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Bipolar disorder comes in different episodes—mania, hypomania, depression, or a mixed state.

Mania feels like being on top of the world. Along with mania comes behaviors like overspending, having risky sex, and behaving in other impulsive ways. When I had mania, I talked faster than normal, and had racing thoughts.

Hypomania is like mania but is less severe and happens for a shorter extent. It is the difference between being diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder (full on mania) and bipolar 2 disorder (hypomania).

Depression comes after the whirlwind of mania for me. I was suicidal, and felt like I had hit rock bottom. I was incredibly sad and lonely, even though I was married to my college sweetheart and I had my dream job.

A mixed state is probably the worst state to be in. I had both depressive and manic symptoms in one month. I was feeling so high and overly happy one moment, and then suicidal the next.

These quotes relate to being in a manic state and overspending. Financial recklessness is a sign of a full-blown manic episode occurring.

When I am high I couldn’t worry about money if I tried.

"When I am high I couldn’t worry about money if I tried. So I don’t. The money will come from somewhere; I am entitled; God will provide. Credit cards are disastrous, personal checks worse. Unfortunately, for manics anyway, mania is a natural extension of the economy. What with credit cards and bank accounts there is little beyond reach. So I bought twelve snakebite kits, with a sense of urgency and importance. I bought precious stones, elegant and unnecessary furniture, three watches within an hour of one another (in the Rolex rather than Timex class: champagne tastes bubble to the surface, are the surface, in mania), and totally inappropriate sirenlike clothes. During one spree in London I spent several hundred pounds on books having titles or covers that somehow caught my fancy: books on the natural history of the mole, twenty sundry Penguin books because I thought it could be nice if the penguins could form a colony. Once I think I shoplifted a blouse because I could not wait a minute longer for the woman-with-molasses feet in front of me in line. Or maybe I just thought about shoplifting, I don’t remember, I was totally confused. I imagine I must have spent far more than thirty thousand dollars during my two major manic episodes, and God only knows how much more during my frequent milder manias."

Kay Redfield JamisonAn Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Weekly $25,000 shopping binges at Barney’s

"Weekly $25,000 shopping binges at Barney’s and “high end” boutiques for clothes I barely wore were the norm. So were lavish meals with friends where I picked up $1000 tabs. These high-priced activities were within my limits because I was extremely successful financially, a testament to my manic behavior, not to mention my involvement in illegal activities."

– ANDY BEHRMAN (Author of Electroboy)

Unusual acts of extravagance

"[Mania’s] premonitory signs are . . . . unusual acts of extravagance, manifested by the purchase of houses, and certain expensive and unnecessary articles of furniture."

– BENJAMIN RUSH (1745-1813)

I spent a lot of money

"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."

– GEORGE BEST (1946-2005)

Annual income

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

– Charles Dickens

When you're high it's tremendous

“There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror involved in this kind of madness. When you're high it's tremendous. The ideas and feelings are fast and frequent like shooting stars, and you follow them until you find better and brighter ones. Shyness goes, the right words and gestures are suddenly there, the power to captivate others a felt certainty. There are interests found in uninteresting people. Sensuality is pervasive and the desire to seduce and be seduced irresistible. Feelings of ease, intensity, power, well-being, financial omnipotence, and euphoria pervade one's marrow. But, somewhere, this changes. The fast ideas are far too fast, and there are far too many; overwhelming confusion replaces clarity. Memory goes. Humor and absorption on friends' faces are replaced by fear and concern. Everything previously moving with the grain is now against-- you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and enmeshed totally in the blackest caves of the mind. You never knew those caves were there. It will never end, for madness carves its own reality.”

Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Compared to bipolar's magic, reality seems a raw deal

“Compared to bipolar's magic, reality seems a raw deal. It's not just the boredom that makes recovery so difficult, it's the slow dawning pain that comes with sanity - the realization of illnesss, the humiliating scenes, the blown money and friendships and confidence. Depression seems almost inevitable. The pendulum swings back from transcendence in shards, a bloody, dangerous mess. Crazy high is better than crazy low. So we gamble, dump the pills, and stick it to the control freaks and doctors. They don't understand, we say. They just don't get it. They'll never be artists.”

David LovelaceScattershot: My Bipolar Family

Money spent while manic

“But money spent while manic doesn't fit into the Internal Revenue Service concept of medical expense or business loss. So after mania, when most depressed, you're given excellent reason to be even more so. 

Kay Redfield JamisonAn Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

That salt's next to worthless

“I now know for certain that my mind and emotions, my fix on the real and my family's well-being, depend on just a few grams of salt. But treatment's the easy part. Without honesty, without a true family reckoning, that salt's next to worthless.”

David Lovelace,Scattershot: My Bipolar Family

Neither money, clothes or cars

“I don't need people, love or sex. Neither money, clothes or cars. The hate I gained was most needed. Don't understand me in the wrong way. It's been a while and the loathing turns into indifference, which now solves my problems.”

Mario Fingarov

Reach bedrock

“You’ve got to reach bedrock to become depressed enough before you are forced to accept the reality and enormity of the problem.”

Jonathan HarnischJonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography

We're like little kids

“We're like little kids. We are little kids, but don't tell us that—we're having a fantastic time. We have our little house, and live our little life. We are the perfect young husband and wife. We have nonstop dinner parties—the glorious food, the fabulous friends, the gallons of wine. I sometimes feel as if I've raced off a cliff and am spinning my legs in midair, like Wile E. Coyote. But I'm fine. It's fine. It's all going to be fine. Crazy people don't have dinner parties, do they? No.”

Marya HornbacherMadness: A Bipolar Life

I'd wasted so much of my life

“I'd wasted so much of my life. So many of my days, and all of my promise, all of my dreams, lost to hospitals, to depression, to wanting to die. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. This is not who I am. 

Except, of course, it was. It was all there was left to be.”

Alexis HallGlitterland

My bipolar becoming public

“I'm not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops, but with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow sufferers will know it's completely controllable. I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it, and that those who don't have it under control will seek help with all that is available to treat it.”

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Here's to adrenaline

“Here's to adrenaline.
Here's to dramatic abandon of protocol.
Here's to treasured pain and purple rain.
Here's to chasing our souls,

burning across to sky.

Here's to drinking the ash as it falls,
and not asking why.”

Virginia Petrucci

Two white rabbits

“He lifted his shirt, and on his back was the White Rabbit, wearing his waistcoat and looking at his watch. It was just like the illustration from the book. Only standing next to him, back-to-back, was another White Rabbit wearing a leather motercycle jacket and boots and smoking a cigar.”

Michael Thomas Ford

 James had taken his own life

“James had taken his own life, but the need to do so was not something easily explained. He had the life he wanted: money, a home, a job, a wife, a good friend. I’d known people who died at their own hand because life became unbearable, or because something happened, something terrible. That wasn’t so for James—there was something inside him, something a part of him, something over which he had no control, but which had absolute control over him."

Hazel Butler,Chasing Azrael

On psychosis

“Minds that have withered into psychosis are far more terrifying than any character of fiction.”

Christian Baloga

On listening when manic

“I actually stopped talking. I actually listened. So I knew that I wasn't all the way manic, because when you're all the way manic you never listen to anybody but yourself.”

Terri Cheney

I am a person with Bipolar Disorder

“Just to let you know I don't post my books and things on the net in hopes of being rich. The reason is, 'I am a person with Bipolar Disorder' and they're are a lot of great minds on the 'Famous Bipolar' list that died penniless. If I do the same it's no big deal but having a form of mental Illness I would love to get my name on the Bipolar list also one day. Preferably while I'm still living so I can make sure they spelled it right.”

Stanley Victor PaskavichReturn to Stantasyland

Structure of the book is a hallucination

“Insomuch as the structure of this book parallels that of my own mind, it boasts about as much order and linearity as a hallucination."

Melody Moezzi,Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life

Manic money meltdown

Ten years ago I was a successful middle-aged professional with substantial savings and investments, an enviable real estate portfolio, and happily on track to my first million.

Today, I am a 51-year-old woman with little set aside for retirement, living paycheck to paycheck, and a very long way from financial independence.

Am I just another casualty of the global financial meltdown? No. My financial meltdown was very personal and localized. I call it my "manic money meltdown" and it was caused by my bipolar disorder.

Bipolar mania provides the perfect crucible for money troubles. Lately many people have become familiar with the concept of "the perfect storm" - a convergence of forces or circumstances that work together in the worst of all possible ways in order to magnify the intensity and impact of an already negative event. Undiagnosed and/or untreated bipolar mania creates the perfect storm for debt, overspending, ruined credit and financial chaos.

―Sarah Freeman, Business Insider

The "sweet spot" of mania

"Mania isn't fun or simply being hyper and happy. There's that 'sweet spot' you hit before everything goes out of control where you're productive, extroverted, chatty, creative, you feel great and at the top of your game — but it's not like that all the time. It spirals out of control pretty quickly. You're irritable and angry and paranoid. You spend too much money, you drive recklessly, you put yourself in compromising situations, you act out sexually, you can't stop talking. You don't sleep. You become obsessive, you start to see and hear things. And going from such an extreme high to such an extreme low is exhausting. 

Anonymous via email

Bipolar disorder tore my friend's life to shreds

"He bought high-end guitars and displayed them on stands in his living room, poised like a choir ready to sing. He decided his real career opportunity lay in starting a band and opening a recording studio in his apartment, so he started inviting other musicians to join in and left the woodworking equipment to moulder in his basement. He called a drummer friend, who said he didn’t want to drag his drums up the stairs to Hank’s apartment to rehearse, so Hank added a $10,000 drum kit to the collection. He displayed a heretofore unnoticed fine eye for clothing and filled his closet with couture.

Months later, he called a mutual friend in the middle of the night to come pick him up at jail, where he’d been held after the umpteenth noise complaint from his neighbours. What most stunned our friend was the sight of Hank sauntering out of police headquarters in the kind of exquisite coat and hat that a very stylish French banker might wear. The afternoon he was released from one of the many psychiatric hospitals or psych units or detox centres that held him from one to 10 days in the six months that followed that first phone call – never long enough for him to stabilise – he bought a fully loaded Toyota Avalon.

How did he pay for this stuff? He was on disability leave for a few months, receiving some sort of paycheck and building up debt. When he lost his job, he drained his 401k. When he ran out of cash, he sold some of his new stuff to buy cigarettes and food.

I chastised him for all this spending, but I was a carping Cassandra to his whirligig Bacchus. He was incredulous that none of us understood how wonderful his life was. When he called to regale me with the details of his Pottery Barn purchases, I dutifully began to tell him how deluded this was, but he interrupted me. ‘Darling, stop worrying! I have plenty of money! I have all the money I need.’

‘I guess you must have won the lottery,’ I said."

 —Kristin Ohlson, Unravelling Man, Aeon

When bipolar disorder leads to extreme shopping

For Julie Fast it’s different. The Portland, Oregon, author woke up one day and decided to go on a trip to China. She obtained a visa, hopped on a flight, enrolled in language school and was conversing in Mandarin within weeks. Along the way, she blew through around $10,000.

Shortly after that, and partly as a result of the impromptu and costly spree, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Wild overspending often goes along with the manic highs that, when interspersed with depressing lows, characterize the disorder, which afflicts roughly 5.7 million Americans 

 —Chris Taylor, YOUR MONEY-When bipolar disorder leads to extreme shopping, Reuters

How has bipolar affected your finances? 

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