Money, Money, Money and Bills, Bills, Bills
An article on everyday health states,
Manic episodes of compulsive spending are a problem for many people who have bipolar disorder. During these episodes, people feel richer than they really are, more powerful, and willing to take more risks. In a recent study, people with bipolar disorder were twice as likely to have a problem with gambling compared to those without bipolar disorder.
One thing that doesn’t apply to me is gambling. I hate gambling. Always have. If I have a thousand bucks burning a hole in my pocket, I can think of a million things I’d rather spend it on. The rest of the description above applies.
There Once Was a Guy Who Had Good Credit
There was a short period in my life that my credit was good. I was in my twenties (thirty long years ago.) I got over a period of heaving drinking and spending and had nothing to show for it. Somehow I was able to get out of the mire and for the one and only time in my life I had good credit. I had several credit cards that had a limit of $20,000. What happened to all of it? I don’t have a clue, I did max them all out, of course. That tends to be one of those periods in my life that have been lost (subject of another day.)
Looking back, I shouldn’t say I can’t remember all of what happened to my money. After all, the National Institute of Mental Health states that one of symptoms of bipolar disorder, or more specifically, mania, is
Behaving impulsively and engaging in pleasurable, high-risk behaviors
High-risk behaviors? Well last week I posted about hyposexuality. I could go on and on about my other high-risk behaviors, but I’ll spare you. Today I’m only writing about money.
Are you familiar with overdraft notices mailed from the bank? If you’ve gotten a couple of them, you become intimately familiar with them based on the size, thickness and weight. One of the biggest fights an ex-partner and I had was when he found one of my dresser drawers full of them. So full that the drawer would get stuck when you tried to open it. Most of the notices were unopened. This exchange between us occurred just days after I borrowed money from him, despite that I made about $30,000 a year more than he did.
If you’ve been like me when it came to spending, you’re probably familiar with payday loans. These are short term loans for usually no more than a few hundred bucks. When you’re handed over your cash loan, you are required to write them a check for the loan amount plus a ridiculously high interest rate of 20% or more…sometimes, much, much more. The scary thing about these loans is, if you’re so strapped for money that you get one of these loans, you get hit pretty hard on payday. So, guess what you have to do? Yep, you need to take out another one, and so on, and so on…they thrive on getting people trapped that way.
I was stuck in one of these horrible cycles for almost two years. My advice for you if you’re thinking about getting one of their loans – Don’t! Find money anywhere else, or (dare I say it) go further behind on bill payments. It’s just too easy to get trapped.
My Friends at the IRS
For most Americans, April 15 is a date they dread. Well, not me, I just don’t worry about them…well, I worry about them a little bit.
Talk about nerves. Back when I was making good money I didn’t fill tax returns because I’d have a major anxiety attack every time I tried. The thought of taking them somewhere and having them done for me was an idea that never came to me. Probably because I was dealing with stress over repaying those high interest payday loans. Year after year I’d try and year after year they’d get placed inside my file cabinet. The strange thing about it is that in the early years I stopped submitting them, it was obvious I would get a substantial return. Yet, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. There were many tedious tasks I found myself unable to perform during these anxiety periods and when I was manic.
About ten years ago the IRS came to my door. This was during an agoraphobic period so I have no idea where I could possibly have been, but when I got home the agent left her business card on our door. I had a breakdown. From that point on I avoided almost all calls and would not open the door to anyone. Eventually she and Maurice talked on the phone and he explained the situation. She understood, but said she legally had to talk with me. When I got on the phone she was calm, courteous and kind. Not things you’d expect from an IRS agent. She told me that at any point, if it becomes too difficult, she will stop and wait until I could continue. I hyperventilated through the entire call, but when we were done conversing she told me that the IRS considers my paltry disability income to be the same as no income and I had nothing to worry about.
Since that time, I still have not filled out a return, but have scheduled to meet with a tax expert after April. I can’t wait until I get that all cleared up.
I’m guessing that if all this sounds familiar, you may be bipolar. Of course, there are plenty of people who are terrible with money and have no mental disorder. Is there a point where full responsibility ends and no responsibility begins? Is there a grey area? Is having bipolar disorder no excuse whatsoever? What do you think?