CALL ME, MAYBE?
I’m in a bit of a catch 22 situation. You see, my cellphone is my lifeline to the outside world. I use it for everything, everything that is except what a telephone was first invented for; talking on it. Of course we all know that telephones, or cell phones to be more specific are no longer just for making and receiving phone calls, instead today many of us use it to message our friends and family, play games, take selfies, listen to music or follow and update our social media platforms. So with cell phones having so many valuable benefits in making our lives that much easier, tell me then what is the point of actually needing to use it to receive or make a phone call?
We still have a landline in our home and at least once a month for like 5 years now we discuss cancelling it because we never use it. It rings several times a week, yet we never answer it as our caller ID (that’s if I even bother to look at it) tells us that it’s someone looking to clean out our ducts or that someone in our home has skipped a class at school (and since we only have one child left in high school, the process of elimination is pretty simple) or that the IRS is sending out a warrant for our arrest if we don’t pay them the millions of dollars they claim we owe and over time even our friends and family have stopped calling us on our landline.
I know there are times when you need to actually pick up the phone to speak with another human being and that it’s a lot more intimate when doing so as well as faster than texting someone. I also know that sometimes you are not able to text someone if you need to book an appointment or you are driving home from work and just want to catch up with a friend while you crawl through traffic, but you see, making and receiving phone calls causes me severe anxiety and panic (okay, to be fair, everything causes me severe anxiety and panic including having to send a text message to anyone).
But guess what? I’m not alone in my hesitation of having any direct contact over the phone with another human being. When my phone rings my anxiety level reaches new heights thinking that something is wrong with one of my kids or husband (unless they are all tucked into bed) and if I see from my caller ID that it is actually one of them calling, my anxiety turns to immediate panic. Ask any of them what the first words are out of my mouth when I answer the phone, I will give you a hint, it’s not hello! They will instantly answer that question by telling you that my immediate knee jerk reaction is to say “what’s wrong?” Not to worry though, they rarely call me unless they really need something, otherwise they know it’s best to text me.
To many of you reading this I’m sure you are thinking WTH? How could talking on the phone cause someone severe anxiety or even panic? Well I wish I understood more about all the crazy shit my illness causes me to do but for now just take my word for it because the symptoms are real, just as real as when I have to send out a text message or even when I receive them. The shaking, the nausea, the heart palpitations, the racing thoughts are all real and even somewhat terrifying as the anticipation, reluctance and expectations that come along with it have also affected many relationships in my life.
Even something as simple as making a phone call to a stranger or having to call and make an appointment at a doctor’s office can take days for me to complete such a simple task. I put it in my calendar on my phone as a reminder that I have to make the call and after moving the reminder over to the next day hoping that it will get easier as time goes by, I suddenly realize a week or two has gone by and I have yet to be able to complete the task.
Technology today has allowed us many more conveniences in life but at the same time it has also created many more avoidances too. It’s so easy nowadays to shut off from the world with the touch of an off button, a mute button or by simply just dropping your cell phone in your purse at the end of a long work day and not retrieving it again until the next morning. Until a few years ago I loved to talk on the phone but convenience, avoidance and severe anxiety seem to be my way to dodge the awkward silence, the disapproval or judgment in one’s voice and come on, who here really wouldn’t prefer receiving a funny meme or a cute emoji anyway?