Some years ago I hit rock bottom. At least this is what I understand from what I read in my journals and my loved ones tell me.
I have no memory of this time due in part to the dissociative amnesia that covers a period of approximately five years. My spending issues, however, date further back than that.
Dissociative amnesia is just one of a list of mental health conditions I have been formally diagnosed with. Another is dissociative personality disorder which loosely means that I act outside of myself at times. This is in no way an excuse for what I am about to tell you, but simply an explanation of a condition that I have.
I have always had a very complicated relationship with money. This started at a very young age (pre-teens). I had no friends in the early years of high school, and was ostracised and bullied.
Somewhere along the way, I came up with an idea that I could buy lots lollies and buy myself some friends. This started a pattern of behaviour that continues still to this day nearly 30 years later. The pattern is when I was/am lonely, depressed, anxious, happy, scared, grieving or angry, (actually, you pick an emotion it probably fits) I go shopping. I buy things mostly for reasons that make no logical sense.
The ‘things’ that I bought were rarely extravagant or super expensive. Very rarely were they necessary and as swiftly as the ‘things’ filled the void, they also filled me with regret, remorse and guilt because yet again, I had nothing left out of my pay cheque.
I always hid my purchases and things would appear much later under the guise of, "that old thing, I’ve had that forever." When I was 18, I got a store card and maxed that out, bought a TV on a credit line then maxed that out, eventually getting a proper credit card that you guessed it I maxed that out. When you are in debt it is surprisingly easy to get more credit. This cycle continued until my breakdown.
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Payday was a constant cycle of paying off debt in various forms then having no money left to buy/do anything so I would need to live off the credit I had just paid down. I was forever robbing Peter to pay Paul as the saying goes. I managed to just keep my credit rating in check by meeting my debts but it was exhausting.
We were always living beyond our means (even though we had very good incomes and really shouldn’t have been struggling the way we did) and money was a constant source of tension between my partner and I. Somehow management of the family finances fell to me, which on the one hand was good because it meant I could hide the spending, the credit cards and ridiculous debt we were in.