Slowly but surely I have been gaining some of my phone skills back. There have been several years that I have been practically unable to use the phone. I have always been like this. As a kid, I was terrified of using the phone. I did talk on the phone with my friends, but normally it was always focused on my special interests. As I went on to my teenage years, the phone was for the purpose of grand arguments with my boyfriend, or making plans with my friends and that took a lot of energy.
Most of the time they had to call me.
At all of my work places, I became very good at making up excuses for not answering the phone, or I became incredibly irritable and angry. Usually, becoming snippy with my fellow employees and often the customers or clients as well. I tried everything not to be that way, but I could not help it. It always sent a jolt of electricity through my veins attacking me with direct panic induced feelings. It is still does. I hated it when I moved and would have to call places to change my address. I hated talking to any place that dealt with my bills. I hated making appointments to the doctor, ordering food, etc. I hated using the phone so much that on several occasions instead of calling in sick when I was seriously ill I went in.
I normally went in anyway because I had no clue as to how sick I was.
The only time I would call for a doctors appointment was when I could no longer bare the pain, or someone else insisted. However, I usually got them to call and make the appointment. I have talked about this before, but I am giving a little briefing to those who are new or visiting for the first time. I am not exactly sure as to why the phone frightens me so. I have lost several job interviews and possible jobs in the past because I was unable to pick up the phone when it rang and I listened as they left a message. I was unable to get enough courage to call them back.
I only called back places that I REALLY wanted to, or it felt like I was supposed to get the job.
I have had that happened several times, a gut feeling that it was the job I should have. I did get everyone of those jobs the other ones I did not have that strong sense. Possibly, they were not meant to be, or I was just too terrified of the phone, who knows. I have been able to overcome making phone calls for my kids. If it has anything to do with them I can make myself do it, but it can take me a couple of days to work up the nerve. I normally have to write out what I want to say and ask. I do not order food. I am freaked out about ordering the wrong thing.
That has happened to me before.
I go over and over what another person wants, I write it down, I read it directly to the person taking the order and then, they give me the wrong thing! It can bring me to tears. I do not understand why this stuff happens to me. These types of things always happen to me, even not on the phone. Such as, a couple of weeks ago when we went to church for the first time here. I asked one of the ushers where children’s church was and he said, “Oh, we only have that on Sundays. We do not have anything for Saturday night service.” I found that so strange since my aunt told me that she was teaching and doing a skit that night.
I decided to have the kids give regular church a try.
They made it through worship and I decided to have them walk around to get a feel for the building. (Daniel needed to investigate the stairs, doors, and perimeter anyway.) We ended up hearing my aunt’s voice down the hall. (She is kind of loud – love her! I can be too.) This was how we found children’s church. I told her what had happened and she thought possibly it was a new usher because they have brought in a bunch of new volunteers. When I later showed her who the person was she said, “What? He is practically an elder; he is a deacon who has been around here a long time. That is strange.”
I came home and told David because I was so confused.
He said, “Why does that stuff always happen to you?” I know? Why? These kinds of confusing mix-ups happen over the phone all the time and I am certain it is a contributor to my phone anxiety. It happens in real life situations and phone situations. In the last few days, I have managed to get on the phone and set up several appointments for myself. I have been researching and looking for a psychologist around here for a few months. I finally gathered enough nerve to contact several places.
I emailed of course.
I had hoped they would connect with me via email, but I did not get my hopes up. I am also very jaded toward people due to all of the horrible encounters I had where we used to live. People would not contact me back; I would call, email, and leave messages. That takes a lot out of me anyway so to receive no interaction was frustrating. However, when I did actually speak to a person it was a negative experience. They were rude, treated me as if I was a moron, or would be frustrated with my questions. It made my phone anxieties heighten, I started lose confidence in my ability to communicate with anyone all together.
In real life, or a phone.
I am blabbering… Some people may think it is a ridiculous thing to have an unknown fear, or panic attack thinking of picking up the phone. I wish I did not have this anxiety, but I do. Here is where I am going to share what a triumph I had with the phone. I received an email back from the psychologist office answering all of my questions and telling me that I could call and set up an appointment at anytime. They are open until 7 pm on certain nights during the week so I called after dinner one evening. The woman asked me to hold in an abrasive way, I agreed to hold, but then the panic started to set in.
I started questioning if my email had bothered her.
I worried that if she was acting like that then possibly the whole office had mean abrasive women. The tears started to well up – I made myself breathe slowly and try to think rationally. I thought she must be terribly busy or something. She came back on and said, “Can you hold, it is going to be a while.” In the abrasive manner again. I almost hung up, but instead I stayed calm and asked, “Would it be better if I called back tomorrow?” Her voice completely changed and she shared that she was the only one in the office after 5 pm. She also said, “That is up to you though, if you want to hold you can.” I told her it was no problem that I would call back in the morning.
She was very kind after that.
I decided to give it another try and the next day I felt a lot better with how I was being treated. It gave me enough courage to contact the other doctor’s office. (The doctor’s office for women issues.) Now I love going to the doctor, the regular doctor. I do not like going to the doctor who has to inspect all my private parts, prodding, and poking around there. That brings up a whole other round of issues for me. Along with fears that something is wrong and I will have to have surgery, or another laparoscopy. What if my endometriosis is back? Urg! I do not have money for that stuff. I do not have time to deal with bodily issues. I am busy!
Anyway, they called me.
I was so fatigued that I could not call them back and I almost talked myself out of it, but then forced myself to call the next day. Oh, my! The woman was so wonderful. She was as kind as could be and made me feel at ease. Although, I saw a picture of my doctor online and I am all freaked out. I never know how I feel about having a woman doctor or a man doctor. I do not want either; could I have a trained chimpanzee? I may feel more comfortable with that. So… it is a male doctor and it freaks me out. I would be freaked out with a woman too – it does not matter.
I am sidetracked.
I was feeling pretty good with all of this. I handled Daniel’s appointment well on the phone, even when they made a mistake and had to reschedule. I handled my phone calls well, before, during, and after. I felt like everything was settling, until I received the packets in the mail that I have to fill out before each appointment. I opened them up and started reading through them got overwhelmed, started to cry, and laid my head on my desk. I decided to give myself a break and look at them when I am not feeling so overwhelmed. Today I started to feel much better. We have had five days of school that have been pleasant for the most part, lessons completed, and no meltdowns. (Well none that were very long, or incredibly draining.) I was feeling a bit celebratory then; my phone just let me know that I have a message.
My dad is coming in town tonight.
I think it is only for a day, but I could not call him back. I just cannot. I am drained; the kids are all doing so well. I am afraid any unexpected visits will send the whole system into an uproar. I think we will have to pass this time around. There is such a thing as too much phone skills, right?
Telephobia… Whoop! There it is! Ha ha ha
Maybe if I had a steampunk phone I would be able to conquer this anxiety?