Who do I hire to get my life together?
June 20, 2017 1:39 PM   Subscribe

I am lost and overwhelmed with a backlog of life task I cant complete because anxiety is shutting me down. My husband took his life in January. I put off/ran/delayed a bunch of tasks relating to his death because fuck, that was hard. Now I'm trying to deal with it, with my life, and I'm massively overwhelmed and can't seem to make decisions. There has to be some sort of organizer/planner/assistant type professional that can help me out, right?

I moved into a rental shortly after my husband took his life because I needed to get OUT, and left most everything in stasis. I used work as an excuse (it was a good, valid one) that kept me from getting things completed, but I see now I was also doing it as an escape. Funny the way things work, I was let go from my job a few weeks ago, and now I have to deal with it.

The problem is that the list of things I have been avoiding has grown to unmanageable. I'm just overwhelmed and can't seem to manage to do anything right now. I have really bad anxiety because it seems like my task list is a mile long. Every time I try to start, I fall into a rut where I don't know where to start; I don't know what I should be doing, I don't know how to choose what I should be doing, and then I just am filled with anxiety that makes me avoid all the tasks. If I'm honest, this has been going on for QUITE some time, so my list of todos is giant and everything needs to be done sooner rather than later.

Complicating matters, I have adhd, which means I'm miserable with prioritizing and time management. Add to it the anxiety i'm feeling and it's causing me to really struggle to complete anything.

For instance, I still have the home I moved out of. I still need to sell it. I talked to a realtor today, and they told me I need to get the place cleared out. Which includes - picking what stays and goes, selling anything of value (possibly an estate sale), hiring movers. Which also includes getting storage since I have some things I think I want to keep but not at the new place. Then hiring a landscaper, then having the realtor assess again. But there is more - there is a dead car in the driveway I need to sell, and a dumpster I rented that is late that I need to beg forgiveness and figure out what I owe.

But I shut down trying to deal with it, I shut down thinking about it. I get massive anxiety and I find a million reasons why I can't come to the house when I plan to.

I also have to get my husbands accounts closed post his death, and get anything in his name into mine.

I have two cars I have to sell.

I have to get into a dentist asap because of a tooth issue. But I don't have a dentist I trust.

I have to figure out what insurance plan I can go on, because I have medications and doctor visits.

I have to look for a freaking job, which includes updating linkedin.

I have several weeks or even months of mail I need to address.

This is just a small sample. I have a multiple page todo list, and much of it falls into this urgent category.

For the moment, I'm going to stay out of work to try and get my life in order. I do have a small amount of money from my husband's death to keep me going with unemployment. I feel like I would end up being in the same boat if I just went right back to work, so I need this time. But the money won't last forever, so I need to take care of this soon.

I do have friends that have offered to help many times over. The problem is that 1) I have a hard time knowing what I need 2) I have a hard time when i feel like I'm "inconveniencing" friends 3) I don't want to resent a friend that I ask to help.

I am estranged from my family and the family dynamics are pretty toxic/abusive, so I'm not going to call on them for help. I mention, because many people have said "normally family would help out with this."

I have a therapist, and an adhd coach. But they help me try to deal with the how do I make the right decisions. However, I think, what I need, is someone to either do many of the tasks, or act as the decider/project manger and tell me what I need to do. Until I get out from under this backlog of life tasks that have a large emotional burden, I don't think the anxiety and overwhelmed feelings that are shutting me down will go away.

Is there a type of person that can assist with this? Who should I seek out? Any other tips?
posted by [insert clever name here] to Grab Bag (26 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I'm so sorry for your loss.

I think a personal assistant is a good place to start. But for your house there are also decluttering/staging services.

If I were your friend, if you shared this exact list with me, I'd start tackling things right away. It's ok to give them a chance to help you. I bet they have dentists so that might be one step. They could also help find you an assistant.
posted by warriorqueen at 1:44 PM on June 20, 2017 [14 favorites]

Would it help to just a have a friend sit with you for a few hours and make a daily schedule for the next week? And then again in maybe five days for the following week? They could also help you decide what you have to do yourself and what you can delegate/hire someone to do. I imagine that just not feeling alone in it and having someone to help make decisions might be a relief. Your therapist might also be a resource for this.

I suggest prioritizing above all else self care items. Getting your tooth taken care of and making sure you schedule in relaxing activities and things that make you feel physically good (exercise, massage, cuddling a pet, whatever it is for you) will help you manage the rest.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 1:51 PM on June 20, 2017 [6 favorites]

If I were your friend, if you shared this exact list with me, I'd start tackling things right away.

Me too. I checked your profile to see if you were close to me, so I could come over and help you sort your mail.

This is not answering your direct question, because I don't know who you should hire - but I want to give you some encouragement that your inability to deal with all this stuff for the past several months isn't an indication that you still can't deal with it now. It sounds like you're ready to start, and that's a huge step in the road to getting your life back under control.

It's okay to ask your friends to help. Friends want to help, have almost certainly been asking themselves and each other for months what they can do to help you. Right now, today, can you email two different friends and ask one of them to come over and help you sort the mail, and another to help you figure out how to sell your cars? That's two big things. Then you're making progress. I think once you get started you'll start to feel better a lot better about it.
posted by something something at 1:56 PM on June 20, 2017 [23 favorites]

There's no one type of professional person who does this, but there are types of people who do the pieces of it. There are professional organizers who will come to the house with you and help you make decisions about what to sell. There are job coaches who will help you update your resume and linkedin profile. There are estate attorneys who will help you close the estate and transfer accounts.
posted by bq at 1:57 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

There are home organization/de-cluttering experts who do exactly what you are looking for in terms of your home stuff. They will look at everything you have, take an inventory of it, help you figure out what stays/goes, and some will also hire and oversee dumpster dropoffs/donation organization pickups/moving etc. Where are you located? People here can probably recommend specific professionals to try.

And you should definitely try leaning on your friends. Just start by giving some simple tasks, like, "Hey friend, can you come over this weekend and help me pack up some books? I'll provide wine and pizza!" I suspect having a few successful experiences with this will help you feel more comfortable with it.
posted by joan_holloway at 2:11 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

There are people who make a living organizing other people's homes. They can help clear out, and stage a home, and can pack, store, donate, sell, and trash items as appropriate. It generally is absolutely nothing like the reality shows based on this concept. (I mention this because I know several people who were afraid hiring an organizer would equal public shaming of some sort.) I think you can also hire a personal assistant on a temporary basis for some of the other items.

I find it a good strategy not to obsess over the length of a to-do list, but to simply do the next thing I can do. I also find it helpful to break a big to-do down into several smaller to-dos.

I'm very sorry for your loss. I'm wishing you all the best.
posted by Cranialtorque at 2:11 PM on June 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

I know a personal organizer who often visits and works in your city. If she is available now, she would be of great help to you. She helped me with some of the same tasks, such as staging and selling real estate, moving, mail, bookkeeping .... If you will MeMail me, I will reply with her contact information.
posted by JimN2TAW at 2:12 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

I did this same thing after my mother, father and favorite aunt died within 6 months of each other in 2010-2011. Then my husband was diagnosed with a blood disorder and ended up having a bone marrow transplant. I was executor for two of these estates and I just didn't do much of anything for a long time. It was grief and feeling overwhelmed, and me feeling like life had given me a s**t sandwich. I often still feel this way, but that is another story.

People helped me, and I let them. It is like something something says, they want to help. I mean, they helped me clean out the houses. I gave a ton of stuff to Goodwill, I asked people to make calls for me (someone can call about the dumpster) and jump in with other chores like cleaning and packing. And they did, and some of them wanted some of the things and I was happy to have them take them.

Start just doing one thing. Call the dentist. And then take some time to feel happy that you did that. But then, maybe tomorrow, call a friend to help you sell the cars.
posted by chocolatetiara at 2:40 PM on June 20, 2017 [6 favorites]

If you've got a friend who you think could do a good job with some portion of this list, or even all of it, but you're worried about burdening her, you could offer to pay her. This would take some of the weirdness off you, and make it easier for her to take on a large job. Think of it the way that an estate will pay its executor from the estate, even if the executor is the deceased's child. Offer to pay her from your husband's estate, and it should feel okay to both of you.

I'm so sorry for your loss, and have some sense of what it feels like. I really is absolutely not fair of life to give you both grief and a massive, icky job all at the same time.
posted by Capri at 2:41 PM on June 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm sorry for your loss.

I don't know how this would work but I'm thinking there has to be a very organized personal-assistant type of person who could be looking for a summer job if they're in college right now? Maybe if hiring is too tough on you right now, someone else you know can help you look. But then the actual paid assistant can help with everything else.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 2:48 PM on June 20, 2017

But I shut down trying to deal with it, I shut down thinking about it. I get massive anxiety and I find a million reasons why I can't...

Yes, this was me. In addition to the excellent advice about personal organizers (and maybe a life coach if you can find one that isn't scammy) here is my number one tip. Find the smallest/least overwhelming/something you can handle doing right now item on your to do list. You'll probably get overwhelmed looking through your list to find this. That's okay. Go through a section, take a walk, go through another section, have a cup of tea, etc. Just find the thing. Or ask a friend to find the thing. Then do the thing. Now you have momentum!

I mean, absolutely, delegate as much as you can, but there will be things that you'll need to do. I so understand decision paralysis and the subsequent avoidance of tasks because of it. But I've found that once I get over that initial hurdle, doing other things becomes easier.

If you need help organizing and prioritizing your to do list, I'd be happy to help, since I don't live close enough to help you sort your mail.

You can do this. Accept help. And please take care of yourself. Self-care is so important.
posted by Ruki at 2:53 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hi-- What a difficult year you've had! I can relate, on multiple fronts, and my heart goes out to you. I actually think you're doing well to make lists, call Realtors, etc.; this shit is hard!

I agree that the dentist is a good place to start; you'll feel better when you feel better. Personally I'd make resolving the dumpster issue number 2; it's a place to throw things out, which will also make you feel better.

Regarding the other stuff, one thing that helps me is knowing where on the spectrum between expediency and perfection a given task lies. So for example, you can get rid of the cars expediently by taking them to CarMax (the working ones) and donating the other one to your local public radio station. That won't maximize your sales price (perfection), but it will be over very quickly vs the high hassle alternative, e.g., detailing the cars, listing them for sale, dealing with the transaction, etc. It helps with the stress of thinking every task has to be treated equally carefully or cavalierly. Some things you'll just want to get over with: no guilt!

If you hire an assistant, try to think through what the most productive working relationship might look like. For example, do you really need him/her to manage you from below by getting you to make decisions, sign stuff, etc. according to a plan/schedule? If so, then you don't want to hire someone who thinks the relationship in terms of boss:subordinate mode.

Finally, I would point out that you've lived without whatever's in the old house for six months now. Moreover, you left that house because it was difficult to be there. With few exceptions, maybe you'd actually feel best if it all just evaporated; maybe its time is over? Something to consider...
posted by carmicha at 2:55 PM on June 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

This sounds brutal and I am so sorry.

How are you with meds? Xanax plus Adderall has been helpful for me in situations where my anxiety led to being stuck which led to being depressed which led to being immobilized which led to procrastination which led to more anxiety which compounded the depression........etc. Right now, it sounds like your focus should be pure functionality.

I think the professionals who are immediately helping you need to help you figure out the most important thing. It sounds like selling the house is hounding you and you have to deal with the tooth. Pick the most together of your friends, find out who their dentists are, pick three, make the phone calls, and go to that person who makes an appointment for you when say you are having immediate pain that is interfering with your life--the phrase that gets the appointment. Just focus on the tooth, not on committing to a dentist for life. Just the tooth.

The second thing is the contents of the house. That's a thing for your friends to help with--that's an easily askable thing, not like asking them to be an attorney or dentist. They can help pack and sort things and run Craigs List ads, etc--you can ask them for ideas; let them come up with some ('put all these things out by the curb and post it on Craig's List' 'Keep this forever!')

Third thing is selling the house. That is a separate project with discrete steps you figure out after the first two things--it's too big on its own. Shelve it for now, ditto 'job' which is an intimidating tower of individual steps.

I'm playing fast and loose--I don't know what is right in these circumstances, but I do know any plan is better than no plan. You have two coaches to help you and I think you need to get them to help you with this specific thing: WHAT FIRST? Not what's #11 or #23--but just, what's first? And then lean on the friends to execute.

I hope this helps even a little and I'm really sorry that you are going through this.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:56 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Before hiring anyone, I would say get your 2-6 most organized (and/or experienced with executor stuff) friends together for a Saturday afternoon with either a big ol' whiteboard or index cards or similar and just brain-dump while they capture all the items on the board or cards.

Then let each of them take a sector (House, Job, Estate, Personal, etc - depending on how many people you have and how many sectors seem to emerge from your brain dump) and sort the items or cards into silos. Let them help you figure out urgency/priority, and THEN you can start hiring either organizers or professionals as needed for resolutions. Your friends don't necessarily have to take on any of the work, just help you filter out into more manageable lists.

Get one of them to handle your dentist situation and just tell you when to be where, or take you there.

I'm sorry for your loss. It's totally normal to not really know what to do at this point. Let people help.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:58 PM on June 20, 2017 [6 favorites]

I do have friends that have offered to help many times over. The problem is that 1) I have a hard time knowing what I need 2) I have a hard time when i feel like I'm "inconveniencing" friends 3) I don't want to resent a friend that I ask to help.

Who is the bossiest one who is not encumbered by small children? Call that person. Ask her to come over and help you asses what needs to happen in what order. Give her the names of the other people and ask her to organise them into help crews.

Let people help you.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:22 PM on June 20, 2017 [24 favorites]

I think one of the hardest parts of stuff like this is people say "Let me know if you need anything" and then it's on the person who's in the hard place to ask and figure out what needs to be done, and it sounds like that's where you're shutting down (which happens; we went through that after my mom passed last year - so many "let us know what we can do for you" and we didn't even know where to start). I agree DarlingBri - you need someone else to help you figure out what to even ask for, and it's okay to say that (though you have a good start on a list in this post). It's okay to say to the folks who are saying "let me know if you need anything" that "hey, I don't even know where to start - can you help me with that?"

I am so sorry for your loss. The lack of direction you're feeling right now is totally normal. I wish it weren't so.
posted by joycehealy at 3:38 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Dear [insert clever name here], Jessamyn and two other lovely MeFites contacted me privately to suggest that I may be able to help assuage some of your concerns.

First, you have my condolences. Be assured that in the aftermath of a loss, it is hard for everyone to focus, to remember things, to prioritize, to make decisions, and to get things done. ADHD exacerbates what grief already makes almost impossible.

Next, know that with the exception of getting your dental problem resolved (which will dramatically improve your ability to focus), none of these myriad choices you need to make are urgent, per se. They don't have to be done tomorrow, but each step you take will get you closer to getting them done. You WILL be able to develop a plan to figure out the order in which to tackle things so that you can focus on just one thing at a time.

Although I am a Certified Professional Organizer, I am not YOUR certified professional organizer, but what you describe needing is what people like me do all day, every day:

--identify all essential tasks and categorize them to help you focus
--prioritize your tasks
--help connect you with the other appropriate experts who will help you accomplish your goals
--develop a plan so that you know what to do and where to be on any given day.

Certainly you do not HAVE to work with a professional organizer, but please remember that members of my profession are trained to work with people who are dealing with grief, with ADHD, and absolutely with a wide variety of unprioritized tasks (and loads of tangible stuff that needs to be sorted, donated, re-organized, stored, moved, etc.).

Just knowing that you will not be someone's first rodeo may give you more confidence in tackling these things, and will alleviate your concerns regarding knowing what to do (that's a PO's job), inconveniencing someone (it's no more an inconvenience than a doctor treating an ailment -- it's our job), or worrying that you will resent someone (because a trained professional helping you accomplish your goals will relieve your worries, and it's unlikely that you'd feel resentment...and don't have to do pizza and movie night with your professional organizer the way you might with a friend).

With regard to the financial, insurance, and other accounts, once you make sure you have enough copies of the death certificate, a professional organizer will sit with you to:
a) identify who needs to be called,
b) locate what the essential numbers -- phone, account/policy, etc. -- are, and
c) either call the parties with you, sitting next to you, on speaker phone, or walk you through the calls, and
d) help you do any follow-up paperwork, mailings, and set alerts to remind you when to watch for replies and call for follow-ups.

I've made the calls, sat in on the calls and interjected when things got confusing or my client got distracted, or just sat by a client's side, working on other paperwork while they made the calls, giving them emotional support. We professional organizers do that every day.

Similarly, every other task you describe is something that a professional organizer can do with you, giving you support and information to achieve your goals. We are absolutely used to working with people whose ADHD distracts them, and with clients with grief, depression, anxiety, and other obstacles. I've been doing this for 15+ years, and the vast majority of us work in this field as a second or third career, finding that working compassionately with our clients is far more rewarding than what we did previously (as lawyers, managers, or in my case, as TV executives). Our goals are to help you make the decisions and take the actions that will give you confidence moving forward.

The one thing a professional organizing cannot do for you, and your friends cannot do for you, is to go to the dentist. I urge you to:

--ask any three friends which dentist they use
--ask your FB circle if they have a dentist in your town they really like
--call your dental insurance company (if you have one) or check their site to see which are in your plan
--call for an appointment

Honestly, I would do this "finding recommended dentist and making appointment" task first. As far as trusting any medical practitioner, if you trust the person recommending them, chances are the people they trust (doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, landscapers, etc.) will be trustworthy too.

As recently as January, I answered a question very similar to yours. I'm going to borrow some parts of what I said there (which probably borrowed from other MetaFilter posts where I answered similar questions, which may help you feel better about how common these overwhelming experiences are).

What you want is to make sure you are working with someone in the National Association of Professional Organizers, the site for which has a "Find an Organizer" tab with a geographic search you can use, filtering geographically and by speciality. (I strongly urge you to just enter your zip code -- the site has been hinky this week with regard to returning names, but the zip code search works well.) I've been in NAPO 15+ years and can make sense of the various credentials, such as Certified Professional Organizer (CPO®), which is what I am, or CPO-CD, etc., if you have questions about any of that.

Given that you have ADHD, you may want to contact someone allied with the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) (whose subscribers -- they're not called members -- specialize in studying how to work with people with chronic disorganization and hoarding tendencies). The VAST majority of ICD members are also NAPO members, and I'd be more inclined to use ICD's database as a cross-check than as a sole resource.

I'd also suggest you consider someone who has experience working with seniors, even if you are not one, because those of us who work with seniors have even more experience with helping clients deal with the aftermath of someone's passing.

One alternative solution, in case you don't want to work solely with a professional organizer, might be to have a session with a professional organizer to develop an action plan, and help you "project manage" a group of your friends to help you with each of the tasks. Maybe one super well-connected friend (we all have those friends who are walking Rolodexes) can work with you and a PO to find experts, while another friend might be a champion at making "I'd like to change this account-holder to this one" calls with you.

You don't have to only use a PO; you don't have to only use your friends; you don't have to go it alone -- there are all combinations of solutions that will help you feel more in control, less overwhelmed, and better able to slowly, confidently, go in right direction. Please feel free to MeMail me if you need any help -- I've helped fellow MeFites talk through these kinds of things to find the right solutions and brainstorm, and as you can see from this thread, we are all standing beside you.

Finally, when someone dies, friends are often at a loss to know exactly how they can comfort a friend. They feel they lack the right words or the right skills when someone they love is in mourning. Aside from working with a professional, which is wise, you could also do something loving, and let your friends help you in the ways they know how.

Again, I am sorry for your loss, and I am here if I can help you with this process.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 3:59 PM on June 20, 2017 [76 favorites]

I have two pieces of advice. First, send out an email or message to your friends who want to help. It should look like this...

Thanksfor all the support. I'm ready to get started now on dealing with all this and I really do need some help. Here's a partial list of what needs to happen first. If you could pick one or two of them to help me with, I would SO appreciate it.

**And then list everything you mentioned above.**

This way, you are not asking them for anything they are not comfortable with, and they can pick their own areas to help. And as you move forward, you can continue to send out group messages such as "I'm sorting out the garage in the house on Saturday morning. Cinnamon rolls and mimosas to whoever wants to come help." And so on.

Next, I'm going to give my age-old advice ....use a timer. TODAY, set your phone timer for 15 minutes and work on whatever is on the top of your pile of paperwork. Fifteen minutes only, then take a self-care break for half an hour. Then set it again and do another fifteen minutes. You can do anything for only fifteen minutes, right? This is the way I get everything done that I hate to do, and I promise it works.
posted by raisingsand at 4:03 PM on June 20, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm so sorry. I'd feel overwhelmed in your shoes too. Lots of great advice above; I wonder if a support group might also be helpful. Others who have been through what you have been through might be able to help in ways the rest of us can't.
posted by gennessee at 4:19 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Something that helps me... and I don't know how you feel about the phone... normally I hate talking on the phone due to anxiety, but when my mom calls she does most of the talking and so I take that time to go do a chore I've been putting off. Yesterday I made tuna salad. Doesn't sound like much, but I've been meaning to make tuna salad for three weeks, and it burned up 15 minutes of listening to my mom talk and it provided me with three meals. The time before that I gathered up a load of towels and put them in the washing machine, etc, etc.

And while calling your bossiest friend to help is a good idea, before they start ordering you around, maybe pick a safeword or something (I'm serious) so that they know when you're getting overwhelmed before you shut down completely.

But mostly everything The Wrong Kind of Cheese said. That was flagged as fantastic. Bravo.

Finally *hugs* I'm in a very similar place and it's a bitch. I hope you find some help soon.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:02 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is a super rough place to be in, and you have all of my sympathy. You've already gotten a ton of great advice, so I'm not gonna repeat that--I just want to offer some specific resources that might help you.

- The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation can help you with finding a job. They help structure the job search and provide you resources and leads. I saw in a previous question you have a physical disability, so combined with ADHD you would definitely qualify and possibly be one of their high priority clients (which means getting processed quicker). This does, unfortunately, require a bunch of paperwork, but it may be something you find easier to tackle than the other tasks on your list.
- Based on your profile, this dentist may be in your area. I've been going to them for 20+ years and they have always been great. (Once, in a lapse in insurance, I had to go to a different dentist, and was honestly horrified by the experience in comparison.)
- This site can help you compare insurance plans.

Also, I'm in your area and know a couple of people looking to buy cars, and I also know someone who occasionally buys dead cars and fixes them up. Feel free to MeMail me the info on the two cars if you want me to pass that along.
posted by brook horse at 6:18 PM on June 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm so sorry for your loss. You sound like you are struggling. Here are some things that have helped me get stuff done when I'm overwhelmed:

-A friend and I have ADD study hall where we do pomodoros of this kind of stuff (sorting mail, renewing prescriptions, paperwork). After three or four of them we go out to dinner. Peer pressure and positive reinforcement works! We also usually eat candy during the work part.

-When I was going to therapy, I specifically choose an LCSW so that she could help me navigate bureaucracies and I spent my sessions making phone calls I had been avoiding and cleaning out my purse and stuff like that. I did have to say specifically, "I don't want to talk about my childhood, I want to make an appointment to get my teeth cleaned."

-When I've done this stuff as a job, I've gotten the job by volunteering when someone in my extended social circle needed the help. My only qualifications were being kind, patient, nonjudgmental, and underemployed (so I was happy to work a few hours a week for a few months for cash). I did stuff like sorting mail, paying bills, calling banks, and packing stuff. I would put the word out to friends that you need a person like this and see what turns up.

I personally don't bother spending assistance time making schedules or trying to get to the root of my indecisiveness in therapy anymore. I focus on getting tasks done and moving on. It works for me.

One last note: As you can see, it seems totally normal and reasonable to me to both give and get help with this kind of stuff as needed in life. I bet that your friends would be happy to help you. Let them be a loving family to you if you can.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:45 AM on June 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm so sorry for your loss. Feeling completely overwhelmed by this is normal.

There is a ton of good advice above, but I just want to repeat the suggestion to let your friends help you. You sound exactly like my best friend. She has anxiety, gets overwhelmed and can't get started and puts things off. She has a lot of trouble accepting help because she feels like she's inconveniencing her friends.

Except it's way more frustrating when I know I could help and I want to help and she won't let me. So let the people who care about you help you. I promise it will make them happy to do so, and someday you will return the favor or pay it forward.
posted by thejanna at 8:14 AM on June 21, 2017

I'm sorry for your loss and this tough time you're going through, [insert clever name here].

I think we've chatted online once or twice before - I live pretty close to you. I know when I've been in the middle of the worst of clinical depression, just setting up appointments was so. hard.

With that in mind, I'll send you info for my dentist. I have one I go to who is a friend of a friend, has a nice bright and clean office, great friendly staff, and plays sea shanties for the week of St. Patrick's day (and perfectly tolerable music the rest of the year). Everything one needs :)

Once I post this comment I'm going to look up what I've paid per visit and PM that to you with their phone number. I know for me not knowing the ballpark of what a given service would cost always made it hard to call, so hopefully having that information will help you. Feel free to not use my recommendation, but perhaps if nothing else it'll be a good starting point for you.

We're all pulling for you. One day at a time, right? You got this.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:54 AM on June 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm so sorry for your loss.

To cave out a tiny piece of what I'm sure is an overwhelming burden... Consider hiring an estate company to help with the items in the house. That would get the house clear and clean, and ready for the next steps prior to putting the house up for sale.

You can contract with an estate company to help you sort through the house contents, host a sale, and dispose of any unsold items in a pre-agreed-upon manner (donate to specific charity, etc.). You can specify that the company sells or removes everything in the house if you wish, down to the cleaning supplies, with a final clean. They work on either a percentage of the sales or on a predetermined fee.

These companies are usually local, so get local recommendations from trusted people or check your local newspapers for listings for estate sales happening in your area to figure out who the locals are.
posted by answergrape at 1:28 PM on June 21, 2017

I want you to take a moment to feel good about the fact that you asked us for help.

That's a huge step, there are so many great ideas in this thread, but you did the reaching out.

That's really fantastic.

Right now everything is hard, but you are making the right choices and going in the right direction. You asked us, and you'll be able to ask your friends too.

We might just be internet weirdos, but we are your internet weirdos.
posted by dreamling at 4:09 PM on June 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

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