Enough bills to make you ill

I have a secret confession. In the past year I have acquired an unhealthy anxiety about opening my mail. As a teen, I LOVED to check the mail. I retained a healthy bunch of pen pals when I moved from Oregon, and I received real, live letters fairly often. Now it seems that all I get are bills I can’t pay…mixed in with a couple baby/wedding announcements. When I arrived in Utah this summer, I wasn’t handling stress in a healthy way. I coped by avoidance. I didn’t turn in my postal change of address form for almost a month. I stuffed the pile of bills I brought from Georgia on a shelf on my closet, not to be viewed for weeks. I went as long as 10 days between the 30 second walks to the mailbox. I made myself believe that if I didn’t open the mailbox, the bills wouldn’t exist. Email is no problem, it’s just the snail mail that gets me.

In counseling to overcome my period of depression, I made goals for each week. At first they started out really small; Be out of bed by 11:00 am, make one phone call per day, walk outside for 10 minutes, call a friend to make a social arrangement to get out of the house. It was dealing with the bills that caused the anxiety. Between 8 student loans, credit cards, insurance statements, several bank accounts, and tying up loose ends in Georgia…I had a LOT of letters to open. I made arrangements with most of my creditors, explaining my current unemployment, and most were easy to work with. But even once a loan was put into forbearance, the creditors have continued to send out letters frequently (sometimes 2-3 per week).

I decided to tackle the dreaded pile tonight. Junk mail, statements, bills, magazines, receipts…I was determined to open every single envelope (some still unopened from July!) I opened over 200 envelopes. In two hours, I had made 33 piles on the floor. My next quest is to actually LOOK at the mail, figure out what payments are due, and file them in an orderly way. I’ve NEVER gone this long without organizing my paperwork…and I couldn’t take it anymore!

I will leave no letter unopened for more than a week
I will do a thorough filing and/or scanning of receipts and bills monthly
I will be organized enough to send out Christmas cards this year (email me your address if you want one, and I’ll reply with mine)

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