If you’re like me, your hypomanic episodes often spell financial trouble. Here’s how to pick up the pieces, and start rebuilding your finances.
For those of us who’ve had a full-blown manic or hypomanic episode, we often find that we have done a lot of things that we wouldn’t normally have done. Whether this be spending, sex, or broken relationships, many of us are left to pick up the pieces after an episode ends.
I recently had a hypomanic episode last December when visiting my parents. For some reason, the cold weather energized me, as someone who lives in Florida. During my first visit, in early December, I was mostly okay. During my second visit, in late December and early January, I was truly experiencing a hypomanic episode. I was walking crazy amounts of steps every day – and my Fitbit tracked every step. One day alone I walked over 22,000 steps. This was not normal, and I knew it. Unfortunately, some damage had been done already.
My hypomanic episodes mostly involve buying things that I shouldn’t be buying – I either don’t have the money, and I put it on a credit card, or I spend down the money in my husband and my joint checking account and savings account.
During this visit, this was what happened. I was planning a trip to New York City that I couldn’t really afford (my parents live in upstate New York). I bought a train ticket and a Broadway ticket. I made and cancelled my hotel room reservations 3 times, leading to cancellation fees. I donated to charity. I bought things – a tent and a bike rack, even though I haven’t used either yet (it’s now late April).
If increased spending is part of your mania or hypomania, I have the following tips:
Keep your credit cards hidden before you feel an
episode coming on or ask someone you trust to hold onto them.
If you do find yourself having spent more money
than you should during a hypomanic episode, try to clean up the mess when you
are feeling better. Make payment plans for paying off your credit cards.
Utilize savings to cover bills if need be. Ask for help. Can you return
anything? If so, return it.
Before you’re in an episode, or if you feel an
episode coming on, disable one click ordering on websites you frequently use –
for me this is Amazon.com. It can be too easy to just click and buy things.
Forgive yourself. Even though I ran up some debt
during my hypomanic episode, I made a plan to pay it off, and put further
spending on hold. If you can recognize the sings of a manic or hypomanic
episode you may be able to prevent financial damage from occurring.
Reach out to your therapist or psychiatrist. I
had wanted to ask my psychiatrist to increase one of my meds before I made the
trips, but I didn’t. When I ended up stuck out of state, I made a call to my
psychiatrist and I was able to increase one of my medications.
These are some
suggestions to help deal with the financial fallout from a result of a manic or
Lisa Acuña is an Orlando-based librarian, and aspiring writer and photographer. She loves the resources available at bphope.com and reads the website daily. She has Bipolar Disorder Type II, and is always looking for ways to best manage her Bipolar. In her free time she enjoys exercise and reading.
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