With the recent rise of cases of Coronavirus and many people choosing to self isolate, there has been an extreme case of panic buying, which although in the long run seem like a good idea, this can actually be extremely harmful. Not only does it cause a shortage of specific products for others, especially the elderly and vulnerable people, it also can cause large crowds, which in turn creates a safety hazard.
Another problem that this can create for many people, especially people with anxiety and sensory issues is that the large crowds and the noise can cause them to go into what is known as sensory overload which can then turn into a panic attack.
As someone with high functioning autism, I have had a lot of issues in the past few weeks, even leaving the house causes me to have a sense of dread in case I somehow find myself in a large crowd. My last trip out of my house was about a week ago, and this is why I decided to share my experience with panic buying during this pandemic, because this truly terrified me.
I went out to the shop to get a few essentials during the “quiet hour” for people who struggle with loud noises at my local supermarket and instead of my usual calm pleasant experience, I was met with absolute chaos. People were shouting, screaming and pushing everyone out the way in order to get toilet paper, pasta, and anything they could possibly get their hands on and filling their shopping carts full of it. I somehow managed to find myself in the centre of all this, and naturally, with the massive amount of sensory input, I freaked out, I went into full sensory overload and ended up having a panic attack in the middle of the shop. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue at all, as there are usually members of staff trained to help people who are having panic attacks, however, because of the crowds, they couldn’t see me. This caused it to get worse and worse and I had to leave the shop without the stuff I needed.
For those of you who feel the same and are struggling to go through the chaos of others panic buying, here are my tips to help you get through.
At the end of the day, although panic buying may be a natural reaction to a pandemic, I ask you to take a step back and think about what you’re doing before you do it. Although it may put you in a place where you have everything you need and more on top of that, you’re stopping others from being able to get their basic needs, so please, stop and think before you act, buy as much as you will realistically need and no more, although there is a chance of lockdown you’ll still be able to go out and get what you need.
To anyone worried or scared about the current situation, remember we’re always here if you need to talk and that this won’t last forever, we will get through this, just follow your government's advice, if you have to go out, stay 2 metres away from others and avoid contact with those outside your household.
Photo credit: Sarah, a TWE Photographer (see more of her work at @withmylittlecamera