I retrieved my two pieces of junk mail from the mailbox, and tossed them on the pile on my kitchen table.
Just as I turned to go to my office, a flyer’s bold print, in all capital letters, screamed:
5 DAYS ONLY
For what? I thought. I was hooked.
The flyer was a jumble of photos, logos, loud fonts, and the obligatory carrot: “Borrow up to $5000.”
So, some faceless company out there thinks I might be a sucker for an easy five grand? That, and the fact that they’re not far from the truth began to stress me out.
That’s when it hit me: my response to junk mail is over-the-top. It’s possible that not everyone goes into a near-panic when bombarded by (allegedly) urgent messages.
Corporations and companies are messing with my ADHD coping skills.
ADHD leaves me vulnerable to getting hooked by bait of all shapes and sizes.
I mostly do ignore it, my ADHD leaves me vulnerable to getting hooked by bait of all shapes and sizes. Distraction is an especially shiny lure. If the eye-catching layout, fonts, and graphics aren’t distracting enough, the language itself is.
Recently, a menacing manila envelope arrived. On the front of the envelope in bold capital letters it read:
“Do not discard – your coverage card is enclosed.”
What card? What coverage? I couldn’t remember sending for coverage for anything.
I flipped the envelope over.
“Please confirm receipt as soon as possible”
This was in bold, all-caps, and – red! Maybe I’d better read it, I thought (the red was working: I was starting to feel alarmed.)
It got worse when I opened the envelope and read,
REQUIRES ACTIVATION WITHIN 10 DAYS
No! Not another deadline!
The deadline reminded me of deadlines gone by, unmet, especially before my ADHD diagnosis.
I should read this stuff I thought, as a pang of guilt and worry hit me. I was now all-too familiar with the consequences of avoidance.
I took a deep breath and faced the promotional flyer.
The frantic layout with its jumble of crazy graphics, small print, bold print, all-caps print, red print, arrows, numbered lists, graphics of scissors hovering over dotted lines which I was supposed to cut or tear (which was it?), check marks, boxes to tick, plastic cards to peel off, plus the content itself sent my head spinning.
I was offered a discount; a second (unwanted) membership (for free); and a free all-purpose fleece blanket which I’d started to wish I had so I could crawl under it in an attempt to avoid having to deal with the same mail that had offered it and caused my stress in the first place.
Not only was my form-o-phobia evoked, my guilt complex triggered, and my overwhelmed state overwhelmed, but the intrusion made me angry.
“You have been pre-enrolled for immediate coverage from North America’s most trusted roadside assistance”
Who asked them to do that?
Out came the big guns:
“This is one risk you do not have to take any more…
What? I’ve been taking risks?!
… Riding in a car that’s not protected by roadside assistance. After all, you may break down far from home, late at night and, frankly, in a place that makes you nervous.”
The only thing making me nervous (and angry) at that moment was their unsolicited mail.
But wait, there’s more!
Another recent piece of junk mail read:
“…you are currently not receiving unaddressed mail delivered by Canada Post that your neighbours are receiving.”
Oh my God! What are they getting that I’m not? How could I have let this happen?
It turns out my national postal service disagrees with the wisdom of my choosing not to receive flyers and is urging me to take my “no flyers” sign down. Apparently, I’m missing out on some valuable advertising, appeals from charities (which I could only contribute to if I cashed in on the $5000 loan offered by my other junk mail), community notices (that I can read in my local paper, which I do have delivered to my door), coupons and product samples.
And this is a bad thing?
And the final pièce de résistance: their unsolicited mailing (endearingly addressed “Dear Occupant”) is printed on “sustainable papers” (whatever that is) and can be recycled – “as is the case with most unaddressed mail.”
So they get that I care about the environment, then they try to use that commitment to talk me into receiving even more junk mail so I can do more recycling?
My ADHD emotional dysregulation kicked in. I felt angry, manipulated, condescended to, and insulted. All from a l’il ol piece of junk mail, not even personally addressed to me. Still. I’ve been targeted – the mail, they say, was sent to me because of the “No Flyers” sign on my mailbox. But they sent it anyway!
These are but a few examples of the junk mail that is the undoing of my ADHD treatment when I’m already feeling overwhelmed.
Yes, Canada Post: you’re right. I do recycle. Maybe I should take a shovel and just recycle the whole pile of junk mail sitting on my kitchen table and be done with it.
Except for the staples. And the plastic windows that I rip out before recycling. All this takes time I don’t have.
It makes me even crazier to know that there are those who blithely glide through life without batting an eyelash when they receive this junk in the mail.
I’m not one of them.
This post currently has
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.
Last reviewed: 30 May 2013