Grandiose Blues: in a nutshell, Depression/Bipolar Disorder can cause one to go into extreme debt. This is caused by the belief that you have lots of money if you have Bipolar Disorder. You may believe you are rich, famous, wealthy, etc. Based on that false belief, you spend like crazy on stuff, trips, luxuries, gadgets, gifts, etc. and you cannot realistically bail yourself out. You may have to keep borrowing and/or file bankruptcy.
Depression can cause you to buy ‘feel good items’ or comfort stuff much the same way. In both scenarios, your spending is or will become reckless.
In both cases, it is time for professional help. A change in medications. Therapy. The situation is beyond being able to stop on your own. If you see this pattern in a loved one, it will cause you to be frustrated and angry. You vent, fuss, argue, etc.
The problem does not go away using those tactics. The problem, issue, side effect, if you will, can be solved with professional intervention with mental healthcare services and a plan. When a person with mental illness is stabilized, then the behavior can be discussed with a bona fide plan to prevent it from happening again.
It ends those monthly fights over social security benefit checks, too! (barring drugs, gambling, extreme circumstances requiring intense intervention strategies and NEVER violence).
For example: BUDGET
taking bank cards, credit cards, check book,
making a list before shopping, using coupons, sale items only, etc.
delay going to store or online shopping until mood swings have passed, stabled.
BEFORE spending money, discuss why a persons wants to shop or feel the need to shop without judging.
Participate in the shopping trip to avoid a spree! Can you have popcorn and a home movie instead? Will a trip to the theater work? How about an afternoon window shopping trip! One of the ways I learned to not spend money I didn’t have (w.i.p.) was to window shop with the idea/commitment that if it is there when I return, it is meant for me. What about lay-a-ways…they are still en vogue in my book. My favorite store was/is Burlington Factory. I could lay-away items and pay in increments when I worked outside my home.
Recognize when YOU are influencing a vulnerable person to spend money he/she doesn’t have;
Do not bail him/her out every time and know the cut-off point;
Know when to contact the person’s doctor/pastor/therapist respectfully and ask for help. This should not mean calling social services and demanding checks be placed in your name, etc. which leads to all sorts of hatred, resentment, hurt, harm, disrespect, accusations, allegations, profanity, bullying, oppression, low self-esteem, serious/Chronic depression, fear, anxiety, panic, etc. and does very little, if anything at all, to help a person achieve mental wellness recovery success.
Mental wellness recovery success is unique to each individual and it will not happen overnight because you say so like with any other illness or behavior modification. I am suggesting meeting with the person and his/her doctor/pastor, etc. together and working as a team understanding stabilization must happen before persons can see, understand, accept the problem and work to solve it. This is moving towards recovery success with a goal.
Enforce responsible spending with compassion;
Do not make continuous loans to a vulnerable person causing debt he/she cannot repay you;
Have something old, but good as new? — bless him/her with it from pots, pans to shoes to earrings, etc. You will be amazed how that cures reckless spending and quenches that urging desire to spend.
Did you know ‘Monday-morning-quarter-backing’ includes spending, gift-giving, etc. the same way ‘normal’ people agonize when those Christmas bills start rolling in?
Do we want to sacrifice after-Christmas sales/bargains and purchase health insurance? YES we must!
Affordable healthcare is the goal for every person by the end of the year. Persons who receive monthly benefits, may have dependents who do not. Access to affordable healthcare IS access to mental heal services. Preventing mental illness in your family means one more healthy person in the community to build it up.
There is nothing embarrassing about applying for Medicaid for all members of the family in MDHealthConnection.gov or going into a local social services office. There are Navigators (health ambassadors) available to help persons apply for and/or purchase affordable healthcare. There is nothing wrong with receiving mental health services, too! This is the best way to break the cycle of mental illness in families and not continue the cycle of mental illness and poverty.
In 2014, NO name-calling is allowed!!!