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Lady Strange
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10 Oct 2021, 12:54 pm

I don't always have this trouble, but I notice the busier it is the more likely it is to be worse. I had to go to the grocery store today for a little with DH (on a Sunday) and I almost couldn't stand to be in the store. Felt like all the little noises were hitting my ears at the same time and had to really resist the urge to plug my ears and get out of there. I hate it. This lady was by me with a package of produce that has that crinkly plastic on it, and it felt like she was crinkling it right in my ear as she was walking by, amongst all the other noises like talk and carts squeaking and all of it. 'Bout drove me insane. Luckily DH did most of the actual shopping while I followed in a daze. This doesn't always happen but sometimes it gets bad.



babybird
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10 Oct 2021, 12:59 pm

I've never had this problem but I believe that some people on the spectrum do.

The only problem I have in shops is that people get in my way. Not because I walk into them but just because they go too slow.

I get around this by going shopping early in the morning time.



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10 Oct 2021, 2:52 pm

I have problems with supermarket stores too, but my problems are more ADHD-related. The only thing that bothers me in the supermarket is the sight and sound of babies and small children, because they're just too distracting and they have 0 motor skills. Take all children under a certain age out and I'll be able to cope much better.

I don't like it when the queues are long either, as I have trouble standing still and waiting. It's a shame us ADHD people can't have a medical pass so that we can be served first, because waiting in long lines can really cause stress and anxiety to a greater extent than normal people.

And now that there are empty shelves thanks to the selfish panic-buying c****, it just adds to the stress because you can no longer guarantee that your favourite items will be in stock any more.


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10 Oct 2021, 2:54 pm

Joe90 wrote:
I don't like it when the queues are long either, as I have trouble standing still and waiting. It's a shame us ADHD people can't have a medical pass so that we can be served first, because waiting in long lines can really cause stress and anxiety to a greater extent than normal people.


I don't know if I'd support a pass to let me skip in line but otherwise I deeply relate. I'm pretty bad for dropping my stuff and leaving if the line is too long.


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shortfatbalduglyman
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10 Oct 2021, 4:56 pm

You could send your DH alone to go grocery shopping or Instacart



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10 Oct 2021, 5:02 pm

There's a grocery store near us that I'm fine going to, if it's not busy. If it's busy I get really, really overwhelmed and find it hard to pay attention to anything. I can't handle all the information of trying to avoid everyone around me, try to look out for things we need, navigate to specific aisles, and listen to my moms instructions while people are talking and moving things around, etc. By the time we get out of there I am completely exhausted and just want to scream.


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10 Oct 2021, 7:33 pm

Yes, often.


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Lady Strange
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10 Oct 2021, 7:50 pm

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
There's a grocery store near us that I'm fine going to, if it's not busy. If it's busy I get really, really overwhelmed and find it hard to pay attention to anything. I can't handle all the information of trying to avoid everyone around me, try to look out for things we need, navigate to specific aisles, and listen to my moms instructions while people are talking and moving things around, etc. By the time we get out of there I am completely exhausted and just want to scream.


Yeah thats about how I was today. I didn't know it was going to go like that till I got in there and we started trying to shop. It's odd tho cause sometimes its ok. I was pretty tired today so that maybe didn't help matters, seems if I'm not feeling up to snuff then it can happen easier because I'm already worn down.



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10 Oct 2021, 8:54 pm

Lady Strange wrote:
seems if I'm not feeling up to snuff then it can happen easier because I'm already worn down.


For me that's the case. Poor physical or mental health tends to both aggravate my sensory issues and decrease my tolerance.

Perhaps wearing headphones/ear buds and listening to some music could help to lower the intensity of all the noise, and give your mind a singular thing to focus on instead of a multitude of sounds. I've also found that drowning out noise and therefor reducing the sound cues from people makes it easier to pay less attention to them, decreasing the stimulus they cause and thereby help to decrease overstimulation.


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11 Oct 2021, 1:31 am

I can't tolerate grocery stores. I've shopped online exclusively since my first stroke in 2015, which made my sensory processing issues impossible to mask without having meltdowns. Crinkle is one of my worst misophonia triggers and I simply cannot manage with the bright lights and unexpected sounds. Reading the aisle labels is very confusing for me too, if I don't know my way about.

I enjoy curbside pickup sometimes if I want to get out of the house, but otherwise it's all done online.

I find it easier to plan meals and stay organised with things in my cart, and much easier to watch or track my spending.



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11 Oct 2021, 3:27 am

IsabellaLinton wrote:
I can't tolerate grocery stores. I've shopped online exclusively since my first stroke in 2015, which made my sensory processing issues impossible to mask without having meltdowns. Crinkle is one of my worst misophonia triggers and I simply cannot manage with the bright lights and unexpected sounds. Reading the aisle labels is very confusing for me too, if I don't know my way about.

I enjoy curbside pickup sometimes if I want to get out of the house, but otherwise it's all done online.

I find it easier to plan meals and stay organised with things in my cart, and much easier to watch or track my spending.


Misophonia is very misunderstood and it makes us sound insensitive. The sound of babies and toddlers have always really bothered me severely, and even people here say the usual cliché "babies and toddlers will always scream, they can't help it, misophonia or not deal with it." It really f***s me off when people say that. While it's true, it still doesn't make me any more tolerant of their noise. Sometimes small children can be more controllable and it's sometimes up to the parents to teach their children how to behave in supermarkets from as young as 2 years old. That's what my parents did with me and my brother. If we started laying on the floor kicking and screaming about nothing then we were taken straight out until we calmed down. My parents didn't tolerate any of it.


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WeirdMetronome
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11 Oct 2021, 4:48 am

CinderashAutomaton wrote:
Lady Strange wrote:
seems if I'm not feeling up to snuff then it can happen easier because I'm already worn down.


For me that's the case. Poor physical or mental health tends to both aggravate my sensory issues and decrease my tolerance.


Yeah, this is true for me also. On a good day I can handle a supermarket no problem, with the exception of one particular type of trolley the staff sometimes use to move goods around on. I just can't handle the noise of the wheels on the floor, it is just so painful to listen to and I have to stop and cover my ears whenever they go past. I don't know what it is about these particular trolleys because normal ones are fine but I just can't cope with them at all. :skull:

If I'm sick, tired or sad then I avoid most types of shopping.



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11 Oct 2021, 9:13 am

CinderashAutomaton wrote:
Poor physical or mental health tends to both aggravate my sensory issues and decrease my tolerance.

That. Exactly that.



Phil0
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31 Dec 2021, 4:29 pm

Hi. This sounds like it could be sensory processing disorder (SPD) or misophonia, which are common in autism and some neurological conditions. Grocery stores are a big trigger for me - I find the bright lights, variable temperatures, loud overhead music, crowds of people, and abundance of brightly colored packaging and options to choose from to be really overwhelming. This makes me feel dizzy, disoriented, or panicky, and I sometimes avoid shopping for weeks at a time so that I don't have to go into a grocery store.

Some options that have worked for me in the past:

- Shopping during off-peak hours. This may mean shopping early in the morning, late in the evening, or during 8am-2pm when many people are at work. 3pm-7pm seems to be the busiest time as many people go shopping right after work. I'm a mostly-online student so I have a lot of flexibility when I choose to shop.

- Shopping at a smaller store. Huge supermarkets (like Wal-Mart) are disorienting and make me feel overwhelmed. I like shopping at smaller local stores, natural food stores, and discount stores which have fewer options and don't have so many customers.

- Wearing over-ear noise canceling headphones (ear defenders), or earbuds. If they are noise-cancelling they will cut down on the amount of sound you are exposed to inside the store. My earbuds are not noise-canceling, but I use them to listen to some of my favorite songs that I have memorized, so they are familiar and comforting. I also have noise-reducing earplugs (Vibes brand) which don't completely cut out all noise, but reduce it to a manageable level.

- Wearing tinted glasses or sunglasses. Sometimes being exposed to too-bright lighting causes my other senses, like hearing, to become more irritable. If I'm having a bad sensory day, wearing sunglasses inside a store helps me feel less overwhelmed.

- Shopping when well-rested and relaxed. It's hard for me to get enough sleep, and when I don't sleep enough my sensory threshold is much lower. Sounds and smells I could usually tolerate become more painful. Additionally, when I am stressed about work or school, I become more attuned to sensory irritation. Thus, I try to shop only when I have plenty of time to browse the store, have had a good night's sleep, and have met any pressing deadlines.

- As you mentioned, shopping with another person or having someone else shop for you. When living with my parents, they did most of the shopping and I would trade off by doing laundry or dishes. I also enjoy shopping with friends, family, or partners, whereas shopping by myself is always a chore.

Other people have suggested:

- Using an online shopping app like Instacart. I don't use these for expense and ethical reasons, as their 'gig' employees are not paid fairly and do not receive adequate benefits. However, these could be used in a pinch if you are having a really bad sensory day but are missing crucial items for a recipe.

- Using website ordering or in-store pickup. Many large supermarkets now have online ordering options where you can either walk in and pick up the groceries (already bagged and paid for) or have them brought to your car, if you have one.

- Using a delivery service to have groceries mailed to your door. Depending where you live, this can be extremely expensive or relatively convenient and affordable. There are also meal-planning services online which will send you recipes and all the groceries needed to prepare them, which could be convenient if you also struggle with planning and meal prep, and it's slightly cheaper than going out to restaurants. I once had a grocery delivery service that delivered 'ugly' vegetables that otherwise couldn't be sold in grocery stores and would go to waste.



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31 Dec 2021, 10:34 pm

I started doing kerbside pickup when the pandemic began, and my life has been more comfortable ever since. Wal-Mart don't charge extra for it where I am. It's rare that being in a supermarket upsets me to a clinical degree, but most times I find it a thoroughly depressing and fraught experience, and I see little point in going into a store if I don't have to. True, I used to like choosing my own fresh food and selecting the items with the best sell-by dates, and there are some things they won't do the kerbside thing for, but there's no need to go into the store to get most things, and if I only need to do that for a few things, that reduces the misery quite a lot. If I couldn't do kerbside I'd consider paying for home delivery. Life's too short to fill it with naff experiences.



fragmenthyperion
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31 Dec 2021, 10:39 pm

Someone else mentioned headphones and I second that idea. I put on some relaxing electronic music, something ambient, and proceed to accumulate the things on my list.