits, in changing rooms.

The running joke in my family is that every time somebody shops I get something new with me too.

Window shopping
I guess I need to get used to window shopping.

How the pandemic and economic crisis affected shopping in Lebanon

We are going through a shopping pandemic.

More pressing issues are missing like fuel, electricity, water, and food, due to a dollar shortage.

However, this post is superficial and catered to shopping for clothes.

As stupid as it sounds, many of the stores we used to love like: American Eagle, Adidas, and H&M closed.

Or tripled in price. Even, an outlet called Brands for Less is no more.

Our foreign stores are slamming their doors in our faces. Left with the risk of online shopping.

Hence, it is the perfect time to start buying local and support local producers (the ones that aren’t try to exploit you).

Anyway, a good place to start is Bourj Hammoud street, which is home to a lot of affordable clothes.

Fear of shopping.

Conclusion…bye shopping, I need to find a new hobby

Finally, I am afraid shopping won’t go back to normal here. Shopping after COVID is difficult, empty, and desolate.

Stupidly, retail therapy was a way for me to withdraw and dissociate from my problems.

Not anymore. My environment and reality are forcing me to stop being a shopaholic.

That is one positive aspect of living in an economically dying country.

Right now, escapism is not working for me. Although, the retail industry lures in people like me. The shopaholics.

The shopping industry is dependent on people who feel a fix and urge to shop. A compulsion.

Deep down I know, the industry would not survive, if there weren’t more people like me.

Now, I am forced to replace my compulsion, due to the store closures. Instead, I find myself buying masks.

There will always be this itch and burn to shop. However, at the moment, I am just fine.

Even after an unwanted shopping intervention, I needed.

Repeat after me. Shopping is not therapy. P.s. This sentence is a jab at myself.

Time to go to real therapy

Fear of normal things goes beyond shopping.

Today, I can’t imagine headbanging in a concert again. I am doubtful. Would I enjoy so many people up in my personal space?

Which hobby will I hate next? I already crossed out shopping. What’s next? Smiling?

Frankly, it is not the defective shopping that is annoying me. Rather, the realization that normal things are abnormal now.

At least, for me here.

Reasonably, there is no need to overdramatize things. As soon as things open up, a brief adjustment period will be bestowed upon us- and bam.

I’ll be cured of this bizarre shopping sensation.

At least, my wallet has the time to take a nap.

More seriously, what will these life changes mean for future generations?

Is an entire generation going to be afraid of other humans?

happy woman carrying shopping bags on street
Photo by Tim Douglas on Pexels.com

Do you find shopping stressful too?

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