Bipolar and Credit Cards, Loans and Debt

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Mania for me always leads to overspending. I’ll spend an exorbitant amount of money on useless, meaningless stuff.

Shoes, bags, clothes, collectible toys, lego figurines (yes, really), games consoles, hotel rooms – I could go on and on. I’m not a materialistic person by nature, but with mania I just can’t help myself. It’s an overwhelming compulsion.

Overspending is a common symptom of hypomania and mania. It can have a huge impact on your day to day life, especially when an episode has ended. You realise how much you’ve spent and it can lead to debt, anxiety over money and even not having enough money to cover all the bills.

At one time, during a serious and extended bout of mania, I amassed; four store cards, and three credit cards. I maxed them all out. I found myself in a mountain of debt, thousands of pounds worth. I couldn’t afford the repayments and was threatened with bailiffs. Even though I was earning a reasonable wage, I had to give up my flat. Luckily, I could move in with my parents, but was still paying rent to them and had to try and somehow reach the repayments every month.

What upsets me is how I was preyed on by companies when I was extremely vulnerable and ill. One time, I was in the town centre, when I was approached by a salesperson on the street. I was absolutely wired, full of manic energy and couldn’t stop talking. It was obvious something was wrong, that I was very unwell. They used my impulsiveness against me, and with very little convincing, got me to sign up for a credit card. I starting using it as soon as it arrived. I didn’t check the APR before signing up, which was extortionate. Impulsiveness reigns supreme when I’m manic and I’d sign up for pretty much anything if it was offered to me. Every time I was asked to sign up for a store card, I obliged.

There must be some way of prohibiting people when they’re manic from signing up for credit cards, or taking out a loan. I don’t know how this would work, but it would have saved me a huge amount of stress and worry about money. The stress alone has made me ill, and I’ve become severely depressed because of it. I still overspend when I’m manic. Although now I don’t have access to my credit cards unless I really need to use them. I’ve handed them over to my partner, because I can’t trust myself with them when I’m ill. But what if you have no partner or anyone you can trust and understand the problem? I don’t know what the solution is, but companies and banks should be ashamed at how easy it is to qualify for loans and credit cards.

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