It can be complicated to live a peaceful life and manage your money. But if you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or depression, these can become even more challenging.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health issue that causes extreme mood swings, depression, and hypomania or mania. Living with bipolar disorder can increase grandiosity, elevated mood, and insomnia. These symptoms can cause serious harm to your financial well-being by disrupting your natural ability to think, feel emotions, and the power to act reasonably. It also influences your decision-making ability, spending habits, coping strategies, and proper communication.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by episodes of ‘high’ and ‘low’ moods that can affect your personal finances. People diagnosed with this disorder are more likely to end up in financial stress. They often struggle with their finances or show a lack of financial responsibility as a symptom of bipolar disorder.
How bipolar disorder and depression can push you towards financial hardship
Bipolar disorder and depression can increase impulsive spending habits. The effect on finances varies from person to person. People may spend their hard-earned money on expensive cars, extended vacations, parties, shopping, investments, costly gifts, charity, gambling, and many other things in a snap. Sometimes, to satisfy their impulses, they’ll use credit cards without thinking of the consequences. They even take out high-interest loans, such as personal or payday loans, to spend on luxuries. Eventually, they end up destroying their financial life and suffer from massive credit card debts and payday loans. These mental health conditions can affect their long-term financial well-being. Here’s how bipolar disorder and depression can affect you.
- Impulsiveness – When someone experiences an episode, they generally have no control over the impulse. This results in spending money with no thought or plan.
- Overspending habit – People suffering from depression may spend money to find peace of mind. They may give all their money to charity or lose a fortune in gambling. They make poor decisions on how to spend their money and how much they can afford to spend.
- Spending for comfort – People with depression may buy things to feel better. It mostly happens when they feel down and restless.
- Lack of motivation – People experiencing depression lose motivation to handle important financial matters. They may stop paying credit card bills, making mortgage payments on time, or miss payday loan installments, etc.
- Harmful coping activities – To get short-term relief from depression, people may spend money on destructive habits like alcohol, junk food, cigarettes, drugs, sex in exchange for money, etc. To keep up with these habits, some are pushed to borrow money from lenders. Gradually, the debts become too much for their financial well-being.
- Regret or guilt – People may regret their overspending habit and feel depressed due to their huge debt burden.
- Poor planning and avoidance – During bipolar episodes, people may avoid making crucial financial decisions by avoiding any communication with the bank, paying off credit cards, or applying for federal benefits.
- Anxiety and insomnia – An individual can experience anxiety due to debt-related issues. People in debt may seek support from their creditors. If the creditors avoid communication with them, it may trigger anxiety.
Financial anxiety may disrupt the quality of sleep people get. A good night’s sleep is essential to boost your mood and energy levels. Sleep sickness may impact your family life and also your career. So, committing to better sleep habits is vital for your financial well-being as well as your life.
How to ensure mental and financial well-being
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
Covid-19 has created an uncertain situation for everyone. Job loss, pay cuts, loss of lives have affected both the mental and financial health of Americans. If you already experience depression, it is tough to manage finances and reduce stress during this pandemic period. Here are a few words of wisdom that can help you take care of your mental health and financial well-being.
Keep track of essential finances in a notebook or discuss them with people you trust. Make a list of anything financial you are avoiding and create a plan for the next steps. Give yourself some time to think before making any financial decisions or large purchases. Focus on short-term goals. Make your daily to-do list rather than preparing weekly or monthly plans. Remove credit cards from the payment option on your phone. Use cash as much as possible. Ask someone you trust to help you with important dates, such as credit card and mortgage payments, tax submission date, insurance premium date, etc.
Many online support groups such as inspire.com, nami.org, adaa.org, dbsalliance.org, mhanational.org, etc are working hard to help people with severe mental health disorders. Reach out to them and talk openly about your condition. Seeking the proper support from mental health experts can get you the help you need. Don’t lose hope.
Avoid ‘short-term solutions’ to boost your mood; they can create more problems in the long term. Stay away from drinking, smoking, drugs, and gambling. Practice meditation daily for at least 15 minutes to reduce your stress and anxiety.
Maintain a healthy diet and sleep for at least 7 hours every night. Take your medications regularly according to your doctor’s instructions.