I must have walked through a dozen or more shops. With my wardrobe looking full of tired old clothes that have been worn so much they have become predictable, I was on the hunt for a new me. But I also had a budget and I had a time limit due to other commitments that day. If only I knew all this would be a trigger for something I was about to experience, something I thought I had overcome. I was yet to find out this battle had not yet been won and it would tackle me again today.
I dressed quite casual as I knew there would be lots of walking, changing and trying on clothes. I had started with Myer as they have the latest fashions from many stores, and thought I would quickly find something there. But I quickly became disappointed, they either didn’t have my size or the ones in my size just were not what I was looking for. So I left Myer having felt like I wasted so much time.
I was feeling this sudden pressure that I had to find something, I couldn’t go home without buying anything, as this is usually what happens to me. I will often try on so many clothes and walk away not having purchased anything. I am not sure if it is because I am worried about spending the money, or that I am not 100% happy with how it looks on me. What I hate more than anything is trying something on, thinking I am happy with it, making the purchase and then not being happy with it when I get home.
So on to the next shop, which had a huge sale. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I loved their skirts! So I grabbed a handful and the shop assistance happily offered to place them in the change room for me, while I kept searching through the racks for more bargains. Well as soon as I tried on the first skirt, I knew none of the others would fit and that was the largest size in the store. I think their X/Large is like a size 14, how unrealistic is that! Another disappointment.
So I moved on, entering shops I had recently visited but their stocks had not changed and there was nothing new to try on. Knowing the time was kicking on and I had to leave soon I thought I would go into Katies, a store where I know I am surely going to find something – anything. I was becoming desperate, asking myself “why can’t I find anything?”
Walking around the shop I was finding it hard to pinpoint a piece of clothing to even just try on. I was starting to feel a sense of disappointment, despair, stupidity even. I started to struggle with my breathing. It became very heavy and I recall telling myself to breathe slowly. My head became like a blurr of chaos, so many thoughts and negative feelings. My eyes were welling with tears but I didn’t want to break down and cry in the middle of the shop, I heard myself saying, “Just breathe, you silly girl”. I just wanted to crawl into one of the clothes racks and hide.
I was having a Panic Attack!
But then, right then, I found some clothes that I really liked. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high about how they would fit on me but thought I would give them a try anyway. I took four items in the change room, I was relieved to find two that fit me, looked nice and I was happy to purchase. One I was still unsure of but I bought it anyway.
So thankfully I got through it, but there have been times when I had to walk out the store crying due to not being able to make a simple decision of what to purchase. I have noticed that there seems to be a pattern of triggers that set me off. Being given a certain amount of money to spend, time limit and a particular item I am looking for. One of the biggest factors which seems to trigger the smallest and most often panic attacks is; just the thought of spending the money on myself. I think that is the biggest hurdle for me to overcome. I have to tell myself it is ok to spend money on me. I am worth it.
There are many forms of panic attacks, this is just one type that I have to deal with and somehow overcome. With the help of some close friends, who love to shop especially for clothes, I know I can get through this. I think it is all about finding the triggers and somehow removing them and then feeding yourself a lot of positive thoughts, breathing slowly and telling yourself it’s ok.