Thursday, September 28, 2006

I think I've mentioned before that I have this 'thing' about opening mail - unless it's cards, boxes or something like that. Well - it's getting worse! I have a pile of it I tried to tackle this morning and I could feel the panic start to set in and the sweat begin on the back of my neck and I had to stop. I don't understand why I have it or what I'm going to do about it.
I've never liked opening mail - but now I have to. But there is this huge block!!! And it's a very difficult phobia to try and explain to anyone. They are going to say "just open it." Hell - I'm telling myself to "just open it!" But I can't seem too. And it's much more serious than not wanting to change lightbulbs - I can do that, or not wanting to blow up balloons. The balloon thing is easy to avoid. But there are BILLS in that pile. I don't have a problem paying them - just opening them.
This is crazy! This is nuts! What kind of crazy assed phobia is this? I get snakes or spiders. I'm not afraid of them but I do understand people who are. The same as flying. Lots of people have that one. I also have a fear of falling but I know I'm not alone on that one. But opeing mail???
Do I break down and tell Ryan that I can't open mail and could he come and do it for me? I could handle things if I do them that way. I checked the mailbox the other day and there was about 8 pieces of mail. I just about freaked. Seriously!!
Why would a (relatively) normal person experience this kind of thing?? Am I the only one? Is there a self-help group I could attend? I just know I have to do something - but I'm at a bit of a loss as to what that might be.


I've been thinking about this all day now - ever since I posted and then after reading the comments. I think this has been an unrecognized issue with me for a long time now. How does one confess a fear of opening mail? I think it's the real reason I haven't done my taxes in three years - I couldn't bring myself to open many of the T-4 type tax forms you get. I'd get them from the bank or my job or wherever and then not open them. I told myself it was because I didn't want to have to 'do taxes' at the end of the year - but that doesn't explain it really since I know I would be getting money back - last year I think quite a bit since I put a huge chunk into RRSP's. I mean cripes - I'm risking going to jail over this. Can you imagine me being thrown in the pen with women who have been arrested for prostitution or drug dealing and having one of them asking me "what are you in for" and having to "say not opening mail"???? It would be humiliating! I never open tax receipts for charitable donations I've made over the years. And that also might explain why I haven't opened home/auto insurance policies that have come in the mail for quite some time. I think it was even a factor in why I bombed so badly in my previous job. There were other factors too of course, but opening mail on an ongoing basis was part of it. But now that Ron isn't here - it's really come to a head. And I think it has been magnified even more by grief. And I think Ron - while not understanding completely- had an idea that there was something not quite right. That's why he asked Ryan to help out with this kind of thing before he died. He would get home from work and always check the mail. Now I have to do it myself and in the past couple of days, even that has become harder to do - not only not opening it - but even checking to see if we have any!
I'm not ready yet to admit this 'thing' to Ryan yet. But I did just call Lisa to see if she could help me. She's going to come over on Saturday and we will go through it together. I think I rather startled her though. She said to put it into one pile and we would go through it on Saturday. I asked if I should include just recent mail or also mail I've gotten going back over the past 3 years that I haven't opened. I have bags of it. Being the pack rat I am, I haven't thrown any of it out.
I have a feeling this Saturday will be much harder than spending the day building bookcases.


Bev (BB) said...

Hey, I'm an expert on procrastination so here are a couple of suggestions to modify to YOU. :D

Don't open them. Sort them, tossing the obvious junk into the trash. Then set a time limit, like maybe 5 minutes, and only open as many as you can during that time each day.

Or just open one a day. Period.

Or, if nothing else works, why not get your son to do it? That's why we have children, you know. Why we slave over them and take care of them all those years. ;p

Seriously, though, Kristie, if this is a new problem or a worsening of an old one, it may simply be a part of the grief process and when you're ready, you'll be ready. So don't be afraid to let your children help if you need to. You might be surprised. It might be good for them, too. {{{hugs}}}

Bookwormom said...

Kristie- Try reading this page:
Phobia Group. I think Bev is right on trck with her suggestions.

Tara Marie said...

or a worsening of an old one, it may simply be a part of the grief process and when you're ready, you'll be ready. So don't be afraid to let your children help if you need to.

I think bev might be right. I'm sure Ryan would want to help. Could you ask Lisa?

I'd tell you to send it to me, I'd open and sort things, and send it back, but it would take a while.

Anonymous said...

Kristie, I can help any time, just ask....when opened try to setup as much of the "bills" online as possible so nothing important like that gets missed

CindyS said...

Kristie - bring whatever you have left over with you if you want.

Hey, I have social phobia which you know Ron had also. It's one of those things that is hard to avoid because it becomes obvious to others that something is wrong.

When I finally reached out for help (and I was a sobbing wreck of my former self) my doctor told me about how 1 in 4 of the people she sees in a day is about anxiety. One lady couldn't write checks. I was all 'I'll take that one!'.

Maybe trying to get it all done in one day is too much. Don't try and pawn this off as something that isn't a big deal. You are just beginning to understand that there is something there that your brain is playing with.

Like Bev said. You really do have to start slow so I'm not sure I would bring out the bag from three years. Start with just the ones you need to get done for this month. Like you said, Lisa is happy to help and even though she might not understand you can go to phobia sites and look up stuff so you better understand what is happening.

Bob just walked in so gotta run. You know you can e-mail me if you need to!

Love Cindy

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristie. Just stopping by to give you major (((hugs))) and to see how you are doing.

I think Bev's advice is spot on. You know if you ever need to "talk" I'm an email (or even a phone call) away. :)

Nancy said...

Hi Kris:

This is your sister Nancy here. I can understand how you feel about opening mail. It isn't my favorite thing to do. For one thing it seems that most mail you get isn't happy mail. It's bills or some kind or crap. As well as it not being something that is enjoyable it is also a pain in the butt trying to open the envelope. It is always a struggle trying to get the damn thing open. I bet if they installed zippers on the envelope it would be a bit easier for you. So...... here you have something that is a royal pain to do and it hardly ever has a happy ending to it. So I can definatly see why you have a fear of opening mail.
One thing that has made it easier for me though is using and old fashion letter opener. It makes it much much easier to open, but there is still the crap inside.Do you have a problem opening mail when you know it is books that someone sent you? Because maybe just maybe it is the fear of bad stuff in the mail and not the physical side opening it at all.


Rosie said...

Kristie, as you can see from the comments here you have friends and people who care about you. I'm sending you my best thoughts and wishes and want you to know that I believe you are going to be okay and that you will find a solution about the mail.

It won't be long before you are writing a post about a new theory on opening mail and making us all laugh. You know how I know this? Because in the short time I've been reading your posts I already know you are a smart, resourceful and strong woman.

sybil said...

I once went six months without opening mail.


it ended up taking up two boxes, I paid my bills by the people that called saying shit was about to be turned off

oops, trust me when I say it is better to just do it. Even if you have to take whatever you have now and throw it somewhere just start with what comes today.