I have briefly touched on my shopping addiction before but I have decided that I am going to go further into it with you. Not because I particularly want to tell the whole world my inner most issues but because it helps me to write – sometimes when I see things on paper, or screen, they become even more real. Once I write the words and read them I can’t take them back and this helps me, somehow! Also, I want to be held accountable for my actions, even if just to myself.
Perhaps I can also help someone, or someone can help me when they read this, so here goes.
I have recently come to the realization that my so called shopping addiction is more than that, it is actually a disorder. Yes – I have self diagnosed myself, but all the signs are there and the current state I am in right now, mentally and financially has forced me to own up to this – I have Compulsive Buying Disorder. I have been doing some intense research to try and help myself and everything I read or listen to, I find myself nodding all the way through because I fit the bill. Many people don’t understand these mental disorders but let me tell you, they are real, they are bad, they are scary and they are not easy to deal nor can you just make them go away.
Let me tell you my story;
I am in a mountain of debt, and all the wrong debt. My debt consists of loans and retail accounts. You see, I ran my retail accounts up so high that I couldn’t manage financially from month to month that I ended up taking loans. I am now in a mess! I am trying to pay these accounts but am not getting anywhere because of interest. Yes, they are in arrears because the monthly installment became out of control.
The vicious circle of Compulsive Buying Disorder goes something like this – I get paid, I have worked out my budget strictly and promise myself this month I will stick to it, but before I know it, I have this desperate need to go the shops, to buy something, whether it is a bunch of toiletries I could do without, or some clothing I don’t particularly need, or even like, but I just have to shop and spend. It is a high for me while I am there but a few hours later when I check my bank balance and go through my budget, I realize I have done it again. This results in me either returning some stuff or thinking “I feel really shitty about this but I HAVE to keep this stuff and will just make do”. It all depends on what it is – if it is something I really like, I suck up the guilt and “make it work” but if I bought it just because there was nothing I liked but I HAD to buy something then I can return it.
I collect things and not memories. I have a cupboard full of clothes (of which I dislike 99% of them) but nowhere to wear them to because I spent all my money on them.
This has been me for the last few years. I knew it was a problem but only now that it is out of control and I am still doing it despite thinking I have learnt my lesson (towards every month end I think I will not do this next month) but even though I have faced some terrible financial problems I still have not actually learnt my lesson – the lesson gets forgotten as soon as I step into the shops.
It is not easy to admit and as I write this I feel like shit – I am a 25 year old married woman but I almost feel like a child. I am so vulnerable and impressionable when it comes to spending/buying/shopping and to be honest, I just don’t know how to stop. I mean, there are the obvious ways;
Seek help – which I cant afford because of the position I am in and my affordable medical aid doesn’t cover therapy.
Break the habit – stop going to the shops, only taking enough money with me for what I absolutely need, which will help except if I don’t have the willpower to do it, then it wont actually help.
I guess I could be on the road to recovery because I am facing up to it but this is not enough because I still feel like I cannot control myself. The need to buy feels more overpowering than anything else.
I am not going to tell you the extent to which this goes but trust me when I say it is bad!
My research has helped a lot in that I now know that this disorder is linked to other disorders like anxiety and depression (of which I am a sufferer) but the confusing part is that a) I could be shopping because I am depressed and need that high or b) because of the shopping my depression is on steroids. This is why it is tricky and why I feel like I need help. I know a lot about depression and anxiety because I have researched this, I have gone through such terrible times that I understand it, but not completely. And if all of these things are linked, how do I stop it? how do I unlink them? How do I help myself?
Right now, I feel like my only option is to seek help because it is definitely not something I can figure out and overcome myself because I would have done this ages ago if I could, before the debt got as bad, before I got into this dark place.
And if you were wondering, my loved ones know about it and even when they get disappointed with me or even angry, it doesn’t matter because when the need arises, I don’t care about anything else.
My life is a real confessions of a shopaholic but I don’t have enough to sell to get out of my debt.
I found this podcast and listened to it, all the points make so much sense to me. One of the therapists talking, Dr. April Lane Benson specializes in Compulsive Buying Disorder, and has actually experienced it herself. She has a book, To buy or not to buy which I am dying to read but I actually can’t afford to buy it. You see, this circle is so vicious that it has completely sucked me dry. I cannot even try and get the help I need because I cannot afford it!
So I guess this is part plea – if somebody has advice then I will appreciate it, if someone knows of a therapist that could help me, send me their contact details. If someone knows of books I can read, send me titles.
It is also me admitting to this, it is not easy but here I am, basically standing naked and revealing everything!