Friday, 3 June 2022

Supermarkets and autism.

Hey readers,
When going to the supermarket I can only handle short periods of time being in the store due to getting sensory overload.

I am autistic and normal things like shopping overwhelm me for a number of reasons.
There was a time as an autistic adult when I would shop at 6-7am in the morning because I just couldn't handle it. 

Supermarkets and autism

 Often when my husband takes me to the supermarket can be busy and it can get overwhelming trying to navigate around people.
Obviously now I am married with kids and things are different for me.
However, that doesn't stop it from still being a struggle.
Over the years I have had professional help to help me get a bit better at the whole process of shopping.
At one point I never used to touch the shopkeeper's hands when exchanging money and simply place it on the counter.  Apparently, this is not the thing so I had to learn that you meant to place money into the assistant's hands. 

I have been able to do that, I still hate touching people I don't know but it is something I can do. Of course with modern technology you can use contactless however going to the corner shop is different.

 Plus I am not paying extra for the privilege of using my money card. I've learned to talk myself into placing money into my hands and focus on detail in the shop so I am not getting too anxious.
That is one difficulty I have had but still struggle with, it never probably will get easier but I can manage it.
Now my husband likes me to accompany him going to the supermarket. Of course, I do it because I want him to feel needed. I worry I get selfish and at times I have been. So this is a gesture to show I care that being said it is really difficult for me too.
I think because we go down each aisle and the more time I spend in the shop I get overloaded because I need to look at the detail of stuff regardless of whether I am buying it or not.
The noise of the shop is hard, especially near the buzzing of the refrigerators. Or when the fire alarm is set off as a part of the store testing out the fire alarm. Then there are the random loud announcements on the speakers that can be triggering because they are loud and stop your brain from thinking sending it into a panic.
Then there is me not very good at forwarding planning with moving about. At times I respond the way I should such as waiting for a person to come through in the isle and I go through. 

This tends to happen near the end as I am exhausted and just don't have the mental capacity to think about how to act. Bear in mind when I am being outside a lot of my behaviour is not natural, it is learned from experience and what has told me over the years on how to act.
My husband also likes to go out to a big store which I struggle with. The size of the store and high ceilings with lots of noise can trigger me.
I really hate touching people I don't know and accidentally touching people if they brush past me ups my anxiety.
I think another part of my problem with shopping with others is the fact o am not in control. When I shop alone I have a list and just go on, get what I need and get out. My husband likes to look around and just feels endless. 

We spend well over an hour in the store and the content concentration of trying to remember to do all the things correctly takes a lot of brainpower.
I am exhausted at the end. Sometimes I have a break as I just need quiet time o go to the toilet, close my ears, and just breathe. I feel really dizzy and disorientated by the end. Get home and I just need time to myself to rebalance my head and bring it back down to a calm.
Cheers for reading X



  1. Ahh! I feel the same when it comes to supermarkets especially if they are busy. I was in the big Tesco early in the week and by the time we got to the checkout I was done with people. I left my fella to pay. Shopping is a lot to deal with. x

  2. Busy supermarkets can be overwhelming for anyone, so I totally understand that it must be frightening for a child with autism #dreamteam

  3. I hate supermarkets and busy places and it makes me feel anxious and I'll often walk out, it must be so much harder for you with everything causing a sensory overload. I think its acceptable to put the money on the counter, usually the shop assistant returns it this way regardless. Have you tried shopping during the quiet hour a lot of supermarkets do. Our Morrisons does 9-10am daily, low level lighting, no music or announcements.
    Thanks for joining in with #pocolo

  4. I think shopping is stressful enough if you are neurotypical! I hate shopping with others or if it is busy in the shop, and the small talk at the checkout can be awkward. Thanks for linking up with #DreamTeam