I started to throw down the old bill and run away from the table, literally run away from it.
I could feel the anxiety build to probably an eight, and I told myself that I had to stay until it went down.
That was last Monday as I worked on my pile of mail and paperwork on our dining room table.
I have written about my problem with the stack of paperwork and the way my therapist is leading me to confront it as a part of my cognitive behavioral therapy.
So I stayed and forged ahead. I didn’t clear the table, but I made some headway. I also learned a lot about my reasons for keeping some of the paperwork.
Bills: I had to have minor surgery last August, and bills come with surgery. You don’t just pay one person. You pay the hospital, the doctor who performed the surgery, the anesthesiologist and the lab.
The bills are all paid. They’ve been paid. But I haven’t filed the bills and my notes of when I mailed the payments because I like to check afterwards and make sure the payments were received.
I haven’t called. And those papers have been lying on the table. I’ve used the excuse that they’re serving as a reminder that I need to call.
On Monday I thought about that: I wanted to check to see if the payments had been received. I wanted to check. Was that OCD checking?
I think maybe it is in my case. I have not received any notices of nonpayment or phone calls asking for money. My checks have gone through at the bank. That most likely means the payments were received.
So I decided I would not check. I would file all the paperwork in a file folder relating to the August 2011 surgery.
Requests: I’ve been periodically receiving notices from a national animal welfare organization that I’ve sent donations to in the past, asking me to renew my membership.
This is a wonderful organization, and I don’t fault them for asking me to renew. They depend on donations.
However, I have made a decision, for the time being, to support organizations in my local area. I’ve held onto those renewal notices, though, thinking, I’ll read this and think about it later.
Monday night I considered this: if I’ve decided not to renew the membership right now, there’s no need to keep the notices. When I decide to pick back up, I can find them easily online and send in the money.
So the notices went into the trash.
It's called avoidance
To aid in the cleanup, I bought some extra file folders and a pack of banker boxes for storage.
I know that waiting to buy what I think are necessary accessories before tackling more of the paperwork is clearly avoidance on my part.
I will do more this week. I need to report back to my therapist. Most importantly, I need to face this.
I don’t officially have my next CBT session until May because my therapist is so booked up, but I’m on the cancellation list, and my therapist told me to call every week to ask about canceled appointments.
Have you ever realized, in the middle of an exposure, some of the OCD thinking that has led you to that place? What did you discover?
Even if you don’t have OCD, have you had to face down tasks that seemed insurmountable? How did you do it?