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When is it impulsive or not?

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When is something just impulsive or not?


I mean everyone (even those with bipolar). Have moments when they just want this... they gotta have this... but in the end they really didn't need this.



What is really just impulsive and what is just a bad idea... that everyone has done.



For example: buying some dress that looks beautiful, but we can't afford.


                      buying a flat screen tv when you know you can't truly afford it.



What i felt impulsivity was that... You have some amazing idea... some ideal/perfect thought... and you buy stuff to make this idea reality even though in the back of your mind you know you shouldn't...you can't afford it, but the idea/thought has control over your....


And part of bipolar is having grand ideas. 


But sometime the stuff people say that was impulsive behavior... i can't see how it was impulsive. 


For example: say you were on a diet.... but you saw this nice moist just out of the oven brownie.. and you would love to have it, but your on a diet. In the end... you get the brownie and eat it.


That's not really impulsive to me.. that's just caving into your taste bud.



So I would like to know what you all consider to define impulsivity and just a bad idea that every imperfect human being has once in a while... (or the lack of self-control).



 hope this made sense....



And i hope to hear something soon.




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I know it's mania-related impulsivity when I am actually not thinking that it is something I should not do, when there is no guilt, shame or remorse until much, much later - I don't get that "I shouldn't do this" twinge before doing it. For example, I will rip through HomeSense in no time flat, throw all sorts of things into the cart and, at the end, the only way my mother can convince me that this is a bad purchase is by pointing out flaws in the items I've grabbed in hopes that I decide I no longer want them. I will suddenly decide that I MUST ride public transit and nothing can get in my way, I will move the earth to get on that bus/train/seabus and I will end up in some random location texting pictures to my mother as she sits on the other side of the phone in shock, forget if I was supposed to be somewhere else doing something else, nope - I'm riding the skytrain! If somebody wants something, I will get it for them or convince them to get it and there will be no consideration for budget, how in the hell we're going to get this thing home, all the little things one queries before a purchase, it's just LET'S GET IT. Money isn't even a factor when I'm manic until it's all gone, and even then if my mother has money you're guaranteed I'm going to enable her to buy things that she otherwise wouldn't - there's no turning me down. It's like I have blinders to everything else going on, nothing else matters but getting this thing and that thing and doing this and doing that.


With normal impulsivity, you recognize that maaaaybe you shouldn't be doing this, buying that. You're wanting it but there's a voice in your head telling you it's wrong.

I want that donut -> but I know I really shouldn't have it -> screw it I'm having it -> damnit I screwed up.


With manic impulsivity, for me anyway, it's just:

I want/NEED this picture -> I'm buying that picture! -> I want/NEED this shelving unit -> I'm buying that shelving unit! -> I want...

Edited by discomposed
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Impulsive by definition means without forethought. Personally I feel there's a sudden obsession like if I do 'this' and 'this' then I'll be able to create 'that' so then i go out of my way to do 'this'. For me thats not impulse but obsession. Impulse is more in the moment with no achievable end in sight just a single thing i MUST do for no real reason.

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For me, it's impulsive when I do something that really has a negative impact on my life. I'm an impulsive person anyhow, but when it's bipolar-y it gets destructive and yes, obsessive.


For example, I like projects. I'm always working on something; it's quilting at the moment. When I'm impulsive I'll not only do quilting, but I'll do it for no reason, and I'll start four new quilts at once, and I'll spend a gazillion dollars on fabric. The new ideas keep rolling in and I am helpless to stop them. In the meantime I haven't finished a single quilt because the impulse to start new ones is overwhelming. 


Or, when I'm impulsive, I'll go shopping and not be looking for any one thing. I just go and buy everything that sounds good at the time. This leads to buying $300 worth of crap I wasn't even looking for. Normally, I only shop if I absolutely have to. It's not that I shouldn't be spending money, it's that I'm spending it for no particularly good reason. That kind of thing just really isn't in our budget, and so it has a negative impact.


Lack of self control, on the other hand, is something more along the lines of eating in my mind. Even the occasional gorge-fest won't have that much of a negative impact on your life (I stress occasional!). Or, not doing laundry and playing on Facebook instead, or procrastinating on homework, you see what I mean? They make a minor impact on your life but nothing horrendous like overspending or burning out on projects or activities.

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When I'm manic I don't even think about buying things. I just do it, and I don't feel bad until I come down. For me it's buying things and being able to afford rent, using someone elses money on non - essentials (I feel guilty just remembering this) and it's usually completely out of the realm of useful. If I went clothes shopping manic it would probably be all stripper heels and sequins or something.


If I ate a brownie that wouldn't be life wrecking or distructive. I'd probably feel a bit bad.

If I bought a dress I couldn't afford then I'd feel really bad and return it, but it's unlikely my guilt would let me get away with it.


Basically, when I'm manic I don't care about the repercussions. 

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What you said reminds me a lot of myself.....or at least you said it in a way that i understood and could relate to.



I have OCD tendencies during my full mania too.



In my case i feel like grand idea overlap with impulsive actions with racing thoughts.



just happy i am living with my family they do help me avoid my falling down the rabbit hole.


  Edited by CherryBlossom
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Impulsive is anything I do on a whim without forethought.


When I'm stable, if I'm going to regret it, those feeling kick in shortly after. Not all impulses turn out to be bad moves, tho. Sometimes, it's a yay by luck.  :D  Okay, not often. I have ADHD. Impulsive happens.


When I'm hypo or manic, I have no regrets until I come down even if I still have some logic that knows that I should not have done as I did. I am incapable of feeling regretful or guilty.

Edited by AnneMarie
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