My Shopping Addiction – Does it really exist?

My Shopping Addiction ~ Shopaholic style.
Last week I was feeling under the weather and my favourite solution is to kick back with some tea, a pillow and internet television! Normally I browse mindlessly for about 15 minutes before I land on something but this week I had a specific target in mind. I flipped to Slice.ca and queued up My Shopping Addiction.

For those of you who aren’t up-to-date with the newest reality-tv shows, it’s a show about people with unhealthy addictions to spending. This isn’t “Keeping up with the Kardashians” this is like Hoarders with your credit card (and in some case..actual hoarding, I’ll get to that.) Check out this video for an idea.

The first episode featured two entirely different women. One was an heiress who inherited the entirety of her grandmother’s estate when she was in her late teens/early twenties. She was close with her grandmother who raised her as a child but her ENTIRE FAMILY took her to court to try to divvy up the money. Needless to say she turned to friends and reckless luxury spending to get through that familial betrayal.

Girl was EXCESSIVE.

She lived in this huge mansion alone with her dog, at least 8 bedrooms, a pool, gigantic kitchen, yard, and every room was full of clothes. She had more racks than the stores the show followed her into. She had inherited millions and was only a few years away from being bankrupt, somehow she couldn’t see past tomorrow to see her situation was dire. Her problem was less the items, more the fact that the only place she got social interaction was through shopkeepers or service. She literally had one friend. She shopped to not be alone. Less a shopping addiction, more a giant gaping hole where her family should have been…

The second woman was in her early twenties with a complex hoarding/OCD problem. She was “addicted” to the dollar store but it was less the items, more the need to have so much soap, dishwashing liquid, toilet paper, etc. This girl made minimum wage at her job and constantly borrowed money for things she “needed” to live. Her hoarding tendencies were absolutely things related to cleanliness, household activities, home-use items. Her house was FULL of small bottles and objects, perfectly organized, meticulous even. Clear OCD. But shopping addiction? I still say no.

It all comes back to mental health and coping. Shopping addiction seems to be more of the coping. The problem isn’t the shopping, the problem is something else, the shopping is the person trying to COPE with another problem. This doesn’t mean this is a bad show, they employ real counsellors who try to work these people through their issues. I just hope that like Hoarders, people realize that it’s not just a matter of “clean your house”/”stop your shopping”, that there is something darker going on under the surface.

I certainly feel that I have known/know people like this, whether it was loneliness or self-confidence, the addiction was never the primary issue at hand. Do you know anybody who has had a “shopping addiction”? Do you think they were coping with something?

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