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Spending money for comfort

Monday, 03 April 2017 Ann

Ann vlogs about how she overcame her spending addiction.

Hello, my name is Ann Carver, and I'm here to speak to you about my spending addiction that spiraled out of control in my late 20s.

I was walking through the town, feeling depressed, feeling down, trying to escape the dark clouds that were looming over my personality.

It was my birthday, which meant it should have been a happy day, although it was really sad because my mum had died the year before and her funeral just happened to fall on the same day that I was born.

I tried my best to get through that day, but it got to about lunchtime and I just had to get out of the house.I just had to get out of that feeling of being isolated and alone, and to just be around people.So I planned to take myself out for some lunch.

"As I was walking through the town on the way to the café, there was a bright red daisy displayed on the mannequin in the shop window."

The next minute, I just walked into the shop. It seemed to just distract me from how I was feeling. I tried the jumper on, and I looked at myself in the mirror.

Happy birthday, Ann.

I didn't want to take these more lighter feelings off, so I paid for the jumper and I carried on my walk through the town, to the café, only this time I noticed that I was looking forward, no longer looking down.

I was feeling a lift, and a person smiled at me and I smiled back.I made a conscious decision that day that I would do the same on the next anniversary.

"Unintentionally for me, my bits of spending to cheer myself up became a habit."

Each time I felt down, I would go shopping to cheer myself up. A habit is created by repeating an action often enough for it to become the norm, a bit like smoking, starting on one or two cigarettes a day, and then ending up getting addicted and smoking a box of 20.

Well, shopping grabbed me in the same way.

I wish there would have been a health warning like there are on wine bottles and cigarettes, because when we spend as a way to bridge our personal or professional pressures, that’s when the danger lies because our low moods are transformed to highs, and we only have to do that a number of times before a habit can pave its way forward and even lead to an addiction.

"I now help other people realise that spending is a way to bridge mental health pressure, is addictive."

I want people to stop in the moment when temptation strikes, and recognise that, and stand in the darkness long enough to see the stars, or ask for help, anything than let this way to deal with your pressure through spending money and shopping, because this really doesn't work.

It really doesn't make you feel better, but it creates even more of a problem than you already had because not only have you got your unaddressed problems to face, you also now have a habit or even an addiction to kick, as well as maybe debts have escalated out of control.

So, this is my message for you. I am now ten years through the other side of my spending problem, and I know I am enough.

I have dealt with my problems, thankfully.

If I can help you in any way, or if you can relate to my story in any way, then somehow this problem was worthwhile.

Thank you for listening.

My name is Ann Carver, and I am recovered from a spending problem. Thank you.

Find out more  about money and mental health problems.

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