Bipolar 2 From Inside and Out

I have been manicky lately, and it has expressed itself, as it does for so many people, with spending money we don’t have. Or at least spending money we’re supposed to be getting but don’t have yet on things which we can’t afford until we get it.

The thing is, we have a nice lump sum of money coming, but we don’t know when it will arrive. And instead of sensibly waiting for it to arrive, I have already begun spending it. A new-old truck for Dan; passport applications for us both; tattoos for us both; concert tickets; clothes and maps and guidebooks and airline tickets for a trip we plan to take next year; a short getaway vacation last week; gardening and home improvement supplies. Just to name a few.

All this leaves us very little for necessities like mortgage, electricity, internet (essential for my work), and even food. We can probably live on our credit card for a while, but I know that’s only a temporary solution, and a bad solution at that, even though the credit company increased my credit limit so we could pay for the airline tickets.

Of course, I am mostly responsible for all this spending. Some of the expenditures wouldn’t wait – the airline tickets, which we had to buy immediately to lock in the current price, and the passports, which I understand can take months to arrive and we shouldn’t wait till the last minute to apply for.

But for other purchases, Dan has been enabling me – “You know you want to go hear Emmylou Harris,” for example. “She’s one of your heroes.” “Might as well get the ticket for Rodney Crowell, too. How likely is it that he’ll be playing in this area again, at least anytime soon?”

Now the proverbial chickens are coming home to roost. Last week I had to deal with a guy at the door who was there to shut off our electricity unless I gave him a check for the past-due balance on the spot. The credit card company may come to regret the limit increase. I’m sure they gave it to me because I regularly paid them more than the amount due, and I can’t do that anymore.

I realize this is relatively minor compared to some spending jags that people in the manic phase of bipolar have gone on – gambling debts, for example, and even ones that end in homelessness. But the spending adds up, and we are strained past our limit until that windfall finally arrives.

Naturally, because that’s the way things go, now that I have come to and realized the reckless spending, it has triggered my anxiety. Financial troubles have always been one of my triggers, but it’s appalling to realize that I have dug this hole myself.

And naturally, because that’s the way things go, that anxiety triggers my depression – maybe not a full-blown depressive episode, but enough to affect my life and actions. I isolate. I grow surly with my husband. I have trouble sleeping or sleep too much.

In truth, I am angry with myself and with this damned disorder. When I get manicky, I generally am able to limit my spending to amounts of $25 or less, if sometimes for several such items (or meals). But this time I have overwhelmed myself, and my husband as well. I know we’re not supposed to use bipolar disorder as an excuse for bad behavior, but I can’t help thinking that hypomania is involved at some level. The idea of live music and foreign travel were just so irresistible. I couldn’t make myself wait until a better time.

We’ll get through this, I know. Someday the expected check will come and I can start straightening out some of the mess I’ve created. But until then, anxiety and depression will be my companions. I hope the mania stays fully tamped down until then. At least, I’ll take my meds and hope so. And not skip my therapist appointment in a week and a half. We haven’t had much to discuss lately, but now I’m sure we do.

Comments on: "Coming Down From a Manic Jag" (5)

  1. Wow. Thanks. I am a few days into the anxiety/depression after a month of hypomania telling myself how much “better” I am doing now. While spending money I don’t have and taking actions with consequences. I have the same triggers.

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  2. I can totally relate. I’ve been really trying to get my finances in order but i always feel i fail badly. Yes my bills are paid and i am better at making some purchases but my biggest things is nickel and diming on things from Amazon or a few extra things at Walmart. It adds up and i really want to be a saver not a spender. Then i tell myself nasty anxiety ridden things that don’t help the disorder. So yeah i feel you.

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  3. Spending is my downfall. Whenever I’m in a depressed state I’ll go spend money I don’t have. I’m working hard to curb this but once I’m in a manic/depressed state it’s hard to stop. I hate this illness so much.

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  4. Do you go down into depression after a manic phase? Or do you go down and then up? Or does the depression happen totally separately?
    I have a friend who says his mania starts out as a big mixture of high and low but as it ramps up it’s like a change in the weather from stormy to sunny, and that the end of the episode feels much better than the beginning. Exactly contrary to the usual explanation of “bipolar”.

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    • Everyone’s different. Your friend could have bipolar 1 or 2, cyclothymic disorder, mixed episodes, or some other version I haven’t heard of yet. This time I went into depression with anxiety after a manic phase, but I don’t know if that’s “typical.” It would be nice to have a level “steady state” between mood swings, but I don’t know how often that really happens.

      As I always say, I’m not a psychiatrist or a psychotherapist. Your mileage may vary.

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