I have to admit this story is probably going to sound pretty funny now.
I am making a conscious effort to try to learn more about how to help myself seeing as doctors pretty much suck at it. Which isn’t their fault, mental illness is personal and because of that its hard to help someone, especially someone who struggles to form words when around new people or people who I feel are prying too deeply into my mind (Doctors included)
So I decided to go to the book shop in town today, I was meeting a friend for lunch so I decided to go a little earlier so I could go to the book shop and look at the self-help books, I am almost embarrassed to type that. I mean do people still read self-help books? Whatever. I decided to go and look, I guess I was looking for Depression for dummies or whatever, not that I really need a dummy crash course on depression. I mean, I know what depression is. I don’t know what I expect from these books.
Regardless, I got dressed 10 minutes before I had to leave, I wore my pyjamas top under my sad day hoodie because I couldn’t be bothered to get dressed for the 2 hours I would be out of the house.
I contemplated putting my coat on, but realised that with my sad day hoodie I look like an idiot with my coat on so opted for no coat. I walked to the bus stop and the bus arrived soon after.
Sitting on the bus with my headphones on I don’t really realise much, I get carried away listening to the music and that’s, that. At the time to get off the bus approached, I realized I was wearing my stupid jeans that no matter what fall down. I made an awkward attempt to pull them up to my waist whilst sitting and acting casually (it didn’t go well.)
I got off the bus and walked to Waterstones, the bookshop which is maybe a 3 minute walk from my bus stop. I noticed as I was walking to the store that I had made a grave mistake not putting my coat on. it was 2 degrees outside, the ground was still frozen really and little patches of snow were still on the grass verges that sporadically straddle the pavement in the town center. Well, I fixated on how dumb I looked, imagined people I know seeing me and thinking “what an idiot. it’s cold.”
By the time I got to the book store I was fixated on the idea that I was an idiot for not wearing a coat and how I look like an idiot. The shop was quiet, very few customers and just one staff member who was on the phone.
I walked straight to the stationary section, well, speed walked. I don’t know why I walked so fast, but I felt clumsy and awkward. And I wasn’t wearing a coat. So I automatically must have looked suspicious, why would anyone leave their house without a coat in this weather? I convinced myself I looked suspicious to the staff member and the customer who was now a plain clothed security guard in my head. And so i had a panic attack, I tried to hold my breath to prevent the hyperventilating. But of course that did not work, so I walked around the shop breathing heavily, without a coat looking like a criminal. They must have thought I was a shoplifter, I looked like I had been “pulled through a hedge backwards” as my mother used to say, scruffy sad day hoodie, jeans that were suddenly too big for me and my hair which is in terrible need of cutting.
So, I escaped to the basement level to look at the self-help books, it was empty. No staff, no customers, I was safe and I began to breathe ok. I walked over to a table and read the back of a book, I became incredibly weary of the idea that all security cameras were trained on me and my suspicious look. I moved to another section and looked at more books, but than plain clothed security / customer came downstairs so I walked away (Which probably made me look more suspicious) I walked back to the ground floor, then journeyed to the 1st floor almost walking into some guy who was coming down the stairs.
On the top floor I browsed around but didn’t see anything interesting, so I stared at my phone and pretended to text, that’s what normal people do right? Text? I couldn’t leave the shop now, I would look weird, I had to look normal. What do normal people do? I kept typing and scrolling and smiling at my phone. Did I look normal or crazy? Then it all got too much and I left because I was frustrated at my own weirdness.
So, my next stop was the comic book store, I had a standing order with this shop for 7 years, but I moved my orders to an independent, cheaper shop that some friends own a few years ago and gradually reduced my order. Then the staff changed and I felt the personal service was gone so stopped collecting my standing order. Which caused them to cancel it because I ignored their phone calls. Anyway, I went in and was happy to see that the manager wasn’t there, then I noticed he was and felt uncomfortable and left.
I now had about 10 minutes to wait for my friend so I went to meet her. When we sat down to eat, I told her about my panic attack in the book shop and why I had, had it. She looked at me gone out and told me it was bizarre and weird. So I stopped talking about it. I don’t like to freak people out with my weird brain. Sometimes my brain has odd thought trains.
Still didn’t get my self-help book. Maybe next week.
Same time again Waterstones? I’ll try to look more presentable this time.
The Elephant in the Room