My most common manic behavior is "manic spending." I'm typing this on a tablet that I bought during a manic swing, and that's a modest purchase in comparison to my worst, which would be the time I bought a goddamn car. A driver side-swiped my old Saturn SL2 and left me with two choices for getting a new one. I had enough insurance money to buy a used car straight out ... or I could put a down-payment for a new car! I chose the new car, even though I was a graduate student and didn't have a steady job. Here's how the decision looked in my brain:
"You're about to graduate! And then you'll get hired because YOU'RE AWESOME and YOU WILL HAVE MONEY FOREVER!"
Predictably, a year later my car got repossessed. They were able to auction it off for enough to cover the rest of my debt, but I'd still dumped 10 grand into a car I no longer had. By the way, that's after I begged my friends for money to help me keep the car, fucking up their lives and finances, too! Great job all around, manic me!
There's not really a Hallmark card for, "Sorry, the chemical imbalance in my brain
is greater than the imbalance in my bank account." And even if there was, I couldn't afford it.
Today, I've put some preventive measures in place. I live with a close friend of mine, someone I trust to "check" my sanity and verify that my choices aren't super dumb. I also refuse to keep credit cards, for fear of going on a Nicolas Cage-esque spending spree. Recently, my fiance and I combined our checking accounts -- because the only thing more powerful than the urge to spend while manic is the guilt I know I'd feel for wasting money that didn't belong to me. Let's hope that works.
Meanwhile, I've started participating in medical studies, in hope that my experiences will help figure out how the disorder is inherited and which medicines are most effective. Bipolar disorder isn't always the life-ruining monster so many people (and Hollywood producers) seem to think it is, but it's still a rotten bastard. And if I have the opportunity to help deliver a medical sack-tap to that fucker, I'm going to take it -- unless I'm in the placebo group.
Robert Evans runs the Cracked personal experience article team, and he also has a Twitter.
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