Chronic Consumerism 


This may seem like a strange piece to write about to some of you out there, and I would agree with you if it were not for the fact that for me it is very, very true! 

It is also a semi light hearted attempt to describe something that happens to me every time I feel down about my health and frustrated by everything. 

Unlike some people who might turn to alcohol, drugs, gambling etc, in times when   I feel low I want to shop! 

Yes. Shop

I guess like many women I never thought of it is a crutch until recently. I just thought it was a girl thing. I didn’t know that it might be motivated by my emotions. 

Years ago, growing up, my mother loved shopping! In fact I remember her as the queen of the impulse buyers. Sometimes she bought small things and sometimes she bought houses on a whim. I am not going to examine my mothers psychology here but I am laying the grounds of where I currently find myself. A history of shopping when feeling down. 

Later in life, whenever we needed a pick me up mum and I would shop together. Sometimes if money was tight that meant op shops (second hand shops) or those cheaper $2 dollar shops which are full to the brim of tat and plastic dodads. 

…Whatever can give a distraction I guess!

I should add that my husband is not a shopper. He would still be wearing the clothes I met him in if I didn’t make him buy new ones! He doesn’t understand my use of shopping and buying. He uses other coping methods when times are stressful and his mood is low, but shopping is mine. 

We all use something To get by, whether it’s a costly and unhealthy thing to medicate ourselves, or if it is something less costly and much more benign. It seems to be human nature to develop some habit or tool to help us cope. Healthy or unhealthy. 

It’s what keeps this world in psychologists and self help books; our different coping tools. 

I first became aware of mine several years ago when I was sad after a relationship break down. I think I got several pairs of shoes, a few new outfits and some new furniture for the house. 

I once read that ‘as humans we are always  striving to replace bad habits and coping mechanisms with healthier ones.’ So it is not surprising that there are many different addictions out there, and who could be more susceptible than those in constant pain and struggle. 

With the ease of online shopping, even my housebound status does not mean I can’t buy things or shop. It is like a wonderful distraction from the pain and sadness, as I scour the internet for all sorts of lovely items. The idea that something new will arrive and be delivered to my home gives me something to look forward to. And then the opening of the box when it arrives at my door! … A moments joy in a usually painful existence. Only to find myself repeating the cycle again when the pain returns. And it always returns. 

I am a fashion fan, so lovely little bags and pretty little items are my passion. Bling and bags are my constant weakness. 

However, all these things require money, and when you aren’t working and can barely function, it is an expense that is not easily paid for. Credit card debt and financial pressures can quickly mount up! 

The cost of several diseases and their medications is a small fortune alone! Most people think that it is a small cost but much is not covered by PBS or insurance. 

However, at home here everywhere I look there are reminders of my pain and struggle, but not when I look at online shops! 

I know I will have to face this addiction and master it before it becomes too much. We have already had some tight moments so the sooner the better! 

I can’t help but feel that I am not alone on this topic. Surely there are others like me, trying to deal with this coping problem and shopping habit. I must say that even admitting to it has certainly helped me take the right steps on my path to understanding and recovery. 

It’s strange at how these illnesses can affect us and cause us so many struggles. So many challenges. Even in ways we could never anticipate. 

Although I must add that being female costs a lot more than being male! Try comparing hair dressing expenses for one example. 

Today was a bad pain day and I have a flare of trigeminal Neuralgia on top of everything else. And the urge to shop is breathtaking! But I am taking a deep breath and trying to remind myself that a roof over my head is much more important… 

Like any addiction, I know I will always have to be doing my best. One day at a time.  And always watching for my triggers. Pain is definitely one big trigger for me. 

If there is anyone out there who is like me, and I like to think I am not alone, than I hope we can get to a better place and find some much needed relief emotionally, physically and financially! 

Gentle hugs, 

Trish 

2 thoughts on “Chronic Consumerism 

  1. Oh, darling, you are not alone in this. When I was depressed and getting group therapy there were lots and lots of us who shopped to get a high. One suggestion to try and stop was to put your credit card/s in water and freeze them so that they weren’t easily accessible. But if you store their details on the online retail stores then that won’t work. I found that having something big i.e. expensive to save up for helped.

    Right now I’m itching to buy the Amazon Echo/Alexa. Do I/we need it? No! But I’m a bit of a gadget geek so I want one. Or the Google Home which I think looks nicer. I’m trying not to buy one and I know hubby will think I’m mad if I get one, and that’s a good thing that will help me keep my money. But that feeling in my chest is there. The one that makes me do research into both the Echo and the Home. The excitement of a new gadget is calling but I’m trying to resist. I’ll let you know if I succumb.

    Liked by 1 person

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