Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Paperwork Palpatations

If you know me, you'd understand how much I hate paperwork. I never really enjoyed paying bills, doing taxes, or filling out forms. But the past few years my dislike has morphed into slight anxiety attacks when I need to do paperwork for more than about fifteen minutes. Looking back, I think things have become worse since we began foster care about ten years ago. If you know anything about foster care and adoption, especially from the county, you know that nothing happens without some a lot of paperwork involved, before, during, and even after the whole process. Want to be a foster parent? There are stacks of paper that need to be read, signed, and cosigned. Adopt? Well, there is even more, sometimes the very same things you filled out a few months before for fostering. Give a child medication for a cold? You need a form filled out to visit the doctor, another form for a list of medications that are cleared by the doctor, and still another form filled out when you actually give the child the medication. And if the child needs the medication at school? Well there is another form to be filled out. Once I had a social worker tell me to write down every time one of the kids hit or kicked me. I looked at her and said, "If I do that, I would be constantly writing and have no time for the kids." I got out of that one. All that paperwork was overwhelming, and if you add the stress of the first year or so, it wouldn't surprise me if the paperwork subconsciously reminds me of a very difficult time. Can a person have PTSD about filling out forms?

But today I had a bit of a breakthrough. I worked nearly two hours on paperwork and didn't break a sweat! Oh, I was tempted to not fill out a monthly attendance report after paying bills, and to procrastinate going through mail that arrived during our vacation. But I overcame the temptation and got those things done! It felt so good to not give into fear and anxiety, but to work through it. It's funny how avoiding distasteful chores increases the anxiety, yet working through things that are unpleasant gives such a sense of accomplishment. I'll have to remember that the next time I am tempted to run away from what needs to be done.

OK! Now for the next chore, cleaning and organizing the house! My goal is to work on it for one hour this evening. Ready, set the timer, and go!

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