Author Topic: Comfort shopping  (Read 2319 times)

Mabelcat

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Comfort shopping
« on: November 27, 2013, 07:05:40 PM »
When I am acutely unwell I am generally moribund and struggle even to buy necessities though the cats do keep me up to the mark with cat food shopping.  However when I am just becoming unwell or beginning to recover or just generally stressed I tend to shop to make me feel better, unfortunately sometimes using money I don't have.  I am still paying off debts from various sprees. 

I seem to be a bit better about this these days but I am in the middle of a grand clear out and the results of my comfort behaviour have become very apparent.  The flat had become very cluttered, hence the clear out, but I had somehow failed to appreciate quite how much stuff I had.  I have so far taken a dozen bags of stuff, mainly clothes, to various charity shops and ther is still more stuff to go.  I have discover that I own over twelve pairs of leather boots including five black pairs!  I am keeping them because they are wearable and and I do like them but they will probably see me out.  I have enough wool to keep me knitting for the rest of my natural life and enough material to cover my village.  I do go to a craft group which raises money for various local causes so I am getting rid of some.

My other 'collections' are novelty stationery, bags - not designer at least - and mugs.  I have at least only harmed myself and havent broken the law but I could weep and have wept over the amount of money I have spent over the years.  I ought to try to sell the better stuff on Ebay but I just can't cope with the hassles  Oh poo!  I should add I am not trying to be glamorous, all my shoes are flat and 'sensible' as my mother would have said.

It is one of those situations where I have a lot of insight into why I am doing this but actually changing my behaviour is much harder.  It is partly an attempt to hide my inner disorganisation and low self esteem.  Shopping is a very 'normal' behaviour and easy to get right, even if the amount bought is excessive.  I'm not possessive as such but having nice things around can feel quite comforting.  Because I feel so inadequate at times I feel the drive to find the perfect example of what I buy even if my existing whatever it is is entirely adequate and functional.  I am desperate to appear efficient and to prepared for all eventualities, at least on a practical level.  this is at the expense of addressing my psychological difficulties.  Whilst I have known for years what I have been doing and why but it is only recently that I have acknowledged the issue with other people. 

I don't have a particular difficulty with giving things away and I don't hoard rubbish or broken things though I don't always keep up with the housework.  Most of my possessions, especially my clothes, have a thin coating of cat hair.   My youngest cat was actually a comfort purchase whn I was off work with a flare of cfs and fibro symptoms - she was one of my better buys as she is a complete sweetie though my eldest cat wouldn't agree.

To end on a plus note I have found my leather jacket and have paired 25 pairs of socks.  As I said I think I have got abit better and if I can stay on the straight and narrow I won't need to buy any clothes or shoes for years - I really don't care about fashion.


Mabelcat

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Re: Comfort shopping
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2013, 07:24:00 PM »

Mabelcat

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Re: Comfort shopping
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2013, 07:26:19 PM »
(http://ouchtoo.org/coppermine/albums/userpics/thumb_annie_attack.jpg)

Fiz

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Re: Comfort shopping
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2013, 08:29:42 PM »
I think this is especially common with people who have bipolar and often goes hand in hand with that diagnosis. Many people with depression comfort shop too. Fortunately I don't but can empathise with how good it might make you feel buying. I find it helps me to ask myself everytime I buy something "do I need this? or do I just want it?" and if it isn't needed, the aim is not to buy it. That helps me live within my budget. Might be worth a try?

Regret is often a wasted emotion though unless it leads to change, if at all possible it's better to be kind to yourself and realise you along with the rest of the universe are not perfect, and make mistakes.  >hugs<

I guess I am glad that you don't go buying cats  >blackcat< >blackcat< >blackcat< >blackcat< >blackcat< >blackcat< >blackcat< >blackcat< >blackcat< >blackcat<  >blackcat< >blackcat< >blackcat<

Mabelcat

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Re: Comfort shopping
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2013, 09:11:16 PM »
Well only one cat!  I can understand why people end up 'hoarding' cats, especially as kittens are so irresistible but I care too much about the welfare of my current 'family' to do that.  The eldest probably thinks three cats is one too many but they co exist reasonably well bar the odd scrap.

Defying Gravity

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Re: Comfort shopping
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2013, 09:45:41 PM »
I comfort bought some gerbils once. And both my cats were, in a way, a comfort acquisition. To some extent it worked because it gave me something new to focus on and be distracted by. But like you, I can resist any more because I wouldn't want to upset the current ones.

Mabelcat

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Re: Comfort shopping
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2013, 09:58:16 PM »
I'm on comfort food tonight -rice pudding.  I'm afraid it's tinned rather than homemade but it was half price.  One of my more functional comfort activities is cooking and especially baking.  I make my own bread and love making cakes and biscuits.  Since I've been off work this time I've done a lot of baking and as I can't get through it all myself my therapist and his colleagues have done rather well.

When I'm at work I feed my colleagues - I have a distinct mother hen tendency and need someone to look after.  My cats get a lot of love and attention but they aren't really in the market for baked goods.

auntieCtheM

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Re: Comfort shopping
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2013, 10:38:58 PM »
I buy/bought mugs, bone china ones.  I have far too many.  In the past I have bought shoes and boots.  I only realised this when I decided to put them into shoe boxes and put photographs of them on the outside.  I had no idea I had 5 pairs of black patent shoes with straps.

The problem is now that I have have realised what I do, I can no longer go shopping for clothes or household things.  I have enough to last me out too.  So I do not buy things, and it is a bit boring.

I think that the answer is to find something that takes up all my attention.  The problem is to find out what that absorbing thing could be.

devine63

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Re: Comfort shopping
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2013, 11:00:42 PM »
Hi Mabelcat

maybe you have an elderly neighbour or two who might appreciate some home baking (and a brief visit)?
Have you seen the http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/mental-health-guide    ?  Useful tips on sorting the financial stuff.

Auntie - I found doing my family tree supplied that fascination - especially when I could pick one individual and trace their life through the censuses and see what happened to them.

regards, Deb

Mabelcat

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Re: Comfort shopping
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2013, 11:01:45 PM »
Oops - I forgot about the mug collection.  I also have at least four teapots and almost always drink coffee. 

A problem I find with keeping excess things as spares is that you can never find them when I need them.  I acquired quite a lot of kitchen stuff when my mother and then my best friend died but took it to work to give to patients who were being discharged.  I have also given some clothes to the admission ward where they have people brought in with just the clothes they stand up in.


Mabelcat

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Re: Comfort shopping
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2013, 11:09:35 PM »
I am doing cakes for at least three Christmas sales and coffee mornings and I do take stuff into neighbours as well.  At 50 I am one of the youngest in my street, in some cases by over 40 years, and do try to help out where I can. 

Thanks for the money link.  I've actually seen it before and of course in my social work days used to help people with budgeting.  At the moment though I do have debts things are pretty much under control.  Where problems will arise is if I am unable to return to work.  I do know who to contact for free advice but it will be hard.  We shall see what happens.

seegee

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Re: Comfort shopping
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2013, 10:22:29 AM »

Regret is often a wasted emotion though unless it leads to change, if at all possible it's better to be kind to yourself and realise you along with the rest of the universe are not perfect, and make mistakes.  >hugs<

^^^ Agree with this, don't be cruel to yourself about what you may have done before.  >bighugs<

   ^ ^
  ( . .)
 >  . <
     ^

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Comfort shopping
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2013, 01:03:41 PM »
As has been mentioned above, it's not just people with bipolar disorder that shop to excess, but I think it is very characteristic of bipolar disorder and definitely the sort of thing that nudges your psychiatrist towards asking probing questions about how unwell you are. 

Personally, one technique I use when I know I have an urge to shop is to set myself a budget and a target.  You might budget, say, 20 and go on a trawl round the cheapie shops/charity shops etc. for as much of something as you can, be it egg cups or blue things.

You can also draw up a list of things you can always use.  I combine my bipolar shopping with obsessive compulsive hoarding behaviour.  I'm not a random or cluttered hoarder, but I particularly hoard food and household things.  I'm never short of a spare bogbrush or tin of beans.  I know how much space I've got and have a mental list.

As an aside, a bit of a rant about PIP.  The criteria take into account decision making and talk about whether you can make simple or complex decisions (I'm not sure if I've got the terms correct there).  You get more points for having trouble with simple decisions.  They obviously didn't talk to anyone with bipolar problems - simple decisions can  be deadly and go badly wrong.  They did for me recently.  I don't want to say what it was that I bought but it was a small household item I wanted four of. Well, the first four weren't quite what I wanted, so I bought another four.  Then four in a different colour.  Then four...well you get the picture.  What should have been about 1l bulk (like a carton of juice) turned into a crateful.  I think I spent over 25 on an item that should have cost about 1 - 2 depending on brand. 

I mention this not only to have a rant about poor research in the development of benefits criteria but also to say that if you, like me, have this problem, try making the decision more complex.  If, say, you want an iron, research it, decide on the colour, the guarantee period, steam output, temperature range, reservoir capacity, flex length...then draw up a table. 
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Hurtyback

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Re: Comfort shopping
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2013, 01:23:10 PM »
Mabelcat  >hugs<  Annie is gawjus!  >love<  is she a birman or a ragdoll?


I know that I use shopping as a displacement activity instead of eating. The problem is that buying clothes tends to cost more than eating cake, although it is a healthier activity for me.


I used to bake a lot but don't even keep the ingredients in the house these days. I enjoyed baking but could not resist the end product. I really missed not being able to take cake to other people, am gradually learning that they will like me or not - I can't 'buy' their friendship.


Note - I'm not suggesting that you, Mabelcat, are trying to 'buy' friendship, but I kow it was an element of my behaviour.

Fizzbw

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Re: Comfort shopping
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2013, 05:21:28 PM »
You are not alone hon!

I'm working my way through a small inheritance with my shopping. I can restrain myself for a couple of months then I splurge. eBay is not my friend. I buy mainly cross stitch supplies, the cross stitch community call it SABLE - stash accumulation beyond life expectancy.....it's a common problem amongst us, bipolar or not.

I've always been a bit obsessive  with things, I have to buy all the books by a certain author even though I can't read on anything but the kindle app, I get really into a certain programme and have to buy all the seasons....sky + HD is a real boon!! I live with my parents before anyone calls me a benefit scrounging scum ;) but I try to hide some of my spending from them.

But I have been selling things on eBay, and have done quite well. It's a hassle only in that I can't always get to a post office quickly, but otherwise it's ok. Well it can be a bit of a faff when other people are involved....but survivable for me. If it's not, there are places and people who will sell your stuff for you for a cut of the profit. It's quite a cut, once you have paid eBay as well, but it's better than nothing. Or you can put things on Gumtree, though then you have people coming to you, not always good....

I found that taking chromium has brilliantly blunted my sugar cravings. I wish there was something that could blunt the comfort shopping as well.

Partly why I buy stuff is to make the post a nice thing, when you have brownenvelopitis the post becomes a scary thing. Knowing there are going to be some goodies there, makes it nicer. I know, a bit odd.

Fx