When Clarke was admitted to psychiatric hospital, I stopped opening the post.
I figured if my eyeballs didn't actually see the bills, then they weren't happening.
This is an extremely bad course of action. Do not be like me.
At best, the letters keep coming.
At worst? A bailiff turns up at the door. And the shock of that is way worse than them writing to you.
Plus have you noticed how many companies text now?
Unless I've managed to beat the system by having my phone cut off.
You know, cos I didn't open that scary letter from the phone company...
I told my therapist about it. Well eventually, anyway.
It took a court summons from the council, and a bloke turning up to cut off our gas and electricity, on the same day, for me to finally realise that the situation was getting out of control.
In my next therapy session with her, when I told my therapist about my literal pile of unopened bills.
She told me she was going on holiday for two weeks, and she needed me to look after her toad.
Of all the responses I had played out in my head, this was not one of them.
But, my mammy raised me well, so I told her politely that I would for sure look after her toad.
There, I thought, that'll get her back on track.
Alas no. And more toad-talk ensued:
She said it was a nice little toad, so easy to look after, just with one little maintenance issue.
I said I was sure it wouldn't be an issue, but on the inside I was shouting CAN WE TALK ABOUT ME AND MY ALLERGY TO OPENING BILLS NOW PLEASE?
Great. She'd drop it around later on.
Just one thing. It had a medical issue which meant it needed to be licked once a fortnight.
You what, petal?
Any time at all, as long as it was once a fortnight. The sooner it was licked, the better for the licker, as it were, because the longer it got left, the more smelly and slimy it got.
And did I think I could give her some sort of indication of when I was most likely to lick the toad?
Okay, fine. I got it.
It didn't take much self awareness for me to realise that, given my general approach to facing things in life, that toad was going to be licked on the eleventh hour of the fourteenth day...at the very last minute, and therefore at its most disgusting.
And that was it for me. From then on I would say out loud to myself, when I heard the post drop through the letterbox "lick that toad!"
Full disclosure here: I've fallen back into old habits a few times since then. But I know to tell Clarke as soon as I consciously catch myself doing it.
And then we go give that slimy toad a good lick, together.