now is a good time to panic

the ring-a-ling of DOOM
29 February 2012, 6:33 pm
Filed under: nonsense, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

My anxiety post was regarding an issue that I don’t often talk about. I received several comments as well as a number of emails about it, and I was surprised at the reactions. I thought maybe I’d do another post (because seriously, I could do nothing but posts about all of my various neuroses and have material for years lol), and see if anyone else identifies with this one, as well.


The telephone.


It’s my sworn enemy.


When I hear it ring, I have a serious physical reaction. My heartbeat goes off the charts, I forget how to breathe, and if I’m already stressed about something, then I start shaking. It’s ridiculous. I only answer it if I already know who is calling. Private or blocked numbers don’t get a second look- call declined. BAM. I will decline that shit so fast it’ll make Flash Gordon look like the last place hurdler in the Special Olympics.* If I’m already on edge, then it doesn’t matter who’s calling, because I’m not accepting that call for love nor money.


My main issue is that I’m afraid that when I’m ready to get off the phone, the other person won’t let me. You can only use the “I have to run because there’s someone at the door/ there’s another call coming in/ my dog is throwing up on the bed again/ my grandmother is on fire” excuses so many times. The worst is when I (feel) have made it clear that I’m ready to end the call and the other person JUST KEEPS TALKING. Insert panic attack here. I feel completely trapped, and about a millimeter away from hyperventilating.


The few phone calls I do accept are typically from people who understand my situation and are not insulted when I say something like “Can we talk about this later? I really need to hang up the phone now.” They understand that I still love them, it’s nothing personal… I just have to go. Allison, my therapist, encourages me to keep trying, and wants me to use phone calls as in vivo practice. That basically means that you stick with something stressful until your anxiety/discomfort levels peak and then begins to lower. The rationale is that you can’t stay at a 10 on the 1-10 scale indefinitely. Your body can’t sustain those levels of distress for long periods of time.


In vivo works for a lot of things. Personally, phone calls aren’t one of them. I’m still trying, as they are a necessary evil, but I realize I need to pull my panties up and be a big girl. I’m 28, and it’s time to join the grownups.



*now that I give that some thought, that doesn’t make much sense; those Special Olympics kids are pretty much the shit at those competitions


1 Comment so far
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You know I have that kind of anxiety! I’m always afraid it’s going to be bad news. For two years the only time my Mom called was when someone was dead or dying. I loathe the phone. Skype and yahoo IM are my way to communicate. I just can’t bring myself to call. I hate feeling tied to a cell phone.

*hugs* Keep trying. That’s all we can do. :D

Comment by Dawn Montgomery

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