Manic Spending and the Day I Asked for Help
‘So, Dee, how are you doing?’ My psychiatrist’s smiling face peered from my iPhone on the telemedicine app. I scheduled the consultation because I knew something was wrong. Recently, I realized my spending habits obliterated my budget. Whenever I received my COLA check from my teacher retirement, I spent three-fourths of it paying off my credit cards. This I hid from everyone.
I felt my heart speeding up to disclose the truth. I’m destroying my financial security, I’m not in control because I LOVE my manic highs.
‘Dr. Sadler, I think I have a spending problem. I invest in myself as a writer with some online classes and a lot of submission fees. Also, I’m a threat to buy too many things on Amazon. It wreaks havoc on my monthly budget.’ I sighed. Bringing this to the surface with nowhere to hide gave me a sense of relief. ‘But I have no regrets that I blew through my inheritance because I enjoyed the fuck out of my life! After all, it’s only money.’
My parents had left me financially secure, but then I went on a giant spending spree. I’d been dreaming of seeing the Spanish Riding School from age seven. I booked a trip to Vienna, Austria, in 1997. Right before our trip to Austria, I took my husband and daughter to Sears. I walked in waving my hands with a bow and said, ‘Buy anything you want for a week from underwear to coats! Money is no object!’ My daughter squealed with delight, and my husband’s
smile lit up the lady’s nightgown aisle. You’d think we had launched a buying spree in Saks Fifth Avenue.
In 2007, I paid for a motivational speaker’s presentation in San Francisco. Brenden Burchard had written Life’s Golden Ticket: An Inspirational Novel, which was code for my success as an author. Of course, I flew first class and booked a five-star hotel, used taxis, and dined at the best restaurants because, in my bipolar mind, I knew this would pay off big. That night, at the convention center, I signed up for his coaching and VIP dinner for $10,000. Not only that, but I
also had given my coach the original copy of the screenplay of my book, as it had arrived in the mail the evening before I left that next day and I had no time to copy it.
With promises of talking to Hollywood, I left feeling like I’d gotten my money’s worth and justified my spending by
thinking to myself, I’m enjoying my life! I knew the dollars would be flowing soon. In my bipolar mind, if I thought it, it was a done deal.
Little did I know the guy never did anything to promote the script, and when I emailed the organization, no one knew a damn thing about someone having my screenplay. Oh dear, what have I done? In 2014, I moved into an independent living retirement home using my teacher retirement and Social Security to pay $1,799 a month for a 436 square-foot apartment.
I thought I had conquered my manic spending since I took a low dose of Abilify only every other day and felt like I had licked my bipolar illness, and everything was under control. Now, on the phone with my psychiatrist, I would fess up. I hope he doesn’t increase my medication. I hate getting so fat again and always feeling like shit. But nothing has turned out like I thought it would. God, I’m going to miss feeling manic and high all the time.
‘Dee, you know you can’t continue like this. You are manic now. I’m going to double your Abilify. Take it daily now and let’s see how you do.’ Bummer! Hello, side effects! Goodbye fun! Not being high can be security, I thought as I popped the pill in my mouth. It’s only money till it’s gone.