My daily struggle with shopping, as a person coping with adhd/asd

Disclaimer: Keep in mind, we’re all different: If you’ve met ONE person with adhd or aspergers, you’ve met that ONE person. I know alot of different people and they’re never the same, so I write from my own perspective in this article.

Someone with ASD/ADHD can feel things differently from a neurotypical (person without any of these issues)- I mean I’m still new to this, but knowing the way I feel is different from what my friends feels is a very scary realisation for me.
I often feel alienated from the rest of society because of this, and it can be depressing.
Of course I am not alone because there are others who share the same type of differences so to speak- others with asd or adhd.
Especially with aspergers in some cases, we can tend to maybe seem grumpy or isolated from others.
In my teens i didnt enjoy to do the same things my mates did, i spent more time complaining loudly of how loud things were- how tired i was… People got fed up.
Today I know better, and even if i still feel these things i try not to complain.
Realistically there is a reason of these complaints: We feel overwelmed by EVERY.THING!

Like shopping:

Going on a trip to the mall is a huge energy-drain. Not only do I have to deal with loads of people but there is so many options. My brain calculates every detail of everything, and I see EVERYTHING at once! Ironically I used to love shopping as a teen, but I realised after a while it was because it was a way for me to find new clothes to fit in better- not be weird. Now I’m more careless wether i wear new or old stuff. But I often still feel the need of being normal, and not having nice clothes makes me stick out….
When I look at clothes, I see so many things and often dismiss it if I can- but whenever I see something I want i can spend 20+ minutes just deciding if I want it.
Often I go back a few days later to make up my mind about buying it, this is a solution I started doing years ago and has saved me from alot of stress.
However, some stores are worse than others, especially stores that sell items that we ‘might need’, like ikea for example, which is designed to confuse the costumer and make them buy things without thinking through- it confuses someone who has the ability to overcalculate as well as feel impulses.

A trip at the store for me is usually this:

I have to go to the store, and today i want to buy pizza since im too tired to cook. So I need to get dressed.

I need to pay by the counter and be ready to face people. 

(Going to the store, and inside the store):

I go to get pizza, however:

No, pizza is bad for me. I need something healthy but also not too expensive and hard to make….
-Spaggetti isnt healthy, but its cheap and easy. But then i could just have pizza.
-Salad, rice and chicken- I don’t really want to cook chicken. 
– *Insert ten thousand options i reject for some reason*

All right, ill have pizza.

I go over to buy pizza from the frozen section:

But should I make it myself? Its cheaper and maybe better. But then again, I need to buy topping so money wise its not any cheaper… But then I can make it the way i want and add less cheese and maybe use whole wheat flour to make it more filling. But then again i need to bake it too.
Na ill buy a frozen one…

I pick up some frozen pizza after minutes of choosing…But then:

But no, its not good for me. Ill buy something else…
Maybe spagetti after all?

I end up walking around trying to find a solution:

*Cheap but Quick unhealthy food?
*Expensive healthy food which must be prepared?
*I need to make the decision soon, because i am feeling dizzy from all this thinking.

I can spend about 30minutes just to go buying pizza. Which I rarely end up with, i end up with something else because my brain wont let me cheat with food to save energy. Which is better, but why having to be so indecisive?
I put stuff at least 4 times back and forth into my basket, and walk around wondering for every meal or thing I need.
If I want something extra- god forbid, there it goes again:

What option? Which is cheaper, which is healthier?

And often I end up with spending my mental energy on this, as well as feeling stressed cause I got stuff to do at home.

Even if this possibly is something we can encounter time to time, this is just one of many incidents i go though in my every day life.
When it comes to clothes or items its the same…. But food especially is a huge drain because I’ve had incidents where i am always scared of eating wrongly, for this particular reason:
I don’t want to feel even more fatigued and tired cause of bad choices in food.

I think of my energy as a bar, it gets easily drained.
Exercising can help a bit to clear the head and make the body take it better, but i’m still often stuck confused and tired mentally due all the things going on through out the day.

This is often why I no longer spend time on shopping more often than nessecary.
My mom used to buy alot of things at once- she were a shop-o-holic and horrible with money in some peoples eyes, but in the later years I realised she was just like me:
She wanted to get stuff so she didn’t have to go out later and re-experience the horror of shopping and making choices. She bought all the things, so she didn’t need anything later and didn’t have to analyze!

We learn about problem solving and how to adult right!
Luckily there is ways to cope to make it easier and save energy for later, even if it might sound weird for some to plan ahead weeks in advance and buy all items at once, maybe that’s a better solution for the person to save energy for the important stuff.
Having adhd and asd has taught me alot about problem solving, but also to let some things go. We can’t all solve everything, even if our brains seek to find a solution.
Buying things on sales and many of them if a item you use alot is a good solution- no need to buy deo since i got 2 of them already. One less thing to worry about.
So, I will continue shopping stuff whenever i have to but up until then ill re-use my stuff until I have to buy something new.

3 thoughts on “My daily struggle with shopping, as a person coping with adhd/asd

  1. Cathlinn, your blog will soon be added to our Actually Autistic Blogs List ( Please click on the “How do you want your blog listed?” link at the top of that site to customize your blog’s description.
    Thank you.
    Judy (An Autism Observer)


  2. I can *so* relate to your experience of shopping. It can be overwhelming. Just grocery shopping can make my head spin sometimes. Lists are my friends and I have tried not to deviate too much from those, which does make it easier. Write on, I think your advice on how to manage is probably useful for those who suffer from the same condition, and those who do not as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definately, it is all about finding out what works for the individual. For someone who enjoy to make things structual and in order (which isnt everyone especially with adhd haha) its sort of nice to have the challenge how to make life easier. You learn so many tricks, even for someone without the diagnosis can benefit from getting a board in the hallway with assignments or having structure in general. It ease up the burden of having everything in your head constantly.
      Shopping is like mentioned just designed to confuse the costumer into buying…For someone who’s having issues with impulses this is such a horrible match haha. I know a few who prefer to buy online.

      Liked by 1 person

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