Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hypomania Revisited (Part 2)

How do I control spending during a hyomania? With all apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning...Let me count the ways. I control it to the depth and breadth and height...oh well, let's take a look at Browning's famous poem and then we can discuss spending.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Back to I mentioned in an earlier post, when I used to have problems controlling spending during a hypomania, I voluntarily gave my credit cards and checks to my husband. It wasn't that my spending was "outrageous" because it wasn't. It's just that I'm a responsible person and I felt that my husband had worked too hard for us to be in financial jeopardy.

These days, I sometimes feel a need to buy things during a hypomania and rather than deny myself entirely, I pick really small items that I like. So... during my recent hypomania, I have bought the following:
  • Pencils
  • A new pencil sharpener (I've had the other ones for 15 years so this didn't seem excessive. Needless to say, I write by hand with pencils so it's not like this is a huge luxury.
  • 2 books (They satisfied my need and I go with regularity to the library)
  • 3 new picks for my Autoharp
  • 2 pairs of socks for my mom (she likes little gifts and we're both sock people)
  • cards for my husband and a few friends
  • moleskin notebooks (my favorite and they only cost $9.95 for three booklets)
And that's it! Once again, I'm proud of my self-control.

While I used to read bipolar books about people who spent unbelievable amounts of money during a hypomania (or maybe it was a mania and perhaps that's a whole other thing), I couldn't understand it. Like every other aspect of this illness, it seems to me that once you recognize you've got certain symptoms, you need to figure out ways to control them.

But that's just me.


JayPeeFreely said...

I get spendy when I get those moods. Though, it's been awhile since I just bought anything.

Last week: both inks and 28 lb. paper. That was $50. Ink is such a pain...

I need to get happy again!!! :)

How's your weather? And does that affect things more than usual in your life?

marja said...

I'm not "usually" a big spender either, even during hypomania. My judgement is often off though and I might buy something I would not think of buying during more sane times - like the weird pair of shoes I bought a while back that I think I will never wear. Also, I tend to give money away too freely. I try to discuss things with my husband before I donate to something, but there are times...

My big problem is taking on more projects than I can handle. Do you think there are different kinds of manics: some that are spenders and others that tend to be more on-takers of projects?


My spending problems center around buying lots of little things, thus allowing me to believe I'm not being extravagant. My fail-safe is to make a list of necessary items (rent, food, phone, vacuum cleaner bags one book if I've read what I already have, etc.) I work the list before I get my money and ruthlessly cross out the unnecessary or foolish items. I stick to the list. Last, I give my best friend a chunk of money to hold.

Polly said...

I spend much more money than I should, but I am poor enough that it's not possible for me to get too much in debt (aside from the student loans, which are a different animal) because I just don't have the credit to be spending money I don't have. I have only one credit card with a $500 limit, and the only times I ever use it at all are when a) I'm hypomanic, b) when I literally do not have a single cent in my pocket or in the bank, or c) both.

I am better at controlling my spending than I used to be, though. If I'm at the bookstore and I see four books that I think I just have to have, I usually manage to buy one or two of them and tell myself that I will buy the others on subsequent trips to the mall. I know I won't read all four of them before the next time I'm at the mall, what with having so many *other* books, and I know I'm also going to want to buy stuff the next time I'm there just 'cause I like buying books, so if I bought all four of them this time, I might end up buying books I don't even really want the next time.

Syd said...

I've gotten a lot better about not spending money when I'm hypomanic. Finding and using an awesome budgeting software system has really made a huge difference. If I'd had this tool 20 years ago, I could retire by now!

I'm more of an over-committer like Marja now when I'm hypomanic. I seem to have a natural urge to volunteer to do whatever needs doing AND I come up with lots of projects (business ideas, craft projects, home improvement, taking a class, etc.) for myself. I wish I could just learn to say "NO" more often.