Welcome back, Dear Readers. I hope everyone who had a long weekend thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes, whether here on the blog or on Facebook. You made my day!
As we all know, hindsight is 20/20, and when I look back, I can see a lot of reasons that I found myself in such a financial mess. Sure, there were unexpected emergencies that I just couldn’t cover with savings alone. And I didn’t scale back my spending accordingly when I scaled back my successful freelance business and took lower-paying jobs. But I really got into trouble when I began to use shopping as an emotional crutch.
I think most of us know that you can’t cure emotional emptiness or any kind of depression with shopping, but too many of us try. Buying something new triggers a temporary endorphin boost that can mimic happiness. The trouble is, it doesn’t last. And the resulting bills can trigger a new round of depression.
My legendary shoe collection is the result of two relationships: one merely incompatible, the other miserable. At one point, I had almost daily “gifts” coming to my house from EBay sellers. It was like Christmas every day. But even that kind of artificial joy wears off, and soon packages would languish unopened. I’d have to remind myself to try clothes on before it got past the date where I could return them if they didn’t fit.
You’ve probably heard of emotional eating. Well, I was an emotional shopper. My life is much better now, but life is never perfect, and I had to develop healthier ways of coping with occasional depression, boredom, and loneliness. None of this is rocket science, but a hard workout, time with good friends or the love of my life, a cuddle with the cats, or just a hot bath with a good book makes me feel better without wrecking havoc on my bank account. This was a lesson hard-learned, but I’m so glad I learned it when I did. Things could have been so much worse.
This post concludes the Climbing Out of the Big, Black Hole series. I hope it’s been helpful. Have you ever used shopping to cheer you up? What healthy measures do you take to blast yourself out of a blue mood?
I find a good night’s sleep does wonders for my mood when I’m down. That’s for a temporary sadness, not anything long-term. I think the best way to deal with any long-term blues is to change your situation to remove whatever’s causing you to feel that way, and it sounds like you did that.
Thanks for commenting, Chris. I think change takes a lot of courage, and most people use one crutch or another…be it food, shopping, drinking, drugs, casual sex…to avoid dealing with the problem. I applaud everyone who has the guts to make difficult changes in their lives. It takes time and bravery, but it’s worth it!