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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