No Calls, Please!

What It's Like to Be Afraid of Talking on the Phone | The Mighty

What is wrong with me? A typical phrase I have asked myself all my life. Not knowing until I went to counseling and she pinpointed this was shame. All my life, all this time I have lived with shame in one way or another. It makes me sick, more ways than one. As hard as it is to realize this was the cause of so many issues, I still struggle. I’m old.

I am just years from retirement although I do not plan to retire if I can help it. I like working and what I do. If I fall over dead out of my chair, I completed my job. As long as my mind and my body holds out and I can manage the office and keep it running in tip-top shape, I will do so.

Even though, I am near to filling out Medicare paperwork, it means that I have been at this type of position for a long, long time. I have always been in a position of secretary aka office administrator, office manager, legal assistant, etc. I know I can do this and do it well, with years of experience under my belt. I find it fun to organize, to do excel charts is my favorite or whatever else to make the office perform at its best and to make the boss look good. What I do not like are the telephone calls, either receiving or making them.

Phone Avoidance And Avoiding Answering The Door | Avoidant Personality

Now, how could I have managed to do this job for many years but fail in this area? I often wonder myself. I really have to be ready and organized to get the call made, feel confident. It does not come automatic. To answer the phone, I panic within.

Many will never know this of me but I know.

I have managed but I have noticed, too, the older I get, it is worse. Perhaps having an assistant for years to answer the phone and then to transfer to me, knowing who it is and why they are calling, does help. Through this pandemic, I don’t have my assistant. Plus, I had some dental work in January and had a flipper to fill in a missing tooth while healing and managing through the pandemic of my dental office closed. I really had some anxiety of a lisp or actually choking from panic. Even with my new crown, I still suffer from this ordeal. Once I get through the answering or calling, I am fine to talk but I am too old for this. No matter what age, we all have issues and perhaps panic attacks of different situations.

Knowing I dealt with this and knowing, although minor, years ago, I mentioned to my counselor. We did not go indepth of this but a time or two she requested that I call her, perhaps for a scheduling issue, etc. Once I told her no I will not call. I did not want to hear she was rescheduling, I could read it but not hear her, I would be emotional. I would have felt rejected and abandoned. In reading her text, I could feel the same but the silent tears would flow and she would not hear my voice crack from sadness. If I can put off answering or calling, I will.

We have a landline still in our home due to my husband’s work. We had a phone on the main floor and the lower level, his office. I removed the main floor telephone, it is in the cabinet. If you know me well enough, you have my cell phone number and can contact me with that, preferably by text.

It was yesterday, I gave no thought to calling my son, although I texted several times. We were to get together and for me to hang curtains in his new house. My texts were not being replied to and I just could not grasp why. I found myself frustrated with him. I love him to death but why can he not reply was in the back of my mind. Time was getting late and even if he was asleep, normally he would reply, as I know his cell phone is right next to him. Anyway, no curtains were hung.

We went on home, I was done. Stick a fork in me. This child of mine is a nightowl so I know his sleep pattern is all over the place. Once I got home, an hour away, he texted. Asking in a text, why I did not just call him. It was from that question, this blog was born even though I have always wondered why I had such a hate of telephones. I enjoy talking to him and I do not know why I did not think to just call. My husband, with me, did not even suggest or try, which is no surprise. What is wrong with me, again? I missed my son. I felt like such a failure of a mom.

My conclusion was of being rejected, being an annoyance and in the end feeling abandoned. Growing up, I felt that from many occasions so I gave up trying to call others. Not calling or putting forth an effort brought loneliness but I did not like the other feeling much more. I hate telephones.

Perhaps he needs to know about his mom and that she also has anxiety and it will help him understand me. My boys know that my cell phone is open for them to call 24/7 if they need me. When it does ring, I do gulp and wonder if anything is wrong. Fear. I hate that. Usually no issue, thankfully. A relief will come and we continue to talk and I enjoy, sometimes for an hour.

What is funny, while writing this, my sister calls me and she lives hours away, her husband and my brother-in-law has Cancer so I immediately answer and I could not tell if she was crying or laughing. My heart stopped, afraid of bad news. Thankfully, she was laughing as she hit the wrong button. Was it an accident or just to prove my point of fear and anxiety? I survived. They both are doing fine. Relief!

I would never survive in telephone sales. I do love to hear from others and I enjoy talking to our clients that call at the office and I will help them as much as possible and they know that of me. It is just an area in my life that I struggle with and have and probably always will. I found it interesting that there is such a thing of a telephone phobia so I am not the only one. With the information below, I can understand a little more of why I deal with such and perhaps another will also, as it is such a thing for some.

What causes phone phobia?

While performance anxiety is the most common reason for telephone phobia, some people may also develop an irrational fear of telephones because of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD causes the suffer to avoid triggering situations and events, which bring back memories of a past trauma. These include: Full blown panic or anxiety attack. Feeling terror.  

What happened to you if you have Telephonophobia?

Telephonophobia can lead to a variety of physical and mental symptoms both at the thought of making a phone call or receiving one. These include: Full blown panic or anxiety attack. Feeling terror.

Why do I have social anxiety?

People who have an overactive amygdala may have a heightened fear response, causing increased anxiety in social situations. Environment. Social anxiety disorder may be a learned behavior — some people may develop the condition after an unpleasant or embarrassing social situation.

How do I get over my phobia of phone calls? Coping Strategies

  1. Smile. Before making and receiving calls, put a smile on your face. …
  2. Reward yourself. …
  3. Visualize success. …
  4. Ascertain availability. …
  5. Don’t overthink it. …
  6. Prepare. …
  7. Let it go to voicemail. …
  8. Try another communication method.
You will reject me, so I will not call.
I will annoy you, so I will not call.

https://www.verywellmind.com/afraid-making-phone-calls-tips-3024317

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-zesty-self/200905/what-we-get-wrong-about-shame

I’M A PRO

I have noticed that as I get closer to some big events in my life, as in this coming week, I tend to dread, I do anything other than what I need to do, I would do just about anything else. What is worse, I can totally shut down and waste my time with doing nothing. I feel overwhelmed.

I am a BIG PROcrastinator.

Of course, I tell myself I will start soon. Sounds good. I would rather not but I so want this task OVER. This time next week, if I pass, it will all be over. I know to study. I know I should bury my head in my book and endless amount of notes. I know, too, I would rather bury my head in the sand or under a soft blanket and watch Hallmark movies.

I really do hate this character flaw in me. It is like I am throwing an inside, emotional turmoil of a tantrum. As I walked from the kitchen with that much needed, additional cup of coffee today, I realized I was doing it again. Ugh! Still, I don’t want to do it, but I must. I am dreading this coming Friday. I have a busy week ahead, which is overwhelming enough and this weekend would be perfect time to study. I have but could have done more. I have procrastinated for this long-awaited test, thinking once I had a set date and time, I’d hustle and study until I know this information inside and out. What am I doing now? I am writing this blog, which is much more fun. Do you procrastinate?

GO FIGURE…. People often procrastinate because they’re afraid of failing at the tasks that they need to complete. … Furthermore, certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem and low self-confidence, are associated with an increased fear of failure, which makes people who have these traits more likely to procrastinate.

This test will give me a certificate, being a National Certified Phlebotomist. While I want, I don’t really, it is just an accomplishment for me. It is not that I will end my present job but it all came about, like a God-thing; feeling as though I needed this in my back pocket, just in case. One thing about it, if the bottom drops out in our economy, the medical field will always be in need of a Phlebotomist.

I just hope and pray, along in this procrastination, that my brain cells activate and can recall all the information needed to pass this dreaded test. Since starting this class, which as crazy as it was, it was an accelerated class back in 2018. What was I thinking, as I sat among all those young people and questioned what am I doing. It came at a time though, I felt it was to keep my mind occupied due to a loss in my life. I was a mess emotionally but managed to conquer this endeavor, which was not easy and working a full-time job.

The way this all started, was quite exciting but not understanding why. Lord, what are you doing in my life? This was a constant question.

Looking back, as my classes were starting, it was also when my counselor closed her office and that just about put me over the edge and my emotions were all over the place. If you have followed me for long and read my blogs, I share often about her and this incident. Finals for this class was right before Thanksgiving of which I canceled at our home, with our family. Struggling to be thankful and happy plus focus, was more than I could handle. Now feeling anger with it all. Lord, what are you doing in my life?

The process of this chain of events was an up and down battle. Here I am, my last and final step and I am dragging my feet, but kicking and screaming on the way. Still, I ask, Lord, what are you doing in my life?

I know there must be a purpose. One day I will look back and see the path I have been on and read my writing here. Hopefully, smile and perhaps say, Lord, I do see what you have been doing in my life.

This week though, I will be saying, Lord I need your help for whatever you are doing in my life. I have to trust the process and the timing, as I have done in so many areas and years in my life.

Sometimes we all need to be reminded.

Be Still… and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

I will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

I have a plan and a purpose for your life. Jeremiah 29:11

Photo from barbraveling.com

45 Bible Verses for Procrastination

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/procrastination

https://escapethewilderness.com/god-what-are-you-doing-with-my-life/

I now must study. First, I need to ….. just kidding.

I will not procrastinate.

I will not procrastinate.

I will not procrastinate.

Of which I am doing. 😜

Fear!!! I posted this blog. I removed this blog. If you are reading, I re-posted this blog. That has been my week of the ups and downs and ins and outs with this test, many medical tests and my emotions. Good News…. I passed my phlebotomy test. The others, I will find out soon enough, probably another pill and another test.

A Hugless Year

As we are nearing the end of 2020, a year we will never forget, and cannot wait for this all to be over, we cope and keep moving forward.

The holidays are nearing but apprehension is also. Do we meet or don’t we, is the question. Do we have less people or keep it the same and take our chances, is also a question. Trying to buy food and the right amount comes into play, although the grocery store shelves may take care of that decision for us.

I do plan to have just my two sons, daughter-in-law and her parents, that is it. Normally, I would have all of my husband’s family in. While I love them, I am looking forward to a smaller crowd around my table, not tables. I normally would make part of my living room area look like a small cafe with four tables. It works and is nice but so nice not to do, too. Maybe next year. We will take food over to his elderly parents, so they are not in the midst of many. It will all work out and I think everyone understands the circumstances, even though we do not like what is happening.

The holidays are a time of laughter and for me, hugs to and from my sons, especially. I so miss them this year, more than ever. I know that my son and his wife are being very selective due to this virus. I feel my other son is also although he might be enjoying the slower pace of life. He is at the age, that he is busy and the selfish, sad side of me, thinking he is too busy for his mom. I do remember being his age and I was too busy for my parents. Perhaps that old saying, what goes around, comes around. Be Still is my motto. I know that he knows I am here, which was proven in a previous blog, So Far Away.

My oldest son was up last month to drop their dog off for me to watch. Upon arriving and leaving, NO hug. How hard this was for me while trying to keep it together as he pulled out of our driveway to go home, which was emotional. I found myself angry at this virus. I have done so well but this was just so odd to feel as though he was afraid to hug me, protecting me but I also needed to protect him. A blog is floating around in my writings, called, The Bubble.

So I am trying to prepare myself that I will probably not get hugs on Thanksgiving. I said I am trying, that is all I can do. If it was just the chance of hugging and only I would be a risk, then hug me. I will take my chances. Now that we know that nobody is exempt, no matter what age, precaution is warranted. Still, I will try to get through this but knowing I will fall apart when they leave. In that, too, I am preparing for and know that it is okay. I am a mom, moms need hugs.

If this pandemic would have been years earlier, I am unsure how I would have managed. I really don’t think as well as I have, I know so. Thank God in my counseling sessions with my former counselor, we discussed often the need I had for hugs, especially from a few mother figures in my life. While I knew I dealt with this, I never really understood why. Typical thinking of that I did not receive hugs from my mom, that is all. The yearning for the lost love was present within me.

This counselor dug deep within me to pull out the rejection, abandonment and shame, just to name a few. These sessions were not always easy to process but enough that I grasped the whys in my life. To walk in her office for help due to my marriage issues and while we did so, she then stopped and said, “Now let’s deal with you.” I will never forget that day. This was not at all what I was expecting, but she was wise enough to almost see the depths of my soul, it felt like. With no hesitation we continued and in those many, many sessions over the years, layer by layer, she peeled back my hurts. These sessions were not always pleasant.

Abandonment, a major part was exposed. Why did I not know this?To feel abandonment is cruel, almost a torment, screaming quietly, PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ME, to deaf ears around me. As I sat across from her, so many times, I felt she heard my silent screams but making me say, Please Hug Me. This was so hard but became somewhat easier, as I learned to trust her more. Had it not been for her understanding and hugs at times, I don’t know if I would be capable of handling this year.

While she was not a motherly figure to me, as both of us being around the same age with her younger in fact, but I could project that on her at the times. Project, I believe is the right term. No matter, it was helpful, even though painful to pull up those thoughts, feelings and emotions.

So in doing so, years ago, acknowledging the whys within me of those hugs I desperately needed from many, I no longer yearn for now. It is like an escape from jail. Freedom. Don’t get me wrong, I love hugs and really miss receiving and giving, as we all do probably. Right now, it is frowned upon due to the virus. I’m okay with that, until it comes to my sons. I want to hug my sons. I need their hugs, too.

With less visits, they are busy in life, as I am also, but we are all in a different place in life, and I understand. I cannot help but feel that tug of abandonment. Abandonment, even from my own sons. I know though, I cannot linger in that place of feeling abandoned. I feel it, I acknowledge it and I release it. It throws a heavy punch in my gut but it does not stay. They both know I love them and I know they love me.

Will I hug my boys on Thanksgiving upon arriving or leaving and in between when possible? I don’t know. While my oldest is more precautious, my youngest is a hugger so this might be hard for him and I but we will get through this. Often I wonder if I ran into my former counselor in public, who said we could talk and I could have a hug, if that would even happen now. This virus is the pits. If not, I know and I know that she knows I will have to deal with the gut-punch and the emotions, but mostly that I will get back up and continue in this hugless year.

So how are you dealing with less hugs and less togetherness with friends and family this year?

🍂 Before I forget, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. 🍂