One of the problems some bipolar people have is when they become hypomanic or manic; they spend huge amounts of money. I myself have done this, and I am now paying back what I owe. Bipolar and spending money can go hand in hand, so what do you do if you find yourself in debt.
How to Get Out of Debt
The first thing I would suggest is to cut up those credit cards and if you have memorised the three digits on the back of your card and have the details stored on your phone or computer, then delete them. Order brand new cards and cut them up without looking at the three digits on the back.
If you have taken out lots of little loans or have taken out a bigger loan and have cards, you will be best at consolidating your debt. One payment per month is much easier to work towards and manage than lots of them spread out. Otherwise, you will feel as though you are constantly paying your debts back.
If you have no money to pay your debts back, there are a few options available to you. You can agree with your creditors to pay what you can afford each month. Or you can apply for bankruptcy, but this will cost you a lot of money to do. Or you can in the UK apply for a debt relief order.
The easiest way to do this is by visiting the Citizens advice bureau, and they will advise you what the best option is. If you click on the link above, it will take you to the DRO page on their website.
I am still working on this one as I have overwhelming urges and little remorse as I am spending money. I cannot fathom it really as when I am “normal” or depressed; I am quite careful with money as I am on a limited budget because I’m paying back debt.
Sometimes I do get stressed by it, and that is when my prayer life helps me and meditations, plus I use hypnosis to help deal with stress.
I know my spending habits are out of my control, and I have tried as hard as possible not to spend money, but alas, I have failed, and I still do.
But what I have learnt is that after the spending episode has faded, I will try and send as much stuff as I can back to the shop or wherever I bought it.
I also play bingo, so I close all of my accounts for six months using Gamstop. I’m thinking of doing it for five years as it is not worth the hassle, really. Online gambling is not conducive to the bipolar mind and spending habits.
I took out a DRO order back in 2013, and I was unable to get anything on credit for about five to seven years, so that did help me, and my spending was only with the cash I had in my basic bank account. And that is another thing I advise. Choose a bank account where you do not have an overdraft, get back to basics.
Bipolar and Spending Money Anxiety
If you have managed to spend your way into debt, do not panic about it or stress yourself. It is something you cannot help; it is part of your illness. I learned a long time ago this part of the illness would be with me for life, and sometimes it is a constant battle. But the last thing you should do is become anxious.
Anxiety over the money you have spent will cause you more harm than good. There are ways around it like I stated at the very beginning. If you are worried about the roof over your head, please contact the Citizens advice bureau; there is no shame in this debt. It is because you are unwell.
It happens a lot to people with bipolar; if they are not spending money, they may be going off the rails with sexual partners. Hypomania and mania is the problem, not you.
You will find the symptoms of bipolar on my website, and you will note spending money is part of and also getting yourself in potentially dangerous situations. It is not you who is doing this, it is the illness, and that is why there is help available. I have a list at the bottom of this article to help you find the resources you need to get back on track.
If you have a family and have bought them all into debt, explain to them it is part of the illness. I know it won’t make them feel any better. Still, hopefully, you can work towards paying the debts with family help rather than going through bankruptcy.
In my own opinion, sometimes it is worth going bankrupt to stop you from accessing funds in the future, especially if you do not have your bipolar under control.
I went for a whole seven years of not being in debt when I took out the debt relief order, and believe me; it was a relief. Credit is not the friend of those who experiences bipolar.
I have to re-evaluate my finances every time I have a hypomanic episode, and as my memory worsens, it is getting more and more difficult for me to keep track of things, and I forget what I have bought and where I have bought it from. But my memory is a separate subject, it does not have anything to do with bipolar, or so I’m led to believe.
I recommend using the worksheets provided by Money Saving Expert for keeping track of paying back your debt and working out a monthly budget. He also has a page on his website for free debt advice; I highly recommend using his free resources.
All in all, I am nowhere near home free when it comes to debt, I still suffer from surplus spending, but I have learnt over the years to use these tactics when faced with piling debt. I hope there has been some advice you can use.