Could I be Manic

By Michelle Lemme

What is wrong with me?  Honestly, sometimes I feel as though I’m incapable of not spending money.  I think I may have a serious problem with “impulse control” when it comes to purchasing.  Do you think I could I be manic?

A friend told me about a website that carries the brand of swimsuit that I really like.  I already own one, it’s in great condition.  I rationalized that with the amount of time I spend in my suit at the cottage, it would make sense to have two that are comfortable (as opposed to the second one I own, which, impulsively I had to have, even though it clearly did not fit “properly”).  In any case, I found the same suit, different color and purchased it for just under $100 including tax and shipping.  I made that purchase on February 26, today is March 19, 2012 and I am still waiting on delivery.

I spend, roughly $150 every other month on “supplements” which I purchase online.  This has been going on for approximately 6 months.  These purchases include PGx, for weight loss, weight maintenance and glycemic control.  I have yet to lose more than the six pounds I lost before I started taking it.  I can’t stop using it, just in case it might actually work.  Seriously pathetic.

I had earned a substantial amount of optimum points prior to Christmas.  I wasn’t sure of the total amount, but did know that it was at least $80.  I walk out of the store only after using all of my points and spending an additional $100 on stuff I absolutely do not need.  Ugh.

I’m not working right now so I need to fill my days with something stimulating, which wasn’t a “time waster”.  I was inspired to try my hand at painting by my neighbor and friend, Clara.  I started small, just a $20 kit from Walmart that included paper, brush and multiple tubes of acrylic paints.  Really enjoyed the time I spent painting, a few of the pieces I have done, I actually like.  Before my paints run out, I jump online and order some large tubes of acrylic paint and a number of different brushes (one I have no idea how to use).  Total bill was around $100.   Not surprisingly, I start to get disenchanted with the acrylic paints they dry so fast, I couldn’t get my paintings to look like they had movement.  The answer, of course, was to give up the acrylic and switch to oil paints.  I go with Clara to the art supply store, where I drop another $180 this time on oil paints and supplies!  Yikes.

I can’t tell you the number of sweaters/clothes/purses/jewelry that I own and have never worn; my therapist has instructed me on several occasions to always keep the receipts so things can be returned (I detest “returns” especially when I can more easily donate my new clothes in my community).

I bought all of these things in the space of one month.  Remember, I am presently not working, my husband is self employed, we have 4 mostly adult daughters and we just spent a big chunk of change to get hardwood flooring installed throughout the house.  I have no business spending money on things I don’t need or even really want.  Thinking of my impulsive behavior leaves me feeling sick, guilty, exhausted and stupid.  The question is this, what do I need to do to take back control?

I think I need to understand why I behave this way before I can put a plan in place.  Too bad I don’t see my therapist for another two weeks.  Maybe I’m trying to fill some type of void … I honestly don’t know.  Being present and living in the moment is usually part of the answer, certainly applies to the guilt that comes with reliving the past, which cannot be changed.