1.) Turn to the eating disorder I've had for ten years and been fighting for the last two. I either binge or try to starve myself (which always ends in a binge). When that fails, I resort to another option:
2.) I shop.
If you've been reading my blog in the last few weeks (thank you!) you'll know we bought a condo (yay!). We did everything right and proper, put 20% down, conforming, etc. But in an attempt to save money we went with the 15 year mortgage instead of the 30 year. Now that we crunch the numbers, the amount left over to save at the end of each month is definitely not what it was when we were renting.
For the first time in years I really, really have to cut down my expenses. In the long term.
Ordinarily I wouldn't say this was a huge problem. We have no credit card debt and have solid retirement savings. In graduate school I lived for 1.5 years on $1000 a month, paying $600 of that in rent. I used to know how to be frugal.
But as I recover more from my eating disorder I've found myself turning more to shopping as my 'coping skill' for handling the anxieties in my life. I go through the binge/restrict cycle maybe a couple times a month now and it used to be two or three times a week. So now what do I turn to two or three times a week? Let's see...amazon.com, target.com, macys.com, barnesandnoble.com...
Now is a bad time for my primary coping skill to be shopping. I feel like I can't be happy now without shopping.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all.
My mom coped with my dad's insults and lack of affection by acquiring and hoarding. Even though he's gotten treatment for his mental health difficulties, her hoarding hasn't improved. It's only gotten worse since my grandmother's death. It's her coping skill the way my eating disorder is my coping skill. There is one good thing about being a child of a hoarder and having hoarding tendencies myself: that I can see where my habits will lead me if I don't break them. Great incentive to change, huh?
I expected to be farther along on my path to living a simpler and more meaningful life before I had the shopping 'crutch' ripped out from under me. But it looks like it's time to dive in and swim. And this, dear readers, is why I'm thrilled to have found all of you. I know several of you have struggled with similar issues and your blogs are great sources of information and inspiration to me. In particular, Megyn at Minimalist Mommi has shown me that those of us who struggle with depression and other issues are not alone and that learning a minimalist lifestyle can help us escape the grasp of these happiness-devouring disorders. I will get there, one blog post at a time.
"The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”