Sunday, November 6, 2011

Telephonophobia

This is stupid.
The fear of telephone.

But to a certain extend, I fear that I fear telephones.
It's not like I cry or start hyperventilating every time the phone rings....but my stress level rises up, myhands gets sweaty and my heart beats faster.
I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate the telephone.

It wasn't always like that. I mean, I never was much of a talker on the phone and didn't call people often, but lately I have realized that I get mild anxiety attacks every time the phone rings.

It's not so much when i'm calling. Because I know who I am calling.
But If i am calling a service number, without knowing who will be answering, I get reluctant and anxious to call.
Usually I would resort to asking my mom or sister to call the number for me.
"I wanna order pizza....oh you do it! call them for me, i gotta go do something" is usually what would happen.
Or thank gawd for online ordering!
If I have to call a company, i always go online to check if they don't offer "chatting" with one of them employee....this way I don't have to call them.
If they don't have that option, it usually takes me a few minutes with lots of convincing in order to pick up the phone and call the number...where i usually end up being stress the whole time of the conversation.
Then I hang up and realize I forgot to ask an important question or to give them an important informations, but i'm too nervous to call back and usually just think "I'll be ok, i don't need to know, maybe i'll find the answer on google" or "If they want to know, they will call back."

But having the phone ringing is WORSE! yes, all in capital letters!
Luckily, I got caller ID on my phone and voice mail...that helps, but not nearly enough.
When the phone rings, it creates a small anxiety attack, specially if I don't know who is calling...or if it's someone that don't usually call me.
Why are they call me? who is calling me?
Usually the phone rings for a while before I pick it up....thus missing the call 50% of the time, and listening to the message on my voice mail.

In my every day life, I don't feel like it is causing me problems. But in my work life....it is difficult.
Even if we have a receptionist at work, sometimes I need to answer the phone.
Since working in a funeral home, we can't let the phone ring more then twice...so this is a challenge for me. I only got 2 rings to gather my courage up and pick up the phone, not knowing who is calling and why they are calling.
If we get a death call (a call informing us that someone passed away), i have to ask questions to the person calling....but it always results in me forgetting to ask some of the questions, even if I have a list of all the questions and information I need to ask in front of me.  I get nervous because I didn't hear their name properly, or they are emotional on the other side, making me nervous to ask questions, or they are talking too much and I lose track of where we are. Or they are talking too fast and i'm to scared to have them repeat 3-4 times because I didn't understand what they said.
Then there is the fear of not knowing if the person calling will be speaking in french or english. I gotta switch my brain back and forth for that. Even if i consider myself fluent and I have been speaking both languages daily for 12 years...it still stressed me out when i'm on the phone.
And then, twice a wekk i'm on call...which means, the work phone is being transfer on to the company's cell phone, and I have that phone with me and I must answer the phone at all time.
This is probably the worse days of my weeks.
I stay at home with the phone in my hand, not doing anything, not having music or tv on, in the fear of missing a call. I usually have a pen and paper beside me, to take notes if the phone rings.
At night, I wake up every hour to check the phone to make usre I didn't miss a call.
During the day if the phone doesn't ring, I check the phone every 15 minutes, just to make sure it is still on.
I call the funeral home, just to make sure I transfered the calls properly onto that cell phone.
When someone calls, I get nervous, my mind blanks when they ask questions. I panik if I don't have the answer.
It's a mess really.
I hate phones!

The only time I am not nervous about phones is if it's my sister or mom calling, or if I have to call them.
Because I know it's them, and I know that there wont be akward silences (usually my sister says :I got nothing else to talk about. So i'm hanging up, bye")
Even if I have to call my friend, it takes me a while to dial their numbers. What if I am disturbing them. What if they are not in the mood to talk, or they are about to leave. What if they are not home and someone else picks up.

All these are stupid. I am aware of that.
I don't know why I am so scared.
It's just a telephone. It's not gonna eat me, or hurt me.
I'm not puting my life in danger when I answer a call.....
So why am I so scared of it.
If I could see who I was talking too...maybe it wouldn't be so hard.

Hi, I'm Marie and I am a Telephonophobic.
Just don't call me...I probably won't answer.

I'm working on it. Like I said, I got caller ID on my phone. So i know who is calling, if i don't recognized the number, I let it go to my voicemail.
At work, I try to answer the phone whenever it rings...usually once a day I can do it.
I also started calling other people, like the hospitals or churches.
I have to do that, it's part of my job. I need to be able to answer the phone in a calm manner, and to be abel to call people in order to book the receptions, churches, cemeteries...ect.
I'm working on it slowly....but I still HATE being on call (like i am today)
The phone is in my hand as I am typing this blog....how crazy is that?

Here's what wiki has to say : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_phobia

2 comments:

Gavy said...

Great post--and something I can really identify with!
I have been working on it too, since I have to call media desks to follow up on press releases for the WCSC. As the PR Coordinator it's my job to contact people. But I just can't function on the phone unless I read off a script--I write down my greeting, my name, my contact info, my message--everything.
It'll get easier for you as you work on it--this isn't a stupid fear and there are a lot of people who deal with it on a daily basis. Irrational fear? Yes. Stupid? No. Telephones are not a natural way to talk!

Lindsay said...

I feel that at times. I hate answering the phone at work...I always screw up talking on it too XD