Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.
#manicdepression #mania #overspending #creditcards #debt #denial #bipolarbum #mentalillness
Firstly – Go spread the word about http://www.headmeds.org, a new website designed to be a straight-talking, no bull platform that will hopefully get a lot of people diagnosed a lot earlier than we were.
Secondly, I have been struck with a wave of insomnia. Tonight one of the things that I’m pondering on is the notion of manic spending. In the self-diagnosis tests and in every description of manic depression there comes the bullet point that says “Over spending” or “Spending Spree”.
Where I lived in the U.K we are reknowned for being frugal; As we would say we are :
As tight as a duck’s arse in water.
I fit the stereotype and as a consequence I cannot imagine, let alone remember a time when I have blown all of my money by frittering it away on expensive luxuries. I can’t remember many spur of the moment shopping trips at all, actually.
I am guilty here of my thoughts getting off at the first intellectual bus stop. I am taking the most stereotypical and unimaginative translation of “Spending spree” and assuming that because I’m not guilty of that behaviour, that I have never been guilty of manic spending.
The nature of these events is that we, in undiagnosed mania, see them as extremely reasonable, well judged investments that the world then turned sour on us with unpredictable circumstances. We see the indulgences and financial blow-outs as a celebration of some kind, and therefore WORTH the money. We see a HUGE purchase as absolutely essential. We see forward as being the only direction, regardless of cost.
I can remember:
Spending more than two hundred pounds on a night out drinking in Leeds. Figures approaching this mark happened at least once a month in those days. I would buy round after round of shots (affectionately called “motherfuckers” for reasons known only to a manic drunkard and co).
I spent all of my money on an impromptu motorcycle journey through France with two friends. At the time I believe this cost me just over one thousand three hundred pounds.
I lost roughly a third of my bodyweight in two months and then ‘needed’ an entire new wardrobe. My new svelt self needed garbs of every denomination and for every possible occasion IMMEDIATELY. This trip cost me almost six hundred pounds.
I decided to come to Australia and spent a third of all the money I had on flights, visa and various pieces of equipment which I am fairly sure will remain unused unless the eventuality of a zombie holocaust occurs while I am down under.
The issue here is not the amount of money spent. The issue isn’t that I had HUGE spending splurges. The issue is in fact the opposite. The biggest issue and strongest evidence that these were manic impulse spending sprees is the fact that I barely remember making the decisions. These do not even immediately spring to mind when I think of what I have spent and where. I decided they were necessary and a good idea in an instant, another instant saw the money fly out of my hands without a single thought following them. Out of wallet-out of mind.
I am freshly diagnosed and until tonight I had never thought that I had been guilty of manic spending. Even after my diagnosis I thought it was one of the obvious elements of bipolar that was notable by its absence in my case.
WRONG – DEAD WRONG.
Whilst assessing yourself and investing the possibility that you are ill – DO NOT allow your thoughts to get off at the first mental bus stop. Rigorously and logically investigate your recent history for large amounts of money exiting your control. Were these things TRULY necessary?
What do you have to show for your money? What is the worst spending spree you’ve ever done? What strategies do you have in place to avoid manic over spending? I want to hear from you.
All the best,