I have a phobia of using the phone, I’ve had it for as long as I remember.
It’s not the device itself though, it’s just the thought of using it. Conversing by phone is such a stressful experience that I freeze up when the phone rings.
And it’s such a big part of modern life. Everyone wants to call or worse, video conference (for the record: when people FaceTime me, they get a lovely video feed of the roof. Just call normally… or better yet, text).
It’s a socially crippling condition, it makes it very difficult to get by when telecommunications are such an integral part of every aspect of life.
How do I cope with it?
Well, the truth is I really don’t. I do everything in my power to avoid talking on a phone.
All those memes about introverts and phone calls are the reality for me. It’s almost comically cliche but it’s definitely no joke.
It’s affected my job choices and had negative implications in both my professional and private life. I’ve shied away from great career opportunities and lost friends.
You’d think I’d overcome it when I’m forced to deal with it but actually, it gets harder every time. It’s practically a feeling of genuine horror at this point.
If I have to make reservations or enquire about something, I’d rather send an email and wait for a response than pick up the phone.
I’d rather drive for half an hour to ask in person than make a call, even if there’s a high chance of going without or being passed up. I’d rather go without than willingly make a phone call.
I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities, given up on so much, just because the only way to change it was to call a helpline. I’d rather waste money than call about a refund. It’s literally that bad.
When my friends and family call me, I have to choke down that near-overwhelming feeling of pure dread before I pick up the phone. Every. Single. Time.
And honestly, I often fail. Or I avoid it in other ways.
I’ll allow my phone battery die and not charge it deliberately, sometimes for several days at a time.
Leave my phone at home when I leave the house, or in another room so I don’t have time to reach it. Put my phone on silent so I won’t hear it even if I do have it with me.
Pretend I’ve lost it. Yup, I’ll even lie to friends and family just to avoid the possibility of needing to answer the phone.
It’s sad, ridiculous even. I know this, but I just can’t force myself to push past it. Each time it gets more difficult to face, and I feel ashamed and yet, this is what I need to do to preserve my mental health, the anxiety it causes me often gets out of control.
As childish as my methods are, I often need that down time in order to keep my anxiety under control and prevent more severe symptoms like anxious scratching.
And I know people don’t get it. “It’s just a phone call”, “it’s easier”, “it’s quicker to just call”. But for me, it’s not “just” a phone call, it’s definitely not easier and while it almost certainly is quicker, it’s a great deal more stressful.
And no one takes it seriously. They have no idea how much it affects me, how much stress it causes. They find it funny to make me “face my fear” and then inevitably get insulted when I start ignoring calls and making excuses.
About the Creator
Doing my best to keep on keeping on. I’m a quiet guy with a quiet life and I like it that way.
I like spending time with my family, cooking, fantasy fiction, video games, anime and archery.
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