A really bad one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better than self-harm, which used to be my go to. I will say that I didn’t even realize it was a problem when I started doing this in my twenties (think late 1990’s). I also don’t want to suggest that it can’t be an addiction. Just not in my case. What am I even talking about?
Seriously. Retail therapy is real and totally unhealthy. You can go into serious debt, ruin your credit, even find yourself homeless. I started shopping my stress away when I was about twenty-three. I had just gone through my first divorce, lost some weight, and was pulling in really good money. I didn’t even have debt. Seriously, none.
That said, I was living paycheck to paycheck. I had my cell phone disconnected on me more than once, was evicted from my posh little apartment, and yes…I would like to go back in time and knock some sense into me too!
Why was I doing it if it wasn’t an addiction for me? Well, it was a form of self-harm. Every slide of my debit card was like an invisible razor on my skin. And that distracted me from the real pain I was feeling.
Why am I sharing this now? Well if you’ve been following my blog you know I was abruptly brought to the reality that someone I considered a best friend has been shit talking me for over a year. My husband and I tried to get pregnant using IVF and instead I was bedridden for six months. I also gained a massive amount of weight from the fertility drugs. I’ve actually been stuck in bed for over a year! Which brings me to my Vlog last week.
I mention buying some new outfits to feel better about myself. That was true before my BFF rained down hellfire on my emotions.
I genuinely did start out with a plan for when I could buy certain things. And bam! I didn’t even realize I was doing it! I had to ask my husband to change our Amazon password to stop me. He was really great about it. He’s an incredibly supportive person! I also called my therapist to see about finding some healthy ways to channel my rage and my wounded soul.
I’ve been journaling a lot again. It makes a big difference to face your emotions head-on rather than finding Harmful substitutes for self-reflection.
Also, I’ve been allowing myself to feel the pain I’m in. I yell, or cry, or both. If you have magazines in your home try just ripping them to pieces!! It gets the anger out and nobody dies. Because I’m feeling improved physically, I’ve been getting dressed up and doing my hair and makeup every day. I talk a bit about that in my last post about body image. What I don’t mention is that I’ve been getting out of the house. Even if it’s just to go to the post office, or walk to the mailbox. I have serious cabin fever!
I think the key is finding the right balance between self-care and forcing myself to get up, get ready, and face life! To that end my husband suggested I take a mini vacation to visit my family this week. I think get out of Chicago for a few days will be fantastic for me. I just need to shake things up! I should mention, that I will be in Utah through next week, so no blog this coming Monday. Maybe I will post something fun from my sisters?
What about you? Do you have some coping strategies that help you? You know I want to hear them! Meet me in the comments section!
If you do feel you might have an addiction please seek help! You can try this link for starters.
If you feel like harming yourself please call the suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255 or live chat with someone on their website!