Author: Violette Kay
My grandma’s neighbor was the first person with bipolar disorder that I ever met. I was a child- I didn’t really know what bipolar disorder was, much less that I would go on to learn that I had it too. My first encounters with the illness took place in this eccentric old lady’s condo, where she would call me over when she was depressed so that I could help her sort through all the random stuff she bought while she was manic.
“Reckless spending”: It’s a symptom of mania or hypomania, characterized by excessive behaviors involving money. One might picture a whirlwind trip to the mall, heaps of designer clothes and maxed out credit cards. Or perhaps a large and risky investment into an uncertain business venture. But reckless spending can look very different for a manic person who doesn’t have a lot of money or resources, adding complications to an already difficult relationship with money.
- Backing lots of strangers’ Kickstarter campaigns for projects I later realize I don’t actually care for. I still have some pretty weird things they sent me as “rewards”. I can mostly laugh at it now.
- Buying a music school. Whoops, I mean co-buying. Okay, I’ll admit this one is more extreme. But it was before I had a credit card, so I only spent money I actually had. (All of it. I spent all the money I had.)
- Leaving jobs I hate, because “money doesn’t matter” and “the UniverseTM will provide”.
- Shoplifting more confidently, because of a genuine belief that I shouldn’t have to pay.
There is no dollar count you have to hit to meet the diagnostic criteria. It doesn’t matter that your spending doesn’t seem reckless to other people. What matters is that it is uncharacteristic for you. There are many ways to spend money recklessly just like there are many ways of being a person with bipolar disorder. Let’s not… “discount” (sorry, I had to!) our experiences just because they don’t match someone else’s expectation.