16 Dec

I figured with the medication, my compulsive behaviours would recede. And some did. But the compulsive spending-I’m beginning to believe it has a life outside of bipolar, and a life that is it’s own.

What I’ve always figured, and this article also suggests is that between not having a lot as a kid, and my father filling void after my mother died with buying me stuff and giving me money I was naturally going to like spending money. That I had been conditioned to do so. But then, I usually only have the extreme cravings when I’m manic. I get shaky, anxious, and downright weird in terms of being willing to say or do almost anything when I want some money. (I’ve mentioned before that I’m quite manipulative, right? Cause sometimes, I am)

I feel horrible for these things when the feeling passes, or I’ve spent some money as released the pressure. A bad week will also make me crave spending. This week at work was particularly stressful, and by Friday, all I wanted to do was buy something, anything. It makes me feel better, as cigarettes once did, or maybe a few beers.

Christmas makes it worse for me-I want to have lots of presents because most of my memories are filled with having only 1 or 2 bigger things under the tree, and frankly, I liked having lots of gifts. Christmas makes me want to run out and buy anything I can, for everyone.

Most of the things I buy have nothing to do with me. Buying stuff for me rarely happens-I feel horrible if I buy myself anything, even if it’s something I really need, like a winter coat, new shoes or boots.

It only occurred to me recently that this may not be an outgrowth of bipolar-it may have been exacerbated by the disease, but I’m beginning to think it’s a problem all on it’s own. It already helped me ruin my credit 10 years ago-I don’t want it to ruin everything else too.

It certainly ruins Christmas-instead of just buying for the joy of buying things, for the joy on the faces of the receivers, I’m driven and anxious.


4 Responses to “Compulse”

  1. jen December 16, 2007 at 11:47 am #

    oh, honey. ouch.

    this time is so screwy for so many of us…all the false implications.

  2. Marcy December 16, 2007 at 1:48 pm #

    Good insight… you’re doing good.

  3. alimum December 16, 2007 at 3:00 pm #

    it’s a hard time of year for everyone.

    compulsive shopping is like any other addiction, but unfortunately, we do have to buy things and consumerism is a big part of our culture, so we don’t have the option to just stop shopping and avoid all things which may encourage us to shop.

    would thrift shopping help? I tend to calm down after an hour or so of picking through the racks at the Salvation Army and I can buy lots of stuff for very little money.

  4. mercurial scribe December 16, 2007 at 10:28 pm #

    You gotta love how bipolar takes whatever inkling of what may be there and exaggerates it, amplifies it to an annoyingly deafening decibel level. And then, when you’re on medication and you think you’re “all under control”, you realize how the disease just takes you – your psychology, your personality and preferences, joys and faults – and twists it around like a Picasso painting. Once you start to look like a normal human, flawed and imperfect and wonderful, it’s hard to deal with the fact that there are still issues to be dealt with and uncomfortable truths to face. It’s frustrating and hard. It’s confusing – “But I thought I was better…”

    You are. You’re just human.

    My solution to my compulsive spending is to make gifts. I’m making jars of goodies for friends and family, kinda an “add water and presto!” gift. Cookies, soups, brownies in a jar. Lots of work for me to obsess over – the pretty layers and the bows and ribbons – but very little money for me to fuss over. (I took my Husband to shop for supplies and he handled the budget and paying – God bless my cheap Husband!) Satisfying for me and those who have gotten their gifts thus far. Just a thought that may lead you to an idea…

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