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A shopping addict who spent £100,000 on her habit has said that she can't even remember what she bought because she splashed the cash solely to "distract from my everyday."
Ann Carver, now 56, was in her twenties when she began to spend in order to lift her mood, she told My London.
Explaining the roots of her issue, she said that after the war with her father suffering from PTSD, her childhood was rough. She said her favourite time was a Thursday evening when her dad would take her mum shopping in Sainsbury's.
“It was the only time my parents would be on their best behaviour and there would be no arguments,” she said, “so there are lots of little associations I had with shopping, where I was happy.”
Later, when she was 13, her father was sectioned and her mother moved away, and Ann was subjected to rape and abuse.
In her twenties she lost her brother and her parents in a three-year period, and even buried her mother on her birthday.
“I was at home and couldn’t just sit with my feelings so I decided to take myself off to have a bit of birthday cake and a cup of tea,” said Ann.
“Walking through the town I spotted a bright red daisy jumper on a mannequin. The next minute I was in the shop and as the jumper folded down over me I smiled and wished myself happy birthday. I paid for it, and felt totally transformed. I thought, ‘well, that worked’.”
She began buying things to lift her mood every day, and it soon spiralled out of control.
“Then the superstores popped up and you could be totally lost in there and forget your woes for hours,” she said. “Thank god we didn’t have internet shopping back then. How many people must have had this problem through lockdown?”
Ann, in trying to remember what she bought, ended up admitting that she has no idea.
“I would buy things for my kids, I would buy… I was never into designer shoes or handbags, it was just… things that… clothes, er, stuff for the kids… just crap, basically!” she said.
“When I went shopping it wasn’t so much to buy the things, it was to distract from my everyday, to talk to people who didn’t know me or my woes. It was like going into another little world for a while.”
The yogi would finish teaching a class, go to the shops, and try to hide the bags from her husband and kids when she got home.
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“You buy the thing, you’ve got the buzz and as soon as you’ve got the thing the buzz has gone. Sometimes I wouldn’t even realise what I’d put in my trolley, it was all about the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. If you ask me what I used to buy – I can’t really remember.”
“Eventually I went to counselling for the rape,” said Ann. “The first time I came out, I had to run to a shop”.
She said this urge waned over time. Now, Ann expends her energy as a painter and decorator, a job she “absolutely adores”, and her addiction is completely under control.
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