This week I learned that hoarding is a common activity of PTSD patients. I learned this from my new therapist, Dr. Zng, at the World Trade Center Health Program in New York City. I don’t know Dr. Zng’s first name. She is the first therapist I’ve ever had whose first name I did not know. Perhaps her first name is hard for English speakers to pronounce.

My co-op apartment in Brooklyn was a storehouse for items¬†hoarded during the ten-plus years I lived in oblivion of my illness. I’m fortunate to have been able to leave it more than four years ago, but every time I came back to visit, the burden of an unknown problem imposed itself on my psyche until I couldn’t take it anymore and flew back to San Francisco.

Today, the apartment is more like a warehouse as items get packed up and taken away. Last year, I donated thousands of dollars worth of stuff to thrift stores in Brooklyn.

When I have fortitude, I sort through more nostalgic things, including papers with printed ideas, notes, articles, and other more serious documentation. About to go in the recycling bag is a stack of open mic signup sheets. I remembered that I used to host open mic nights at a bar on the Upper West Side on Monday nights and welcomed musicians, comedians, and poets to the stage. I didn’t remember how long I had done it for. It was long enough to put the experience on my resume. The found stack has 18 signup lists. I had also hosted open mic nights at another bar downtown, but signup lists for this place were not in the file folder. I decided to write in a blog how many lists there were before saying “bye” to something hoarded.¬†Getting rid of just this stack of papers lifts some of the burden. Looking forward to the rest of the hoard being gone.

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