I apologized, left my groceries on the counter, and ran to the car. We ended up in the hospital overnight.
A couple days later on a Saturday, I tried again. My husband was home with ‘Buddy’ and my sister came with me to the store. She drove. As we came down the hill to the store I felt my pulse quicken. My throat thickened and swallowing became a conscious effort. My head felt buzzy. I took a deep breath and laughed. My sister asked me what was so funny. My answer was PTSD. I was laughing because I was really glad I had written a blog about it. Doing so made me aware of it. My awareness allowed me to take a deep breath and take control of my body back.
It was a very odd trip through the store. Every time I reached up to an item I had the same dialogue in my head; “I need eggs. No, you got eggs. No, you put eggs in a cart, but they did not go home with you.” “I need cream. No, you got cream. No, you put cream in a cart, but it did not go home with you.” It took so long to make my way through the store because of all this back and forth triple checking. I was so glad my sister was there to help me laugh about it. I think it would have been very scary to manage alone.
Then, half way through the store, a woman accidentally walked off with my cart. Internally I completely panicked. “NO! Don’t make me go through all this again!!! I can’t do it!!!!” I managed to calmly say “Hey, that one is mine.” But I wonder if the terror registered in my eyes, because she was profoundly apologetic. Again, so glad my sister was right there so I could tell her about my panic and disable it with laughter. I got through the trip and restocked my fridge, but honestly, I held off as long as I could before going back. I even thought about having it delivered. I didn’t. I worked my way through instead.
I do find the story interesting though. I enjoy telling it and marveling at the way a persons body can sometimes take control...or try to.