Quick Hit: Phone Anxiety

5 Nov

So, the concept of talking on the phone is stressful for me. If I know I need to call somebody (especially if I don’t know them ((really) well)), I get fairly anxious. Dizziness, nauseous, rapid heart beat, minor difficulty breathing, and a general sense of dread are characteristic of this state for me. I may start to dial, then hang up before the number starts ringing. “Oh, I’ve forgotten some minor person’s name, I’d better look it up and call later.” Of course, later usually is an amount of time measured in weeks, even though I usually resolve the problem I was upset enough to hang up over immediately.

Because of this, it’s kind of a big deal to ask me to “just” call someone.  I have to have months to do so, and relative few hoops to jump through. It’s upsetting and, depending on my general mental health at the time, can make me sob and be unable to do anything for hours or days.

Phone anxiety (which, for me, is likely a form of social anxiety) is particularly stressful for me because I’ve been unable to successfully Google it. Depression is easier for me to accept – it has a Wikipedia article! I can take little automated quizzes that say 80%* depression-like symptoms, and no you aren’t alone in that, and, no, really, that symptom’s quite common actually! But approaching anxiety attack because I have to dial a phone is really damn hard to deal with. And since I use the Internet as a coping mechanism, being able to find information on anxiety from phone use that isn’t shaming or preachy, telling me to “just get over it and practice!” is invaluable. And I haven’t been able to find that. Which is so very frustrating and lonely.

The impetus for this post: I scheduled a Well Woman exam today by phone, where the gynecologist and I will hopefully get to discuss birth control (the main reason I haven’t done any period blogarounds in a while is the severe cramping and other PMS symptoms making me curl up on my bed and hide from the world every time I shed my uterine lining for the past 6 months, making HBC sound quite appealing) and antidepressants (while I recognize the value of getting a prescription for antidepressants from a psychiatrist, I would have to schedule an appointment with one. See above why this isn’t a good option for me right now.**)

*I have no idea what my percentage of depression-like symptoms happens to be, so I made up this number.

**I’m mostly justifying this to myself, to make it easier for ME to accept that I have barriers and limitations and can’t do everything. In general, any readers who have a problem with my choices for my mental health are encouraged not to inform me of this fact.


7 Responses to “Quick Hit: Phone Anxiety”

  1. Rosemary November 6, 2009 at 6:07 pm #

    I dunno if it helps at all, but I have phone anxiety, too. Not as severe as what you describe, but enough that I can somewhat relate. And I have some friends (all online) who have it as well. It would be nice if there were a specific name for this, and a website devoted to it, etc. But yea, you’re not alone.

  2. niemaodpowiedzi November 7, 2009 at 1:56 am #

    It is very much helpful to have other people relate to this. Like I implied in the post, it’s harder to accept as a limitation on myself if I can’t see others with similar reactions to similar situations, so recognizing the same anxiety in other people is quite helpful.

  3. kirstente November 8, 2009 at 11:17 am #

    I can’t relate directly to the phone anxiety, but I can relate to the odd symptoms no-one else seems to have. I get really bad coughing fits and/or vomiting in the mornings when I’m very stressed. To which my therapist said ‘Wow, that’s weird. I’ve never heard of that before.’

    So you’re not unusual in being unusual. Good luck with getting help.

  4. Timothy U. Help December 3, 2009 at 10:32 am #

    What could I do if my boyfriend has an panic attack? He hasn’t had problems since I met him (4 months from now), in the past he has tolerated a lot due to anxiety, and he still takes medicine. presently nowadays (grad school, looking for a home, etc…) and even though I think he’ll be just fine, he warned me in advanced that , or have an panic attack. What should I do?

  5. niemaodpowiedzi December 3, 2009 at 12:27 pm #

    Honestly, the best answer I can give is to ask him what he needs, and then give it to him to the best of your ability. Panic attacks manifest differently in different people, and people respond differently to stimulus while in the panicked state than when outside the panicked state. For instance, I can’t stand to be touched when approaching a panic attack or for about an hour after, but I normally enjoy physical contact. I also crave ice water after my panic attacks, because of the way I breathe during them.

  6. Jacinda Buchler February 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    Hi. I definitely enjoyed reading your writing!. Very good material. I would have to suggest you to create articles a bit more regularly. By doing this, having such a useful website I think you will probably rank better in the search engines :) . I also subscribed for your Rss. Carry on the good job!

  7. niemaodpowiedzi February 11, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    Thank you for the compliments.

    As far as writing more regularly goes, my somewhat unpredictable mental health and school schedule make it rather difficult to do this, so I will probably continue to post sporadically.

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