I kept looking at my first credit card bill hoping that the 4 figures would disappear if I looked long enough. In the foetal position I started to cry and I could not stop.
Was it only a few weeks ago I was spending money and having so much fun? My family used to call me mean with money but now after a manic episode I was in a lot of debt.
When I was busy buying I gave no thought to how I would pay for everything. I felt so exhilarated, so wonderful so powerful when I was spending money that it was all about the feeling not what I was buying. I really had not much to show for it.
I would go to expensive boutiques and put designer clothes on layby (remember layby, putting a deposit on an item and then paying it off over a few months) but I would never pay them off as I was too ashamed when I was depressed to go back to the shops.
Amidst my tears I decided to never use my card again and to try to pay off my debt when I could from my part time job, as I was a student.
The plan worked until about 6 weeks later when I was high again and I found where a friend had hidden my card. The mania made me forget my plan not to use the card, to restrict my spending but it seduced me to spending more and more.
After many years, I cut my card up, because a relative offered to pay off my debts if I destroyed my card. This worked for a while, but I still put things on layby.
I did not stop the excessive spending until I admitted I had bipolar and received help.
It was not easy because I had friends and family questioning my every purchase making me feel like a child. I knew my family were just trying to help but it made me want to rebel.
Things that helped: getting better through medication, exercise, supportive friends, having no credit cards, only using eBay /online stores when accompanied by a responsible adult, paying cash, and being honest about how much I was spending by writing every purchase down.
This was my story and everyone is different. When I sought help, started being honest with myself and others, stopped feeling ashamed and tried to minimise the damage, it made me feel more in control.
Some people spend more when they are depressed, some when they are high. Can you share your experiences and what worked for you?
A Moodscope member.