Buying My Way Through Mania
I’m feeling a little lifted. Brighter than usual.
I decide it’s a really good idea to go to the drug store and stock up on items that I need. I start a list in my mind, and it’s quite long.
There are so many things I could use, how could I have lived without them before this?
I get to the drug store and grab a cart. It’s a cart kind of day. I make my way to the first aisle and drop in some grapefruit facial scrub and a mint-colored nail polish.
I make my way by the lip gloss and throw one in with the others. Tissues with a holographic box? Definitely need those. A pack of three multicolored loofahs? Well, yes, the one I already have will need to be changed out soon.
On I go, until a part of me realizes this is quite a lot of goods in one trip.
I check out at the register.
$66. Could be worse, but still, not optimal.
I really like the drug store items, though. The shower is a brand new place. Washing hands at the sink now smells better.
Yes, I have everything I need, but maybe a little more for good measure.
One of the criterion for bipolar mania includes excessively engaging in pleasurable activities such as spending or shopping. And when I’m spending money like a rapper in the drug store you know that I’m at least hypomanic.
When it comes to me purchasing bath and body products, $66 doesn’t seem so bad, but it reflects how your judgment can change when you are in a manic episode.
When I’m behaving “regularly”, I usually only purchase the essentials, with an inexpensive addition here and there.
When I’m “lucky”.
I have come to realize (after spending much money in various places, mind you) that if I’m feeling like loading the cart up, I may not be thinking rationally.
The problem I have is that sometimes I let myself spend even when I realize what I’m doing.
The mania can be more powerful than my memory, encouraging me to indulge.
The medium can vary, but it all means one thing—those pesky manic episodes.
So, what have I done so far to try and curb my manic spending issues?
- I have created a budget and spending habits, mostly through Mint.com and my own tracking on Microsoft Word.
- I have talked with my therapist about the impact of excessive spending and reflected on the moments that I have engaged in spending when manic.
- I allow myself to get one extra thing that excites me, even when I’m not in a state of mania or hypomania. I am experimenting, but I think it makes me feel less needy of items when I’m having an episode.
Do you have excessive spending issues during episodes of mania? Has it caused you any distress (emotional, financial, relationships)?
What do you suggest for someone that experiences times of excessive spending?
Dawkins, K. (2013). Buying My Way Through Mania. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 1, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/bipolar-life/2013/01/buying-my-way-through-mania/