I know it’s common when hypomania or mania hits for the bipolar person to go shopping.
The thing is, I hate shopping. Always have. Probably always will. I don’t like to shop for clothes or groceries or shoes. I don’t like to go out to stores.
Ah, but there’s always the Internet (I hear you say). You can shop without ever leaving your house, or for that matter your desk chair.
The problem is, I don’t have any money to spend on online shopping. And that’s one of the reasons I don’t have a credit card. It’s too easy to spend non-money.
What I do have are a debit card and a PayPal account. If there’s no more money on my debit card, too bad – I have to reload it (or more likely ask my husband to reload it). This requires taking money out of the bank account.
The PayPal account is where I usually get paid for the bit of writing and editing I do from home. I really should roll that money straight into the bank account.
But sometimes I don’t.
In fact, when the PayPal well is dry, it reverts to my backup payer – which is my bank account. It does this automatically. My husband never knows about it, since I’m the one who handles the online banking.
You see the problem here. I could shop to my heart’s content, and pay with PayPal/bank account as long as there was money available. Theoretically, I could bleed it dry.
Even with my meds working and all the progress I’ve made, I still get hypomania occasionally. I try to keep the shopping under control as well as I can.
There are several dresses in my closet that I never wear because I hardly ever go out, especially to places where a dress is necessary. I even have a party dress that I bought recently. It’s really becoming. But I never go to parties. I was just overwhelmed with the butterfly pattern and how cheap it was ($20).
But still, five dresses in two or three years isn’t bad, considering. (I once actually hyperventilated over a dress, and often do over amber jewelry.)
The real problems I have always had are books and music.
When I was still going out to malls and shopping centers and the like, the bookstores were always my downfall. My husband would take my arm and steer me past them, unless he was jonesing for a book too.
I’m trying to keep my online book-buying to a semi-reasonable level, too. I buy full-price books only when they’re absolutely essential – the last book Sue Grafton ever wrote, for example, which is not going to be discounted anytime soon.
For the rest of my ebook purchases, I subscribe to various newsletters that present me with cut-rate book choices every day. (Early Bird Books and Book Bub, for example). These books sell for $.99 (rarely), $1.99-$2.99 (usually), or $3.99 (occasionally). Once in a while I can even get a free classic – for instance, Tess of the D’Urbervilles or Ivanhoe (which I don’t recommend) or Journal of the Plague Year.
Back when I was going out, in the days when I did that, my other hypomanic shopping thrill was the used CD shop. I had a strategy for curbing my hypomania there, too, even though I didn’t know that hypomania was what I was feeling at the time. I would fill my little basket with everything that caught my eye.
Then I would weed. I made three piles – must haves, can pass on, and maybes. Then I would angst over the maybe pile, juggling price, artist, essential tunes, and the like until I had the piles down to something more manageable. Under budget or just a wee bit over. I can do the same with my online “cart.”
Again, this is a thing that could get me in trouble on the Internet, but since I have all those CDs and have loaded them all into iTunes, I seldom get the music shopping urge anymore.
So, yes, I do hypomanic shopping and no, I don’t let it break the bank. Just chip away at the edges.
Comments on: "Handling Hypomania and Shopping" (2)
I can totally relate to this! When hypo-manic I definitely was a shopper. My thing was thrift stores…especially goodwill. Always on the hunt for something. Until I figured out I don’t need the things. I guess my meds are working too 🙂
My friend John and I used to have “hot dates” – lunch at a diner then shopping at thrift stores. I got a lot of stuff I couldn’t use, too, like sweaters with a small stain I didn’t notice.
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