I can no longer shop like a normal person. But I wanted to share with you a little what it's like if I walked into a grocery store for example.
As I walk through the front door with my shades and hat to protect me from the fluorescent lights, I'm
hit like you would not believe.
Within seconds everything begins to change. Nothing seems real anymore. It's as if I'm in my own bubble separated from everyone in the store. Taking deep breaths I try to navigate myself through the first aisle. But it's already too late; I feel like I am disoriented - almost like I am drunk. Every step I make becomes a challenge.
Browsing the aisles
Now let's talk about all the products on the shelves - that's when the fun really begins because I can't focus on just one thing. My eyes want to look at everything I see. I finally reach the section I need but then I stare and get lost looking for what I need.
Sometimes I'll just stare for minutes before finally reaching, or other times I'm so lost I just panic and pick up something, maybe I did not need it, but just so I can get out of that aisle. This process will continue until I complete my grocery list.
Paranoia while shopping
Let's not forget the paranoia, though we can't leave that out because the entire time I'm trying to find my groceries, every person I pass I wonder, "are they looking at me? Do they know something is wrong with me? Is the person behind me following me?"
Once I've completed everything, I head back to my car and I'm lucky enough to have my wife in the car - she would drive us home. But if I came alone I would have been so overloaded. I have to sit in my car for at least 30 minutes before I can start the engine and get myself home.
I miss being able to shop on my own or go to the doctors without being overloaded.
I miss being able to go out to dinner at a restaurant with my family.
I miss all the simple things we take for granted.
Can you relate? What do you do when you get sensory overload?
Are you interested in sharing your caregiving tips with the community?