by guest blogger, Chloe Spencer
An addiction to shopping. Sounds ridiculous to most men, but for many of us women, it is very common. It's hard to detect, and also hard to admit and accept about yourself. And it doesn't have to be extreme to be a problem.
I, myself, will admit, I have a shopping addiction. I love to buy things, even when I don't have the money. I'll use checks with an amount that is not even in my bank account, but will get my work paycheck and deposit it the next day so by the time the check I wrote goes through, phew, the money is in my account. Sounds risky doesn't it? And a little unhealthy.
Of course, I'm not spending thousands of dollars a week on stuff for myself, but a shopping addiction doesn't need to be spending an extreme amount regularly, it can be just enough that you feel guilty about it but fantastic at the same time. It's like a wave of satisfaction crashes over you after making a purchase of something you feel you need (when you really don't). Or, a wave of fear creeps up on you if you DON'T buy something you felt you needed but really didn't.
This happened to me in China Town in San Francisco. I was buying Knock-off designer purses at a store, and I couldn't decide which ones I wanted to buy; I wanted all of them! They were all so cute, and for such cheap prices compared to the real brands. And to top it all off, I am one of the most indecisive people you've ever met. So there I was for over 2 straight hours in this store, trying on what I got down to 3 purses over and over again in the mirror. I felt embarrassed I was taking so long, but I was so frustrated I couldn't just pick one! So, guess what I ended up doing. I bought all 3.
But it didn't start off as that. I first only bought 2, the 2 I decided finally I liked the best. And I put the Chanel one, very regretfully, aside. I stared longingly at it sitting behind the counter as they man rang up my Prada and Louis Vuitton purses. I had this itch, this strong urge, to just say "Oh fine I'll get the Chanel one, too!" But I held it back. I walked out of the store with my 2 purses, and started down the street, all the while feeling miserable.
The words "Such a good deal!"and "Who cares, you'll make the money back!" and "So cute!" were spinning round and round inside my head.
I finally became so overwhelmed with the fact I was passing up such a cute, excellent priced deal with which I could make up the money I spent easily, that I turned around and marched back into the purse store and announced to the amused Chinese man that I was going to get the Chanel purse, too, after all. And yes, I felt guilty, but I also felt incredibly relived. And even then I knew that wasn't quite right to feel like that over buying a purse.
And it continues today. Should I seek help for this? Should you if you're having similar feelings? Well, I don't feel I am dealing with an extremely problematic shopping addiction, just a tad unhealthy satisfaction of buying things, so I'm not too worried. But I probably will bring it up with my counselor.
And as for you? Think about how much money you're spending, how it's affecting you and others, and how badly. If you had a sinking feeling when thinking of the answers to these questions, then I recommend you talk to your therapist about it, too. Shopping addictions can greatly influence your life, so it's better to nip it in the bud before it gets worse, or stop it in its tracks if it's a big problem already. You don't want to be that old woman with piles and piles of boxes all though her house and 3 closets full of old clothes.
But just remember, it doesn't have to be that bad to be a problem, and trust me, you're definitely not alone.