My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

NOTE: This post was originally published on my previous blog, Recovering Shopaholic.

A few days ago, I had lunch with a friend.  We always eat at the same place, which is right across from the mall, and we invariably do a bit (or more) of shopping following our meal. This friend is also a shopaholic, but I don’t think she is a recovering shopaholic.  She seems to love shopping several times per week, reading all the fashion magazines, saving discount cards and coupons, and amassing a wardrobe of gigantic proportions.

I’m Not So Honest in My “Real Life”

While many readers have praised me for the honesty in my posts, I haven’t told many people in my “real life” about this blog.  Although I wish I could be as open and honest as I am here with those I see face to face, this is still an area of struggle for me.

Telling the Truth

It’s not as easy for me to be honest in my “real life.”

I’m gradually becoming braver and recently told another friend about the blog, but I seem most afraid to tell my one remaining shopaholic friend (the others are no longer in my life for a variety of reasons)As I’ve written before, I don’t have many friends, and I fear that I might lose one of the few friends I have if I share the blog – and my journey – with her.  What if she thinks I feel above her or that I’m judging her for continuing to overshop? Or what if the main reason she enjoys my company is that we share a love of clothes, fashion, and shopping?

Letting Go of a Chunk of My Identity

Although fear of rejection is my primary motivation, I am also hesitant to let go of what has been a large part of my identity.  After all, I loved shopping so much that I tried to make a business out of it.  I thought I was “making lemons into lemonade,” that perhaps my overshopping would somehow be okay if I could use my skills to earn some money and help other people.

My wardrobe consulting business is basically on life support at this point (I haven’t told many people about that yet, either!) and I feel a lot of uncertainty about what’s next for me in the career realm.  While I did manage to help some people, being in “the business” only served to intensify my shopping addition and it was difficult to attract enough clients to make a good living in that line of work.  Not only that, as I’ve progressed in my recovery from compulsive shopping, I’ve started to see how incredibly shallow the retail and fashion industries really are. I want to get off the train of overconsumption and fear of never measuring up.

The Glossy Veneer has been Removed…

In truth, I don’t love shopping as much as I used to.  As its glossy veneer has been removed through my journey of self-discovery, shopping no longer holds the allure it once did for me.  However, as I have yet to replace shopping with something else to better serve my needs, I continue to hang onto it.  I sometimes still shop, believing it will help me feel better about myself, the way I look, and the way in which I connect with others.

I still enjoy the attention I receive from salespeople and the camaraderie I feel with my shopaholic friend.  Although I know neither of these connections involves the depth I desire, I still feel reluctant to give them up.  It’s what I’ve known for all too many years and it feels comfortable and safe for me.

Oprah, Brene Brown, and Vulnerability

Last night I watched an episode of Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday” that I recorded months ago.  In this show, Oprah interviewed Dr. Brene Brown, the author of the bestselling book “Daring Greatly.  Earlier this year, several people recommended I read Dr. Brown’s book.  I have yet to do so, and I even hesitated to watch her appearance with Oprah.  Perhaps on some level, I knew truths would be spoken that would be difficult for me to hear.

In short, Brene Brown writes and speaks about vulnerability and its profound importance related to interpersonal relationships, self-esteem, and success. Vulnerability involves uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure, so most of us avoid it at all costs. We project an image to the world of the way we want to be viewed instead of the way we really are.  While our lack of vulnerability helps us to feel safe, it also keeps those around us at arm’s length and has us feeling disconnected and unfulfilled.

The 20-Ton Shield of Perfectionism

Dr. Brown also spoke to Oprah about perfectionism being a “20-ton shield.”  Those of us who are perfectionists (that’s me in spades) think it will protect us from being hurt, yet it really protects us from being seen.  We’re deeply afraid the world will see us for who we really are and that we won’t measure up.  I recognized myself completely in that description. I’ve struggled with an inherent sense of unworthiness for as long as I can remember, and my eating disorders and compulsive shopping have been efforts for me to look good enough (in terms of being thin and well-dressed) so I could somehow be good enough.

No amount of dieting or shopping has ever led me to feel good enough.  I continued to struggle with low self-esteem no matter how much I weighed or how many clothes hung in my closet.  In addition, the pressure I’ve placed on myself for far too many years has taken a toll on my health and well-being.  I’m so tired of the burden of needing to “look good” and present a perfect image to the world.  I long to feel free to be who I truly am and be open and honest with everyone in my life, yet I’m terrified of the repercussions.

An Oasis in the Middle of the Desert

This blog has become my oasis amidst a desert of self-imposed isolation.  It is here that I am open, authentic, and honest about myself, my feelings, my struggles, and my dreams.  As a result, you’ve seen me and many of you have responded positively.  I feel connected to you because I’m sharing who I am instead of hiding behind a mask of perfection.

I’m brave in that I use my real name here and this blog can easily be found through a Google search (as far as I know, I’m the only Debbie Roes out there).  I acknowledge and accept that anyone I know could find this site and read my words, yet I rarely just open up and share its existence.

What Am I So Afraid of?

I feel close to so few people as it is and get little satisfaction from the shallow connections I have with most people I know.  I am left asking myself the following questions:

  • What am I so afraid of?
  • That my superficial relationships will fade away?
  • Would that really be so horrible?
  • So why don’t I take a risk and share my truth with those in my life?

The above are very good questions and I don’t fully know the answers at this point. What I do know is that I’ve become paralyzed by irrational fears.   I used to be as open as I am here with everyone, then I became hurt, disillusioned, and disappointed by so many people that I retreated into a cocoon of inauthenticity, secrecy, and solitude. Yes, I got lonely, but at least no one was stabbing me in the heart on a regular basis.

Numbing Ourselves Out Through Shopping

Brene Brown spoke to Oprah about the way we all “numb ourselves out” so we don’t have to feel.  Some people eat, some drink, some take drugs, and many of us shop.  Shopping became my way of feeling connected, important, knowledgeable, attractive, and valuable.  Of course, the effect was only temporary, and once my “fix” wore off, I remembered how lonely and disconnected I feel.  I was reminded of how much I play it safe and hide myself from the world.

Baby Steps to Telling the Truth

As I said, I don’t have all the answers, but I think I need to start being the Debbie of “Recovering Shopaholic” not just in my writing but in my life.  I like who I am on this blog.  I like that I’m open, honest, and real, and I want to be that way more of the time – or even all of the time.  I’m scared, but I know that something needs to change or I’ll continue to feel isolated and disconnected.

I can start with “baby steps,” but I must start.  My husband (who is one person who truly does see and know me) gave me a birthday card with these wonderful words:

The world needs your voice, your good heart, your belief in what can be.  The world needs you… just as you are.”

I still cry when I read and type those words, but I’m also starting to believe them.  The world does need me just as I am, and the same is true for all of you.  Let’s take the first step together.

40 thoughts on “Friends, Shopping, and Telling the Truth

  1. Anne says:

    Oh, Debbie. This is your best post ever. I, too, have struggled with the 20 ton shield of perfection. Yes, it protects us, but damn, it gets so heavy hauling the giant thing around! It is so much easier to just stay home and not have to lug it anymore.

    It is hard to put it down but I think it gets easier ever time you do. I spent a lot of time in counseling as I know you have, working to identify and let go of my perfectionistic tendencies. But it never goes away permanently. It just rears its head in some other area.

    But I have come a long way. I have learned to say, “I was wrong. I made a mistake.” And not have a panic attack! It gets easier every time you admit that you are human and therefore not perfect.

    You are right that it is easier with strangers. It is the people you really care about who have the most power to hurt you. But I have a feeling when you let other people see the real you, they will love you even more. Some may not and that really hurts, but were they really “friends” to begin with? I have had several co-workers tell me they had no idea how funny and quirky I was. They always saw me as so proper and perfect. We are friends now that I let my guard down and let them see the real me. Plus, I am much calmer and happier not having to keep up the front of perfection.

    Thank you so much for being you with all of us. We saw your specialness right away. Those around you will see it just has we have.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for all of your wonderful praise and support, Anne! This was actually a fairly easy post to write but a harder one to actually post. I had to take a deep breath and hit the “publish” button because I knew in my gut that my words would resonate with people. I still struggle a lot with perfectionism despite all of the therapy I’ve had. Most of my therapy was many years ago and I’m beginning to wonder if I need more now… Lots of layer of the onion to peel, that’s for sure!

      You make some really good points about friends and how there is no real downside to taking a risk. I’m glad it paid off for you with your co-workers. You’re right in that the ones who go away were never really “there” in the first place. Your last paragraph brought tears to my eyes. Thank you!

  2. Tonya says:

    I think you will look back on this post as when you started to heal and change. How many (or few) clothes you have, if they all work well together, etc. is great for your practical life, but it is changing what is inside that will change your life.
    I have told some people all the gory details about my shopping. Others I just say that I am shopping less because I have enough and I am saving my money for other items that are more important to me now. Both are true. Some people I know will be very supportive and others will make it more about them and not me. I know this blog is a place that I can come and people will understand.
    On a completely different note…have you noticed that since you stopped compulsively shopping being unmotivated and scatterbrained in daily life? I have, and I was curious if anyone else was feeling this. Or I could just be losing my mind 🙂

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I do think I’m turning a corner, Tonya. I’m starting to care a lot less about clothes and fashion and have renewed my interest (not that it went away but it wasn’t on the forefront) in personal development. You’re right that it’s what’s inside that truly matters. You’re also right that we need to moderate what we say depending upon our relationships with people. One can tell the truth but not the whole truth at times.

      I think you’re farther along that I am in stopping compulsive shopping. I still do it sometimes but I’m getting better. I have struggled with the lack of motivation and “scatterbrained-ness” recently, but I thought it was due to my health issues. But maybe it’s related to letting go of my crutch of the shopping. Food for thought…

      1. Tonya says:

        Oh trust me, I still have my moments too! I still have a long way to go, but I think I now have a greater awareness and that helps me to make better choices more often than I did.

      2. Sandra says:

        I was scatter-brained as a kid. This was pre-ADD (which many years later I discovered DH and both boys had). As an adult, good self management skills kept that in check. Now, as a senior, I find myself entering a room, unable to remember why. I start something and get distracted all the time (not just a procrastination effort). I was scatter-brained all through my shopping excess. I think for me it is worsened by age and my failure in retirement to continue those self management skills.

  3. Keryl says:

    Fantastic post! I could identify with so much of what you wrote. I don’t know you, but I am so proud of the progress you have made on your journey. Thank you for being brave and for being real. Your insights are so clear and on target. I felt a load lift from my shoulders just from reading your words!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you so much, Keryl! I appreciate your taking the time to let me know my words have had an impact on you. I’m glad I could help to take a load off your shoulders!

  4. Hilda says:

    Beautifully written!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you so much, Hilda!

  5. Kirsti says:

    This is an amazing and thought provoking post! Keep writing, you have beautiful insights about life.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you, Kirsti! It means a lot to me to get this kind of praise. I will definitely keep writing!

  6. Marion says:

    I was in tears as I read this, it really struck a chord. I’m not actually an over-shopper but I do struggle with a lot of the same issues. The shopping is not the problem it is just a symptom of a deeper problem. I’d think it would be fine not to open up to everyone you are in daily contact with. Some people just will never really “get it.” As you become more confident in being yourself you will learn to trust your instincts as to when to open up and when to be more restrained. Sometimes it’s not about you but about the other person. People have to deserve your trust.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m so glad you liked this post, Marion. You’re right that the shopping is a symptom of deeper problems. I had many of the same issues when I struggled with eating disorders as well. I agree that we need to moderate who we share with. I think part of my reason for getting so hurt before is that I was too trusting. But then I went too far in the other direction. It’s time to reach a happy medium!

  7. dottie says:

    Have you considered volunteering with an organization like Dress for Success that helps women move from straightened circumstances into new jobs and or/careers? Or develop a workshop/class for a local high school or community college? Just ruminating….

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’ve actually contacted Dress for Success TWICE about volunteering, but they never called me back! Not very professional… Maybe we don’t have a very good chapter in my area, but I am open to similar opportunities. I’ve been holding off on volunteering until I feel better, but it’s still on my radar screen. I like the workshop idea. I was just talking to a friend about that the other day, as she used to lead workshops. That’s something I may opt to do before too long.

  8. Biscuitmummy says:

    Lovely blog. You should absolutely read Brene Brown’s book – I’ve just finished it, and I have never highlighted so many passages. In fact, right at the start of your blog, before you mentioned it, I was thinking ‘I should suggest you read ‘Daring Greatly’ – and then you mentioned it! Would love to know what you think.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I definitely plan to read “Daring Greatly,” but I watched another Oprah show with Brene Brown last night and she recommended that people read her second book, “The Gift of Imperfection,” first. So I ordered that book last night, but I will follow up with “Daring Greatly” shortly thereafter. I’m guessing the topics from both books will make it into future blog posts, so stay tuned!

  9. Grasshopper says:

    Lovely, heartfelt post! I think you are making great strides. In general, I think introverted people do not have as many close friends as extroverts, but I also think that the two groups tend to have different definitions of what a friend is. As an introvert, I have only two women in my life that I truly consider as friends; the others, no matter how long I have known them, are more like acquaintances than friends. These two friendships have grown over the years. I used to do a lot of shopping with one of them; she lives in another state and we often would go shopping to our favorite stores when we visited each other. With time, though, we have begun to do different things together. We both learned to knit and enjoy watching old movies and knitting, going to the zoo and parks, having a bbq, going to plays, etc. I guess what I am saying is that your friendship with your shopaholic friend could grow into something different. Maybe you could call her up to do something other than shopping, like going to lunch and a movie, and see how it goes. You can always say that you are trying to save some money and do not need to do any shopping right now, which is very true. You may find over time that you feel comfortable enough to open up about the blog and that might start a conversation about her shopaholic tendencies. It is quite possible that your experiences can help her and you can be a great support for her.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      You’re so right about how introverts and extroverts have different definitions for friends, Grasshopper. My mom and brother have far more friends than I do, but I’m not sure how deep those relationships are. I think part of my problem is that I don’t have close friends where I live. I would love to have more face-to-face time instead of just phone or infrequent visit time. That’s great that you’ve been able to evolve the friendship with your (former?) shopaholic friend! I am open to the possibility of my friendship with the shopaholic evolving. We have gone to the movies before, but she always seems to want to shop afterwards (movie theater is at the mall). But I will try to steer things in a different direction and see what happens. I do hope to feel comfortable sharing the blog with her soon. I’ll just have to get brave and just spit it out! Maybe it will end up being a good thing…

      1. Grasshopper says:

        It is harder to feel close when the physical distance is so great. I do more emailing and texting with my out of state friend than phone conversations. Sometimes I will just sit down and pen a postcard or letter to her, though, just because I am thinking of her and love to uphold the old ways of communication. I am not sure how much of a shopaholic she used to be. I know that is what we did a lot together and she has TONS of clothes, so she obviously did shop quite a bit. Plus, she used to do modeling as a sideline for local fashion shows as well, so she was immersed in the clothing industry. I think she has slowed down a lot on buying clothing lately, although as a knitter, she loves yarn and tends to buy it for future projects (garments included)! I guess we have to be careful, or the problem just manifests itself elsewhere. 🙂

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          Yes, we definitely need to watch out for “symptom substitution.” I’ve already done that with eating disorders, dating, working, and shopping! That’s a big reason why I’m working to address my underlying issues now. I don’t want or need any new compulsive behavior patterns to crop up!

  10. Linda says:

    Wow Debbie. Thank you. I love your honesty, your insight, and your courage to share this with us. Vulnerability is terrifying, but afterwards, it’s a lighter weight to carry than the 20 tonne shield of perfectionism. I too have carried that around for so long.

    I have struggled with being vulnerable in my relationships, with my friends, and particularly on my blog, but the response and the feeling afterwards is always good. Yes, I get a massive vulnerability hangover, especially with the blog. But, it leads to deeper connections, engagement, and understanding.

    I have recently finished Brene’s book, and I highly recommend it. It’s based on over a decade of her research, and is very “evidence-based”, with lots of facts and figures, and I think that will appeal to you. Her theory is ground-breaking, and life-changing.

    Thanks for your invitation to take the first step together. I love that. Thanks for reaching out to all of us. As the others have said, this is one of my favourite posts! 🙂 Keep going Debbie. I love what you are doing.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for your comment, Linda. I’m so glad you liked this post! It was actually one of my favorites as well 🙂 It sounds like we struggle with similar issues. I am very excited to read Brene’s book (I’m actually going to read two of her books, as she discussed “The Gift of Imperfection” on another Oprah episode I watched last night). I loved everything she talked about and it all resonated deeply with me!

      You mentioned getting a “vulnerability hangover” with your blog. I’ve never thought of that, but I think that happens for me, too. Sometimes I feel really tired after doing certain posts and it’s probably because I put myself out there. I am happy to be doing it, though, and I hope I can filter it more into the rest of my life soon. Baby steps, as I said!

  11. Claire says:

    Oh, Debbie. This is so poignant. What a gift you give by sharing your process.

    This takes me back to when I was a teenager, around 14. I remember carefully reasoning out early in high school that no matter how eccentric or offbeat I was, I had to just act like myself. Then I’d know the friendships I made were true and the ones I wanted, because they were based on who I really was – a litmus test of sorts. And it has made for rich friendships and a lasting marriage, not to mention a good foundation for self-esteem. I had no idea how important it would be to internalize a concept like that so early on in life, and I wonder at it.

    In my 20s, I did experience some of the betrayals and hurts that can come with the territory as a result of my “heart on my sleeve” vulnerability. I came up with another litmus test – would/did the person I was opening up to “respect the sharing”? If so, they got more of me and the basis of a real friendship was formed. If not, nothing developed past the superficial. I just don’t have enough energy and resources to give it to those who don’t respect the sharing. And I reasoned that as difficult as it was, generally it would be better for me to deal with some loneliness than the poison of unhealthy relationships.

    I think it’s a common experience that as we age, it becomes more difficult to find and keep those deep rewarding friendships. It can require perseverance as well as new approaches. After a recent move, I was surprised and sad to have to let go of a friendship I’d thought would develop further since we lived closer, but instead an unhealthy dynamic emerged. On the other hand, when I branched out looking for chronic illness support resources, I stumbled into an extremely unexpected and fulfilling friendship. I guess I’m learning at this point in life (late 30s) that my friend/relationship management strategies need to keep evolving. It’s just a challenge to figure out how. I look forward to learning more about your journey and maybe exchanging some ideas. 🙂

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Claire, You sounded so wise for your years at 14 and in your 20s! Many people don’t have such wisdom in middle age or later. I was much better at being myself when I was younger, but I’m coming back around to that now. You’re right that it’s harder to cultivate deep and lasting friendships as we age. I’m glad you were able to find one when you least expected it recently. Thank you for sharing some of your story. I welcome your comments and ideas whenever you want to share them!

  12. Terra says:

    Bravo! Ten stars Debbie. Charming, powerful, an enormous triumph.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks so much, Terra! I’m glad you liked the post and I thank you for taking the time to let me know.

  13. Anzi says:

    I find your openness and honesty truly admirable. You are going through a period of change in your life. As someone who moved around a lot and lived in several different countries as a kid, I can say that change is inevitable. It’s sometimes very painful and hard, but ultimately rewarding.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks so much for your praise, Anzi! You’re right that change is inevitable. I agree that it’s ultimately rewarding and I’m starting to see glimmers of the rewards as time goes on. I just try to keep the faith and keep moving forward one step at a time…

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Another honest and soul-touching post.

    I think there’s a reason shopaholics are called shopaholics — maybe I’m stating the obvious, but everything you wrote reminds me of what my sister went through when she quit drinking, and yes, she was and is an alcoholic. She did, indeed, lose friends, including her so-called best one. Her husband mentioned that she wasn’t as fun as she used to be when she was still drinking. She struggled to find ways to tell people she’d rather not meet at the bar they used to enjoy. Etc. Exactly the same story line as the shopaholic who wants to stop shopping — it’s all part of the recovery process. In fact, not to stretch the point too far, some of the 12 Steps apply quite well to shopaholism!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      You raise some really good points, Elizabeth. Shopaholics have a lot in common with alcoholics and those who suffer from other addictions. I’ve known recovering alcoholics who had to change their entire lives in order to stay sober, including leaving old friends behind. I’ve had to leave friends behind as I’ve moved forward on my journey and I know I may need to leave my shopaholic friend behind, too. In truth, it didn’t feel as fulfilling to be with her, as I no longer feel as enthused about the shopping. I will see how it goes and how I feel. Regarding the 12 steps, I actually did look for “Shopaholics Anonymous,” but the closest things is Debtors Anonymous and I didn’t think it would apply because I wasn’t in debt (although I definitely have been in the past). I agree that the steps apply well to shopaholism as well as other addictions. There are many paths to recovery, but 12 step groups have helped many, many people!

  15. Laurène says:

    Dear Debbie,

    Thank you again for what you’re sharing on this website. If you’re brave enough to reveal yourself online, then you will be brave and confident enough to reveal new sides of your personnality to your friends. It’s only the first step, think about a butterfly;-)
    I really appreciate that you open to us readers, and I can see I’m not the only one to be enthusastic and touched by your posts and wise writing!!
    I wish you good luck in your quest of truth, simplicity and self-acceptance-and remember, you’re not the only one on the road;-)

    Love from Sydney,

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Welcome, Laurene, and thanks for your comment! I love your butterfly analogy! I hope to become more brave with the people in my life. I feel that will be an important part of my recovery. Thanks for your well wishes and for reminding me I’m not alone. I very much appreciate all of my readers, whether or not they ever comment!

  16. Sandra says:


    Thank you for that heartfelt post. I hope writing this blog will help you to reach your authentic which you can then develop.

    My fear (its less now that I’m retired and doing less) is that others will discover I am less stellar than they thought I was (I didn’t feel I encouraged this view–I felt it was foisted upon me as an expectation of what someone in my place should be). I never felt I could live up to the expectation so I was always afraid of being unmasked. I have read blogs that say this is a very common fear, especially among women.

    My heart aches for you. Some of the most uncomfortable times in my life were when I was in a patch of uncertainty about what to do next. This was usually when my autistic younger son was going to be moved out of his current class and I needed to find a replacement. Once the uncertainty was alleviated, it was a big relief.

    You have helped me enormously, and thank you. I went though my shoes yesterday, which I was to ashamed (by the anticipated number) to count. After weeding out the “extras” (fear of shortage), I can now say the total is less than 50 pair, including all seasons, slippers, athletic shoes, dress. It still sounds like a lot, but it is progress for me. So thank you again for encouraging me to embrace the concept of “enough.”

    Very best wishes to you as you uncover yourself and find satisfying paths to follow. You have taught me not to be afraid; I wish the same for you.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Sandra, and for sharing more about the fears you’ve struggled with. The fear of being “discovered” as less than stellar has been a big one for me, too. But maybe we really ARE stellar, just not perfect. Of course, no one is perfect!

      I’m so glad my blog has helped you. Congrats on being able to count and pare down your shoes. I have about the same number of shoes as you do. Yes, still a lot, but we’re all on our own journey. We just have to take it one day at a time and proceed at our own pace. As long as we’re making progress, we should feel good about ourselves. I wish you the best with your continued journey, too!

  17. Adina Call says:

    Hi, I found your blog a few weeks ago when my husband lovingly reminded me that we need to be better with our budget and I need to curb my appetitive for spending and accruing debt on my credit card. It really made me think if I’m a shopaholic or if its a symptom of my bipolar. I couldn’t tell and decided it didn’t matter what name I gave it, I had a spending problem. In search for help I stumbled upon this blog. I’ve been passively reading and seeing what your doing to combat or curb your addiction. As I feel I need some pointers. I’m really enjoying and learning a lot from your journey. I appreciate you sharing the hardest parts of yourself.

    I posted today because I am in the middle of reading Daring Greatly myself. My husband found her TED talk and was really interested in it. So I started reading … Stopped cause we moved. But so far it is a great read and I encourage you to pursue it. I have since starting to read found myself wanting to share myself and connect better with those I love. I guard myself to others about my bipolar cause Im afraid of how people will look at me or treat me. The past 7 years if marriage I’ve only told a handful of friends. And this year I decided to share it more with people I meet. It hasn’t been as hard as I thought and I’ve felt more accepted than I expected. It’s been a weight lifted and I feel like sharing my most vulnerable of vulnerables has bridged a gap of understanding. I hope that you can find the courage to feel connected, understood, peace and joy as I am starting to feel. I find that the connections we make in this lifetime are really the most important “things” we have. Good luck!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Welcome, Adina, and thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found my blog and are finding it helpful. It sounds like you have made a lot of progress on your journey, at least in terms of being vulnerable and revealing yourself. I applaud you for your courage in telling others about your struggle with bipolar disorder. You took a risk and it’s benefiting you, which is so wonderful! You’re right in that our connections are more important than “things.” I hope to have more connections soon in my “real life” but I’m also very grateful for the connections I’ve made through this blog!

  18. Jackie says:

    I found your blog by accident and immediately subscribed. I also have an “issue” with perfectionism. I used to numb myself with almost daily trips to the mall at lunch to escape a job that destroyed every ounce of my self confidence

    I see your posts as very brave. I’m working on being half that brave. Thank you!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Welcome, Jackie, and thanks so much for your comment. Perfectionism is a huge issue for many people and I think it’s a big driver for compulsive shoppers. Like you, I’ve often used shopping as a way to numb myself when I felt bad in work or personal situations. There are no easy answers, but awareness of our issues is an important first step toward change.

      Thanks for calling me brave. That actually brought tears to my eyes, as I never considered myself to be a courageous person. I think I’m so tired of hiding and pretending that I’m ready to be open and honest, even if it’s just on the blog to start with. I’m very honored to be able to inspire you and other people!

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