Compulsions are a horrible thing. When I was younger, and at the beginning of my journey through mental illness hell, my compulsion was self harm; cutting. But not cutting with a knife. My choice was safety pins or dull instruments. Pain was more intense and real to me that way. I guess it was more “digging” or “aggressively scratching” than it was cutting. Never the less, it was my compulsion.
As I grew, my compulsions were still destructive; drinking, drugs (pot and acid), sex. There was an itch on the surface, and it needed a scratch, and this is how I scratched those itches.
Now, my compulsion is mostly shopping (spending money). Not nearly as destructive, but it still gets me in trouble.
About 3 years ago or so, I was shopping at Sam’s Club (A big box store that requires membership that is affiliated with WalMart). They were offering $20 off my order, if I applied for a Sam’s Club Credit Card. Knowing we would not be approved, I said sure, just so I could get the 20 bucks off my bill. Much to my dismay, I was approved, for a thousand dollar limit. I felt guilty, because I KNEW my husband was going to be mad, but I bucked up and fessed up and told my husband what happened. He was disappointed. Told me NOT to use the credit, but we could use it for legitimate “Emergencies”.
Well, long story short, everything became an emergency to me. As I got close to my limit, Sam’s Club extended my credit by another grand. I had a odd-job, so I was making small payments on the card, which in my mind, gave me the right to keep spending. Because that itch… It needed scratching.
My husband refused to make payments on the card, because he never purchased anything on it. So the bills eventually never got paid. At the end of this recent summer, I got a notice to appear in court, for failure to pay my debt. FUCK! So, another long story short, I made arrangements with the collection company to pay $50 every paycheck. They take it directly out of our bank account, which is for the best. It is going to take something like 4 years to pay off my debt at this rate. I am hoping to increase the amount of payment once I get a steady job.
I wish calamine lotion worked for said itches. Because having to deal with your fuck ups is embarrassing, humiliating, and hurtful.
Which leads me to today. I got that itch. I feverishly was looking of clearance sections of my favorite online stores to find some good bargains for me. Then I felt guilty. So I started looking for stuff for my daughter, who actually really needs some new clothes, as she has gone up a size, and doesn’t have much (this constitutes as an emergency). Mind you, she has enough clothes to get her through the week. But my itch was telling me different. My itch was telling me it was a DIRE EMERGENCY, and the itch was BAD.
So, I bought her a pair of jeans, a hoodie, a shirt, and a pair of underwear, all for under 30 bucks. Which my itch is telling me that was an AWESOME deal. But my bank account is telling me it could have waited.
I have to keep an eye on this, because this is usually a sign of mania for me. I have guilt, but my itch is telling me it could have been worse.
What do you do when you feel a compulsion creep in? Are you ever successful in putting the proverbial fire out before it gets out of control?