Hi everyone, I know I’ve been really absent on here as of late. Life has been kind of topsy-turvy at best, so blogging has just been really pushed aside – which is a shame because it’s such an outlet for me and all of you really mean the world to me.
I hadn’t planned on blogging about this because it’s extremely embarrassing and at first glance, not medically related. But I also know with certainty that this wouldn’t have happened if not for my medical problems and further more: the medications that I have to take to help treat them.
Okay, here goes nothing. You know the reusable shopping bags that you can buy now? The ones that you take with you when you go shopping to help lessen the use of plastic bags? Well today I went to the grocery store with one of those – which we always use – so that I could get a couple of things done before I leave town.
The day started off on a bad note because of some family issues and also because once again my bladder has almost completely stopped working. On top of that I didn’t feel quite “there” enough in my thinking, because of medications and pain, to drive to the store myself. So I got my auntie – who’s staying with us – to take me instead.
Anyways, as soon as I got out of the car to go into the store I realized that I had forgotten to bring the item that I had wanted to take back, which was 1 of 2 reasons I went to the store in the first place. So now I’m flustered and annoyed with myself too. I get into the store and decide to look at what they have for cosmetics there while I wait for my auntie to pick up some things that she wanted.
They weren’t on my list but I wanted to look anyways because there are a few cosmetics that I’d like to buy before we leave that weren’t in stock at Walmart when I went the other day. So, I see a few things that I’d like to buy and I put them in the black, reusable shopping bag like a lot of people do, so that I don’t have to hold them while I walk around the store some more.
When my auntie’s ready to go I tell her to go through the check out while I go to the pharmacy and get a medication – that’s the other thing on my list. So, I go get the medication, and pay for it at the pharmacy, and then I’m thinking to myself there, that was everything left on my list, now I can go. I completely forgot about the makeup that I had decided I would buy and put in the black grocery bag.
I walk out of the store and what do you know, a security guard pulls me aside asking to see my grocery bag and receipt. So I calmly hand him the pharmacy bag and receipt thinking okay, that’s fine, I have a receipt, but when he asks for the other grocery bag (the one with the unpaid-for cosmetics!!) that’s when it all comes back to me and I’m absolutely horrified.
Now, I live in a small town where everybody recognizes everybody. I’ve shopped at this store frequently for most of my life, without issue. My best friend worked at this store for years. Which all adds to the unbearable embarrassment of realizing what I just did: accidentally shop lifted from them.
Let me just say right now that I’m not trying to make this out as if it wasn’t my fault or shirk the responsibility for it. It wasn’t intentional, but it’s still my fault. I know that. It was me and it was unbelievably stupid, accidental or not, for a number of reasons. I shouldn’t have been using something opaque to carry items so that I didn’t have the visual reminder that the products were there. I shouldn’t have been grabbing things that weren’t on my list. Maybe I shouldn’t have even left the house in that kind of thinking state, I don’t know. But what I can say with all honesty is that I didn’t mean to do it, it was an accident, and I feel horrible.
I know that a lot of you are probably wondering why I would even write about this on here. And I can definitely understand that. The reason that I am is because this blog is meant to be about my life, and all of the ways, big and small, that my chronic illness affects it. And this is one of them. Pain, medications, not sleeping, they all affect my ability to think, remember, and concentrate in enormous ways. And that’s in combination with all of the normal life stressers that healthy people have too. How could that not mess with brain’s ability to function on point, or properly?
Not to mention, I’m on 5 different medications that list: short term memory loss, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, confusion, and changes in thinking, as side effects. All five. On top of major insomnia and chronic pain that’s been particularly bad the past week and a half. Nobody can tell me that those things don’t have an impact.
In the end – after being taken with my auntie into a back room in the store and spoken to (so humiliating) – I was given a warning and let go. Luckily for me, I’ve never been in trouble before and the police were too busy to want to bother with me beyond that. The security guard had made me pretty frustrated and angry at first. And I don’t mean by doing his job because I understand that he has a job to do and that he has no way of knowing whether it was truly an accident or not.
What made me angry was what I perceived as complete and common ignorance when it comes to chronic pain and the impact that it, along with medications, can have on your thinking, and also on the need for pain medication itself. Here’s an example of what I mean: after I had mentioned it, he asked what kind of medications I take and I told him. He then said something along the lines of “it tells you a lot about a person when they’re on those medications”. I found that incredibly offensive because it sounded like he was insinuating that I was a shady person and a criminal because I need to take opiate pain medication. Which is just such a play on an already horrible stigma that I seem to run into at every turn.
I was also irritated at first because he was acting like there’s no way that someone could possibly forget something like that so I must have done it intentionally. This, even after I explained to him that maybe he’d be right under normal circumstances – which I honestly don’t believe because there’s a lot of things that could be going on in someone’s life that could distract their mind’s from remembering that – but that there’s a lot of things that come into play in my personal situation that change that anyways.
I think he believed me in the end though, and seemed to even feel bad because the longer he talked to us the softer his tone got, to the point that he seemed to be trying to make light conversation, jokes, and even seemed to be trying to cheer me up a little bit in the end.
Things could’ve turned out a lot worse, so I’m incredibly thankful that they didn’t. But I’m so mad and disappointed in myself for screwing up so majorly, and also that that is how bad my thinking is now. I hate it. I’m 20 years old and I think more like a 70 year old with dementia. It makes me sad. I used to be able to take pride in my intelligence, and now it’s the source of one of the most embarrassing things that’s ever happened to me.
I’ve learned a few things though. First, I’m never using one of those bags to carry my stuff around the store in again. From now on I’m only using buggies or those carry cart things, or my hands.
Second, I’m not going to go out to public places when my thinking is that bad anymore because I’m afraid of making mistakes like this in the future. This really sucks because the majority of the time lately my brain is that bad but I never want to accidentally screw up like this again.
And third, it’s really shown me just how downhill my thinking has gone even just in the past few weeks. It was sort of the nudge I needed (though not wanted, that’s for sure) to make a doctor appointment and maybe we can try switching some medications around to see if things improve at all.
Today has been a long and miserable day. I’m exhausted, sad, and extremely embarrassed, not to mention very annoyed and disappointed in myself and my thinking. I still can’t really believe that I did that…how absolutely humiliating. Anyways, you may still be questioning my decision to publish this post, and again, I understand why you would. But, when I started this blog I promised myself that I would write here with brutal honesty about my disorder and the pain that it causes and how those things in turn affect my life: both the good but especially the bad – like this. So, I’m trying to keep that promise in publishing this post.