Debt and bipolar disorder. My story.
Bipolar disorder can cause problems in all areas of life, but it can be especially difficult to manage when it comes to finances. The impulsive nature of mania can lead to overspending, while the low energy and mood of depression can make it hard to stay on top of bills and other financial obligations. This can create a cycle of debt that can be difficult to break free from.
How Bipolar Disorder Affects Your Financial Stability
I have bipolar disorder. If you are new here - I have only been diagnosed with the correct diagnosis for half a year - previously I was treated for depression for 5 years, and I experienced my first episode of depression 10 years ago. During those 10 years, I had at least 20 hypomanias, each related to a business idea. Each of them ended not so much with a failure as with surrender at some point in the trial because of my illness - but I didn't know it at the time.
Each of these ideas, which is typical of bipolar disorder, involved spending too much money on things that were absolutely fucking necessary to achieve the vision, like Courses, a million vision's books that I haven't read any of, machines ( when I had a phase for making wooden decorations), credits - the most hardcore my achievement in this matter is a loan of approx. $ 25,000 spent on cryptocurrencies (because I imagined that thanks to this I would be rich quickly and would save half the world, and certainly my whole family and everyone I know - from the postman to my parent's friends). I live in Poland, so here $ 25,000 is worth $ 100,000 in the USA, so I went really crazy.
A mentally ill person does not think rationally before spending the money.
- he is convinced that his idea is successful, and even if by some miracle it crosses his mind: "What if it fails? "- he thinks, fuck, at most I will not eat. Somehow it will be.
Basic recovery plan - sell what you bought
In April this year, I reached a point where the sum of my credit obligations amounted to about 65% of my income. I paid for it with an episode of depression, fortunately, thanks to my boss and my parents, I was able to implement a recovery plan:
I sold a motorbike and all motorsport clothing (motorbikes are my passion for life),
I sold a thermomix (after all, I will finally become a master of the kitchen - it doesn't matter that I hate cooking)
I sold an additional laptop, which I bought only to use cryptocurrencies (for security, you know)
I sold construction machines (remnants of my relationship with wood),
I sold a desktop computer (bought for architectural visualization).
For the money obtained in this way, I closed a few smaller loans and I managed to reduce the value of monthly loans to about 42% of my income. This is still a lot, especially when in today's inflation era, revenues are not growing as fast as expenses.
My income, debts, and my bipolar job
I have a good job, I earn relatively much, considering the conditions in my country - approx. two national averages - converted into dollars at the current zloty/dollar exchange rate it is approx. 1800 USD.
For comparison - the minimum national salary in Poland is currently around USD 510.
My other income is about $ 320 in child support for three children (my husband has gone to another woman) and the same amount of $ 320 in child benefits. In total, I have approximately USD 2,440 at my disposal. In Poland, it is quite a lot - but when you spend more than 40% of this money (over USD 1,000) on loan repayment, there is slightly less to support yourself and three children (including one autistic, with an intellectual disability).
I absolutely do not want to complain, because I think that I am very lucky anyway - I have a wonderful boss who is my great support. He himself has been struggling with bipolar disorder all his life, so he tolerates my outbursts related to this disease - eg the fact that sometimes in the morning I call and say - I will not come today, I feel bad. Or I write to him - I can't cope anymore, everything is pointless.
For ten years, my periods of great functioning at work have been interspersed with moments of depression or borderline excesses (this whore can only hit suddenly). I am a civil engineer by education, a would-be architect, and in the company where I work now, I am a manager. When I have periods of great functioning (less and less), my boss has peace of mind because I can handle almost everything - and he can do what he loves. It is an amazing comfort for a person suffering from bipolar disorder. In turn, when I am in a bad mental state, absent in spirit or body - my boss falls down, and no one in the company knows what to do, because they are used to my "command". Financially, I am now completely dependent on my boss and he depends on me. This is how we live in such a sick bipolar symbiosis.
Impact of Bipolar Disorder on Work 9-5
However, I can see that as I get older my illness has more and more influence on my work and that I will always be a disappointment to my boss. After the last incident when I was planning to kill myself, my boss desperately called my parents. He told them that he knows that I have a hard time, that he has no idea how to help me, that he is totally dependent on me, that without me, he closes the company, that not only his life depends on my well-being, but also the fate of our employees and subcontractors. He said he knew I had a financial problem and that I should not worry about them, because he will help me. He said that when I am in a good mental state, I am unstoppable, and our associates value me.
It was after this conversation that my parents visited me - and then I was just lying in a mess in my bed, I did not answer calls from my co-workers or contractors, and then even from my boss.
Together with my parents, we analyzed my debt list, figured out what I was selling, etc. It allowed me to somehow grasp my finances and get up, get up and fight again.
Well, I'm fighting. I want to find an additional source of income that will allow me to pay off my debts faster and lead to a situation where I can achieve financial freedom.
The first step - in the near future, I plan to open a store on my website, which will be a collection of all my never-completed business ideas. At least this time I would like to bring something to such a stage that I will at least put something on the market because I have never started selling what I had in mind (Keep your fingers crossed!)
Ways to help prevent debt with bipolar disorder
If you have bipolar disorder, you may be at risk for financial problems. Here are some ways to help prevent debt:
Make a budget and stick to it. Track your spending and make sure you don't overspend.
Live below your means. Don't try to keep up with the Joneses. Spend only what you can afford.
Get rid of unnecessary expenses. Cut back on unnecessary luxuries and focus on essential expenses only.
Stay disciplined with your spending. Don't let yourself impulse buy or make spur-of-the-moment purchases that you can't afford.
Invest in yourself. Invest in therapy or counseling to help manage your bipolar disorder and keep it under control. This will help you avoid financial problems down the road
Make a plan for managing your money if you experience a manic or depressive episode.
Save money for unexpected expenses.
Build up an emergency fund.
Avoid using credit cards.
Talk to someone you trust about your finances.
If you are living with bipolar disorder, it is important to be aware of the ways in which the condition can affect your finances and to take steps to protect yourself financially. With careful planning and budgeting, you can minimize the financial impact of bipolar disorder and maintain a stable financial life.