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Old 08-28-2019, 06:09 AM   #1
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Default What helped you avoid/dealing with a spending spree?


I joined the forum because a close personal friend has been diagnosed. They currently seem to be experiencing an episode.

Specifically, one frequent cause of distress for them is that they get into financial problems.

To illustrate: at some point it got so bad they collapsed crying in front of me, visibly weakened, and said they hadn't been able to afford food in days - all while showering me and other friends with (sometimes expensive) gifts.

They are not in any immediate danger, because me, other friends and family always pitch in and would never leave them hanging - though sometimes they don't ask for help for several days, only cracking and showing up when the problems pile up.

More than anything I want to (and do) tell them that I want them to eat and otherwise take care of themselves, and that no gift could be worth more than that. And for that matter, that no true friend, who loves them, would ever want a gift at the cost of them harming themselves. But I'm not sure how to get through to them, especially in the middle of an episode.

One issue I myself must work on is that I'm very easily intimidated and afraid to hurt peoples' feelings, especially when they are already visibly hurting.

They tend to get very, very angry and resentful. From what they say, while they are on a spending spree they seem to be under the impression that money should not be any issue. They talk about how their job should pay more, how bank loans should be more generous, how their family should support them with more money. And they are paranoid about people telling them "how to live their life", because it feels degrading.
All the while crying how humiliating it is that they have to frequently beg for help because they "can't handle money". It sounds like in an episode they are trapped in a nightmare they don't understand, where nothing adds up and vital resources just rush through their hands like sand.

In a similar fashion, they get into fights they feel they should win, including at work, and get very angry with anyone suggesting they should at least think twice before filing that report or writing that email. And then of course they experience absolute horror if it backfires after all.

It's currently ongoing, and I wish I could somehow reach out to them, maybe prevent them from harming themselves. They are not currently in therapy or anything.

Anyway, this should have been a lot shorter. Basically, do you have any experience with defusing dangerous spending sprees and avoiding risky confrontations?

Especially, have you experiences with loved ones who you feel said the right things to you in these moments, and helped you navigate it?
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Old 08-28-2019, 03:57 PM   #2
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Smile Re: What helped you avoid/dealing with a spending spree?

Hello Ambulatory: Welcome to Psych Central. You mentioned in a reply to another thread your friend has been diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. It's just my personal non-professional opinion; but I believe most people who have bipolar disorder need to be on medication & receiving therapy. So, while what you are trying to do to support your friend is laudable, you can't substitute for the professional mental health care your friend is not receiving. And, over the long haul, trying to do so is just likely to wear you down I would suspect.

Here are links to 10 articles, from Psych Central's archives, that (hopefully) may be of some help:

Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Types & Treatments | Psych Central

The 4 Keys to Managing Bipolar Disorder

Helping Your Partner Manage Bipolar Disorder

8 Ways to Help Your Bipolar Loved One Cope

Bipolar Disorder: Helping Your Loved One Manage a Manic Episode

I hope you find PC to be of benefit.
Speak only if you can improve upon the silence.
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