“High of the Heel” When Shopping Gets Out of Control

Raining today. I look in the mirror and I see a woman with mousey brown hair, puffy eyes, and a pasty white face. Uggh. I step away from the mirror with a helpless attitude thinking “ How I could look great after what I have been through that past couple days”?  Physical looks- not par, but working on it. The gym doesn’t seem to be making a dent in my donut around my waist, but it takes time. Work—stressing me out. Working 12 hr days, day in and day out…. boss doesn’t seem to notice my efforts in the project. Family- I have a great family. My mom calls me about 3 times a day wanting to talk about her choir practice, volunteering at the women’s shelter, her and my father going on incredible vacations. I should be happy for them, but it seems more often than not pressing the silenced button on my cell phone is easier than listening to her blab on and on about how great life is. Friends- Well, now that I have moved away for this “incredible job opportunity” a couple of months ago with the hopes of a promotion, I haven’t truly had the time to meet new people, or keep in touch with the friends I left in Charlotte. Love life- HA! That has not existed in my vocabulary for about 5 years.

So I sulk into the living room of my over-priced, out of my budget range, condo that “I just had to have”, I try to map out what am I going to do on this day off. I usually never take a day off, but today it was a forced day off…power was off in the building and I forgot to grab my laptop on the way out of the office last night. As I sat on the couch, I thought of all of the great things I could do with my time- read a book, go to the gym, volunteer, sleep, and then the mall popped into my head. I know that I have been really good about staying away from Niemen’s, Saks, Filene’s Basement, Bloomingdale’s and the list goes on. The shops are right down the way of my office, so it has been quite hard for the past two weeks to stay on the Red line until my stop for home. I finally put away the clothes last night from my last escapade at mall. “No No NO”!

Right before I got to the third “No” in my head, I began to automatically think about how I did need a new dress for the Spring Gala, and of course shoes, and well….I have been loosing some weight. New jeans would be nice. And before I could talk myself out of shopping, I was on the CTA headed to my “mecca for fashion”, my “sanctuary for shoes”, my second home, the mall! Smiling ear to ear, and anticipating the great sales that have seemed to be better and better since the economy has taken a downward slope, I was off.

Stepping onto the marble floors of Bloomingdales I began to have sense of euphoria tingling from head to heels. I headed right over to the shoe sale rack.  Starting there made me feel a little less guilty—at least I started with the sale items.

3 hours, 2 pairs of Enzo Angiolini’s for work, a Coach bag, 3 pairs of boots (end of the season-got them for a great deal), 1 spring gala dress with strappy shoes to match, a new bathing suit for my spring cruise, 3 pairs of jeans- couldn’t decide, a baby gift for my niece, toner and moisturizer from Aveda, and new makeup from MAC, and a bottle of Betsy Johnson perfume later, I was leaving the mall feeling wonderful.

When I returned home from an exhilarating afternoon, I was exhausted and drained, but excited that I found the best dress for the Spring Gala, with shoes to match too. Recounting in my head my purchases for the day, I felt a sense of accomplishment that I got so many of the items that I needed today.  When I began to place my clothes in the closet I noticed a very familiar item towards the back of the closet. It looked very similar to the dress that I got today, my fabulous Spring Gala dress. Surely not, and with the tags still on. Oh goodness, I already bought this dress a couple of weeks ago. The same dress that I bought today…instead of feeling remorse about the double purchase, I thought, “Wow, I have great taste”.

Later that evening I was recalling the events of the day, and the damage that I made to my VISA. “There’s no way I spent 3K today!!!”  Guilt began to creep and that feeling of euphoria that I had experienced at Bloomies was a lost emotion.  This was the third time I have done this in the past month. I know that I make a decent income, but geez, I am out of control.

Is this an all too common place that you find yourself in? I can say that I have felt this high and this low many times before too. The spending of money can be very similar to the “high” that is experienced by using drugs. This “high” comes when you are spending large amounts money, usually on items that are not needed and that will remain in your closet with the tags still on. After the great euphoria, a unwanted “low” is right around the corner, which is tragically filled with guilt and shame for the excessive spending.

If you are not careful, you can slip into this cycle of “highs” and “lows” while your finances, job, relationships and other obligations begin to suffer.  Typically this disorder can be linked to other problems such as anxiety, depression, and self-esteem issues. Unfortunately, many women face this issue quite often, trying to fill a void with shoes, purses, jeans, make-up, etc. A harsh truth is that material items will not bring true fulfillment like self worth, happiness, and being at peace with yourself. If this is a common rut that you typically find yourself in, there is a way out. Good news is that you can stop this cycle and find a way to take control again.


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