To support Time to Talk Day on 3 February 2022, our Creative Writing Group led by Michele has come up with a series of wonderful and heartfelt pieces discussing mental health stigma.
This sixth piece written by Clare takes place at the supermarket.
“The woman in front of me at the checkout in Tesco seems very flustered, her hands are shaking and her eyes are full of tears. Her words are stumbling over each other like a rollercoaster out of control. The assistant at the checkout is asking her if she needs help but the woman says no and continues to struggle with her packing. She asks if something has happened while she was shopping again the woman says no with a hopeless shrug of her shoulders. The assistant asks if she should call a manager and I hear panic rise in her voice as the woman says she just wants to leave and go home. Finally everything is in bags and the bill paid. She hurries away with tears running down her face as everyone looks on.
I was that woman having a panic attack. I know the assistant was trying to help but I don’t want everyone to look at me, to draw more attention to my struggles. I wish she had taken a moment to stop and really look at me.
To softly say: ‘Just stop for a moment and take a deep breath or two’ maybe offer a tissue for my tears.
To discretely direct the waiting customers to another till, it wasn’t busy and there were assistants waiting.
Perhaps she could take the bag I was struggling to open and hold it for me while I put my shopping in.
Its OK to ask if everything is OK. There was nothing specific that happened. I felt stupid and cross with myself.
I needed reassurance that it was OK to take a moment to breathe, to give me permission to pause without the pressure that I was holding up the queue.”
Want to celebrate Time to Talk Day with us?
Visit our Time to Talk Day page to hear about our plans or visit our blogs section to read our Time to Talk Day blog posts.