True Life: I’m a compulsive shopper

In this episode, Gabby and Ali use the
quest narrative to tell their stories. Gabby was raised by two
parents where the mother has Multiple Sclerosis. Due to her mother’s
illness, she was given her parents credit cards at a young age to
shop for herself.  She feels that her family does not understand that
she needs to shop because fashion is everything to her. She will not
see a therapist and has ran her parents into over $10,000 in debt,
not including her own. After much threatening, She finally goes to
see a therapist.


Ali was given a privileged life where
her mother and step father gave her everything she ever wanted until
her mother and step father divorced.. Ali feels the need to keep up
her wealthy image and does not feel that paying her bills is
important, until she learned she was over $8,000 in debt. She tends
to justify all of the things she purchases that are high in price.
She has never disclosed the information to anyone until the show. She
decided to go to a debt anonymous group meeting. After attending the
meeting she feels somewhat better because there are others like her.
When she realized that it was not working, she went to therapy. The
therapist helped her to realize that she was not happy with the
person she is. Seeing the therapist helped her to realize the
severity of her actions and a better way to deal with her problems in
a proactive way.



In both cases, both girls are looked
upon negatively by family, friends and professionals. They are seen
as irresponsible and looked at as children. Their friends and
boyfriends disapprove of their actions but continuously feed their
need to shop. It seems that their narratives were trying to convince
you of why it was okay and normal for them to have this condition. It
was like hearing them argue with themselves out loud and trying to
portraying normalcy. The one thing they both have in common for their
healing process is the need for something. Gabby wants a boob job and
after being told by her parents they would not pay for it, she
decides to save her money and sell some of her clothes to pay her
parents back. Ali’s rent is past due and her furniture was taken. It
seems a desire or traumatic event causes them  change their habits.
In the end, Ali was in $15,000 in debt and stopped seeing her
threapist because she felt it was not working. Gabby never received
help and her problem and they did not say what became of her.  Their
roles never changed, they both had to be responsible for their own
actions and were not off the hook because of their disorders.

While this may not come across as a medical illness, I think it is comparable to Obssessive compulsive disorder. In both cases the person has had something happen that has caused them to behave differently. They constantly feel the need to satisfy the urge of a certain action to feel comfortable with continuing their day. It affects their daily lives in different ways but does not allow them to surpass a certain point in life. While this is not your traditional medical illness, it can be categorized as one.

This narrative is help helpful to those
who are watching because someone can relate and if they see a little
of themselves in the person telling the story they may be able to get
help for themselves. As we learned in lecture, it helps the teller to
feel empowered, make sense of the illness, and make adjustments which
was needed in both cases.This can be very helpful for healthcare
providers because it allows them to understand what the patient is
going through and how to treat the problem from within instead of
with medications. Family members can know how to handle the
situations and how they can help or see how they enable them.Treating a person with a condition likethis requires more insight than others because there can be other
issues that cause the problem to exist.

2 thoughts on “True Life: I’m a compulsive shopper

  1. Here is a website about another shopaholic
    This woman, Charlotte Collins, is similar to both of the women in your post because she too is in massive debt. This article goes through her day to day activities that show just how much of a compulsive buyer she is. The article also compares her to the movie confessions of a shopaholic because they are also very similar. They both have tons of debt due to student loans, credit cards, and the fact that they just want to blow all of their money on clothes and accessories.
    I think the reason for Charlotte’s lavish spending has to do with her just getting accustomed to living that way. She was used to going out on the town with her friends living in a great apartment right by all of the shopping, another issue. It is like an alcoholic living next to a bar for her. She should’ve tried to take herself out of the situation she was in. She needed to cut up her credit cards a long time ago, but once something is comfortable for you it is hard to change; especially in our culture where appearances are everything. Women are supposed to look beautiful and wear pretty clothes and designer things are a must. Her family tried to help but I think that they were a tad late; however it really isn’t their job to help. She is more than capable of being able to take care of herself by now. The same probably goes for Gabby and Ali.

  2. Hi Danielle – I am curious why you picked this episode – what is it about this condition that you would consider to be “medical”? I am not saying you are wrong, I just would like to you to justify your selection either by editing your post or responding as a comment below.

Leave a Reply