By: Sam Bowman
Mania is challenging to deal with on its own. Add impulsive spending to those manic episodes, and you’ve got an additional layer of difficulty to overcome. Grounding yourself after an episode and finding out you’ve spent all of your savings on trinkets at a garage sale might just tip you into another bout with mania.
Impulsive spending not only wrecks your financial stability but can hinder your ability to manage your bipolar disorder successfully. Instead of letting your next manic episode put you further into financial ruin, do the following to protect yourself and your money.
Learn the Warning Signs and Know Your Triggers
You may not be able to prevent manic episodes all the time. However, you can fend off a fair amount of them when you know the warning signs and what triggers them.
The warning signs of a manic episode include:
● Constant irritability
● A higher sex drive
● Irregular sleep or none at all
● Restlessness and racing thoughts
● An onset of unexplainable anxiety
● Not taking care of yourself as you should
● Talking fast and more than you usually do
● Feeling highly energetic and like you’re on top of the world
● Being more willing to engage in dangerous or self-destructive behavior
Unfortunately, it will take you going through some manic episodes to understand what triggers them. But at least you’ll understand your triggers and can take action against them.
Look back on your last manic episode and pinpoint which warning signs you experienced before it took place. Then, document notes on those triggers, warning signs, and ideas for what to do should you encounter them.
Knowing the warning signs and what triggers them in you is one of the best defenses against mania and the impulsive spending accompanying it.
Channel Your Manic Energy Into Something Productive
It’s easy to turn to something unproductive, like hasty spending, when in the middle of a manic episode. However, working to break this habit can be more beneficial than most realize. You can actually channel your manic energy into something productive.
Train yourself to turn to an activity or project that’s positive and constructive when facing mania rather than immediately running to impulsive spending or another harmful habit.
Doing eco-friendly upgrades to your backyard is an excellent example of a productive project for which you can use your manic energy. You can spend time learning about organic materials, eco-friendly tools, and solar power. You can also plant a garden or design a natural swimming pool.
Rely on productive projects and activities to get you through manic episodes to take your mind off impulsive spending entirely.
Pay Down Debt and Keep It Down
Manic spending can result in a heap of debt that locks you in a vicious cycle. When your mental health and bipolar disorder are in a bad place, mania comes, and so does increased spending.
Then, all that spending and accumulated debt make you feel horrible, causing your mental health and bipolar disorder to remain unstable. So, you spend again to make yourself feel better. And it just keeps going around and around.
To avoid this cruel cycle, work to pay down your debt and commit to keeping it down. Doing so relieves financial stress. Less financial stress lets you focus on keeping your bipolar disorder in check and your mental health in a good state.
And when you do this, you’ll have fewer manic episodes and fewer opportunities to engage in the impulsive spending that got you into debt.
Make a list of the debts you owe. You can list them with the highest or lowest amount at the top, whichever you plan to tackle first. Then, choose the debt you plan to pay off first and gather all the necessary information to make payments. Stick to your payment plan until the debt is paid off, and then move to the next one.
It’s crucial you don’t put pressure on yourself to pay off everything at once. Instead, choose a payment amount you can stick to and keep crossing those debts off your list until they’re all gone.
Don’t add any more debt to your pile, either. Cut your credit cards up, have someone pick credit card and loan offers out of your mail, hide your debit card, and only use cash if you have to. Whatever it takes to ensure your debt stays down.
Impulsive spending may be common during a manic episode. However, you mustn’t allow it to make a permanent home in your life. Avoid harsh financial consequences and take better care of yourself during a manic episode by using the guidance above to prevent impulsive spending.