shops are usually a problem as mentioned theres lots of bright lights and noise, queues or check lines or waiting to be served make you feel detained or trapped
it helps to have the car nearby and visible thru the shop window, also keep returning to the car to cool off
wear sunglasses and a hat, some get help from earplugs, push a shopping trollery around for balance
i can't believe how accurate all of this is to me as well. ESPECIALLY AT WALMART! i agree though, the lights are definitely what gets me. I've realized that as time goes by (for some reason i do a little better at target). But I agree...just keep exposing yourself to it and realize HEY I'VE DONE THIS BEFORE, I EVEN FELT THIS WAY, AND NOTHING HAPPENED. i think that when we have a safety person (husband or friend) with us it's easier because we know that if something happens to us they will find help or know what to do. if we are surrounded by strangers we often don't give people the benefit of the doubt. we feel alone and worry that none of these people would know what to do and if we're panicky or having a heart attack we can't help ourselves. i've started to have faith in people again....there's definitely an amount of bad that happens in the world today, however there's a ton of good too. we get so caught up in the news and all of the bad things that happen we forget about the good in people. if something were to happen to you, i promise there is someone in the store with a good heart (and probably not just one person, probably close to all) and those people will hurriedly come to your aid. i tend not to let myself read bad news anymore, instead i google inspiring stories and heros. it really helps me put more faith in our human race and that helps me calm down a little bit. anyways, i'm rambling, but like i said - keep going to the store. avoiding it will only make it worse. look your fear in the face...my grandmother sent me this quote in hopes of helping my anxiety and it does help and makes a lot of sense..
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' Eleanor Roosevelt
best of luck with everything - hopefully we can be our complete shopahollic selves soon!