Okay okay so it’s not even Halloween and you are wondering why I’d even be thinking about Christmas. You’re probably wondering if I’m a crazy Christmas nut. Bet you have visions of me wandering around wearing red and green, singing carol after carol and spreading annoying holiday cheer. You’d be partially right.
I have a dirty little secret. One that I wish I didn’t have, but am slowly starting to admit.
The crowds and chaos that come with Christmas shopping give me panic attacks. It’s not even really isolated to Christmas but any time I’m in a slightly confined area with huge groups of people I start to feel my heart race, I get dizzy and panic. I have a hard time breathing and I have to do all in my power to get out of there. Many purchases have been left by the wayside because I just couldn’t handle it. Even leaving the movie theatre or at concerts I start to feel my chest tighten and the only thing that saves me is keeping my hand attached to my husband the whole time as he leads the way.
With holiday shopping there’s always the pressure of the perfect gift – add that with my little panic attacks and you start to understand why I have to start shopping early. Usually this means picking up a few little things in August and continuing on until the start of December, but I have been known to leave it longer and then kick myself later. That gift you see on sale in September just may never be found come December and sometimes I’ve ended up getting really unique gifts that are treasured because I took my time and thought early rather than running out for the last minute gift card.
I haven’t always had panic attacks but I’ve never been a huge fan of malls. I like to get in and get out and that’s why I think I’ve enjoyed the familiarity of big box stores. I know where to expect to find things and can run in, grab everything I need and be out in a short period of time.
When I was little I spent a lot of time attached to my mother’s legs. I was incredibly shy with new people. Once they got to know me though I was a bit of a chatterbug. Creative and playful. I thrived in small groups and liked being involved with people. Myers Briggs calls me an introvert – but many of my friends wouldn’t believe it. I’m a feeler too so that brings out my ability to care about people and ask questions. I’m the youngest of four children and in our family you had to speak loudly to be heard. Oddly, I’m the quietest of all of us even though my voice can be booming and I have been known to be the centre of attention from time to time.
When shopping however, I really don’t like the crowd. I don’t like the jostling and the competing. I hate feeling like I’m out of control. For some reason when people are bumping into me all around, going in different directions, perfumes and scents overwelming my senses – I lose all of my wits.
Thankfully I save some vacation days for this time of year so that I can go and shop in peace when everyone else is at work. Goal is by December first I’m done and then I can sit back and enjoy all the holiday season without stress. Here’s dreaming of a peaceful and calm holiday season.