Wear headphones, that is what I do. It makes the experience almost enjoyable for me. And go when its less busy.
I've tried that before and it just makes me more self conscious.
I used to feel pretty uncomfortable shopping, too. I felt that everyone was watching me, and that they were judging my purchases ("You don't need those Oreos, fatty!"). In the end I realized no one cares what anyone else is doing.
One exercise that helped me was to keep aware of when I had anxiety and felt myself tensing up...then I'd make every 'clenched' muscle go loose and take a deep breath. When you're all seized up from anxiety, your anxiety skyrockets, and then the old habits of thinking everyone is staring at you comes back.
I also forced myself to talk to cashiers. Before all I'd say was: "Hi. Debit. No cash back. Thanks you too." I'm now trying to expand on this. They all wear nametags, right? They're telling you their name, so use it. "Hey there Rick, you guys are awfully busy today. Am I missing out on a sale or something?" Make it lighthearted; usually you'll get a chuckle (fake or genuine, who cares?) and a few seconds of BS banter. Saying something first drops the stress of the cashier asking YOU something and puts the ball in their court. They work at registers for 8 hours a day scanning barcodes; I'm sure they'd love someone like you to talk to them for a minute.
Oh, and if they make you feel uncomfortable? Pay and leave. That's why grocery stores are awesome for exposure therapy...you decide how long you want to be there.
Those are some good points Sda. I usually ask them how they are doing even if they don't say anything first. I might get brave and try the name thing, I remember a friend doing that once and the cashier had a big smile after hearing her name.
I am exactly the same. These are my reasons.
I always feel like eyes are boring into the back of my head in the queue at the checkout. I hate people being behind me, especially while I'm emptying my trolley. I often go red, drop things, behave like a complete lunatic on my bad days.
I'm always paranoid my card will be refused, even though I KNOW I have enough funds. It's only happened to me once, but I'm now scarred for life apparently.
I wear sunglasses inside during the day cause I hate the silly eye contact with strangers that goes on when perusing the aisles.
I never linger and I need a grocery list when I go in otherwise I become easily flustered and leave without items I need.
I hate seeing people I know. A few weeks ago my college teacher was in the other checkout. I just had a stupid smile on my face the whole time I was unloading my trolley. Did not acknowledge her, but I thought the smile was needed in case she thinks I was being totally rude.
I've shopped mostly at night but have changed my pattern again because I had an embarrassing episode with a checkout guy who was asking me personal questions 2 weeks ago. Like what I did for a living? Why did he want to know that? I felt sick, so I've avoided him since, and yes, I was rude and just shook my head when he asked, and he said 'okay, you don't have to answer'. A W K W A R D!
Did I mention that grocery shopping is on the top of my list of anxiety triggers?
Your first paragraph almost describes me exactly. I usually try to let as many people go in front of me as possible. It is also on the top of my list.
I used to absolutely hate grocery shopping, but now I...well, I wouldn't quite say I love it, but I don't mind it.
The absolute worst part, like other people mentioned, is the fear of having my debit card decline. I have that fear whenever I use it, even if I have a $10 purchase and I KNOW I have much more than that. Luckily my bank has a no-fee ATM right by the grocery store that I go to, so I usually stop there first for money. Problem solved!
Try to find a grocery store with a self-checkout if you can. They're easy to use, the lines are usually shorter, and--best of all--there's no cashier to judge you!
Also, grocery lists come in really handy for avoiding people. If you see someone you know before they see you, look down at your list, look like you forgot about something, and go in a different direction to get that thing you "forgot".
Granted, these are only avoidance techniques, but it's better than having an anxiety attack in the produce aisle.
I'm still kind of scared that people will think I'm some pretentious, fanatical health nut if they looked in my cart. I'm allergic to gluten (protein found in everything delicious) and casein (dairy protein), so pretty much everything in my cart is either a fruit or vegetable, soy-based, or has a huge "GLUTEN FREE!!!!!" advertisement on it.
I have been fighting the urge to go to the self checkout. I figure this is something I need to get over so I haven't used that more than once. The one time I did ****ed something up and ended up having to have someone help me.
Thanks for all the responses
I am going to suit up and go to the grocery store now!!