A surprising amount of people suffering from mental health problems, especially if they also have debt issues, will avoid opening the mail. I know, because I was one of those people.
For quite a long time I just let my mail stack up, putting off opening my letters for as long as I could. All this because I feared what bad news awaited me inside the envelopes.
The problem with this is that it just reinforces your fear of your mail. It also leads to you being triggered with anxiety whenever you look or think about your mail. Not a fun way to live.
For the longest time, it seemed like the only thing I was getting in my mail was bad news. Nothing but bad news, which only made the anxiety about my mail worse. But putting off opening my mail only dragged out my anxiety. It in no way helped me to put off opening my mail and was a terribly unhealthy coping strategy. All that would happen was that it would then play on my mind constantly until I got around to opening my letters.
After years of this getting worse and worse, I decided I’d have enough. From now on I’d open my mail right away, and I still do. Ever since then, I’ve opened my mail right away, even when my anxiety is triggered because of the arrival of an unexpected official-looking envelope.
It’s so much better to get it over and done with right away, rather than dragging out the pain for days and weeks: I’d still get the pain of having to open that mail I’d prolonged opening when I got around to opening it on top of all that as well.
I know in the past when I’d been struggling to stay afloat when awaiting my sickness benefits to be sorted out, not opening my mail caused me a lot of avoidable problems. I missed appointments and incurred financial penalties all because I was avoiding opening my mail. Which just made my life worse.
I still get a lot of bad mail in the post, but that hasn’t stopped me from sticking to opening my letters right away. Now, instead of making my problems worse or missing something important, I now have time to sort things out when they need to be sorted.
For example, a few days ago I got a letter from the council saying my housing benefits had been suspended. This triggered an anxiety attack, but it also left me with plenty of time before my next payment was due to sort it out, which allowed me to focus better. This then allowed me to take action immediately to find out what was going on.
It turned out it was just something that happens from time to time when the DWP want to make sure an address on their records matches up with the councils. So it was nothing to worry about in the end, and I’d successfully dealt with it on the day I got the letter. Go me.
If you’re one of those people who is still suffering from the fear of opening your mail, please do something about it. Push through the pain and open your mail as soon as you get it. Don’t kick the can down the road and make your life worse than it is. Just because you aren’t opening them, it doesn’t mean it’s not causing you harm.
I know it can be hard to force yourself to open your mail, especially if you’re suffering from debt problems. But there are a lot of places you can turn to for help and support if the reason you’re avoiding your mail is due to debt.
Whatever your reason is for avoiding your mail, ripping off that bandaid will end the pain and torture of not opening your letters. It will also give you far more time to prepare yourself to deal with whatever news is contained within your now-opened mail.
So, open your mail and find a way to handle whatever news is inside. The more time you have to deal with the possible bad news, the better. The more time you give yourself to work on solutions for it or seek support to deal with it will only benefit you. Trust me, It’s better, in the long run, to open your letters as soon as you get them.
Think of it this way, the worse that can happen if you open your mail is that you get ahead of your potential problems. However, the worse that can happen if you avoid opening your mail is that you could be in all kinds of financial problems that you’ve left to let to deal with or miss crucial appointments. This could mean you lose the roof over your head, be taken to court, have to file for bankruptcy, lose your benefits, etc.
Tips For Dealing With Your Unopened Mail
Step 1 – Don’t think
The more you think about it the less likely you are to open your letters, so don’t think, just act.
Step 2 – Round-up
Start with the pile of envelopes you have by gathering them all together and going through them all as quickly as possible, putting them into new piles as you open them. Make sure the piles are sorted by categories, like a pile for junk stuff and another pile for those you need to take action on.
Step 3 – Sorting through the mess
Once all your letters have been opened, toss the junk mail and start looking through the mail that you need to take action on and put them into an order of priority. Then, tackle as many as you can this time around, setting aside others for the following day if it’s too much.
Step 4 – Resolve
Now that you’ve sorted through your mail, it’s time to resolve to open your mail right away before you have time to think. You see your mail you open them! No thinking, just action. That way your mail won’t start piling up again and your anxiety won’t spike every time you’re reminded of your horde of mail as your anxiety slowly gets worse day by day as your fear grows about what’s contained with those letters.
As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences with mail phobia in the comments section below as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.
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Unwanted Life readers.
Citizens Advice – Debt support
Step Change – Debt charity
8 thoughts on “Unopened Mail: The Surprising Impact Of Trivial Fears”
I thought I was the only one afraid of opening my mail! I get severe anxiety when I even think about it. But I’m really thinking about how you said that not opening it only drags it out even more. I am going to work on this. Thank you
It’s weird because I thought it was just me about having this feeling about opening mail but mine was due to hospital letters! It’s a real thing no joke at all no matter the root of the reason !!
Love Natalie x
Thank you for sharing this post, I can see from the comments that people have found this relatable. I haven’t experienced this myself, but I do get some anxiety opening emails that might give me bad news (such as not getting a job…) and friends in University were too anxious to open exam results for the same reason. Thank you for this insight
I never experienced that with my exams results. But because any mail I got seemed to be bad news, you start to expect it nothing but bad news in the mail after a while
I like to send cards via snail mail for this very reason. Most of us get nothing but junk mail and bills in our box. How lovely it is to get something from a friend.
That’s a nice idea
I totally relate to this.