Just recently BuzzFeed had a mental health awareness week. I expected it to be about the usual disorders that people talk about but man was I wrong. One of their posts was about Telephonophobia which is a fear of taking/making phone calls. It may sound stupid to some people but it’s a social anxiety that I didn’t realize other people had. Yes, I am admitting that I have telephonophobia. I just never knew it had a name.
When I was younger and my mom wanted either me or my sister to order food or call someone we didn’t know too well (usually a family friend), I would always back out. The thought of being on the phone with a stranger would make me super nervous and my heart would race. My mom would say, "Girl, get over it…blah blah…you're going to have to start making calls someday." Which was true but no one, including me, took the time to address my fear and find out why it sent me into a frenzy. Everyone just thought I was being melodramatic.
Now you may be thinking I'm a spaz and it's just a phone call but it was really serious for me. Let me describe it to you:
I pick up the phone and put it to my ear. My heart drops. As I dial the numbers my hands become clammy and shaky. Once the seven digits are in, my body goes numb. I’m weak at this point but somehow I still manage to hold the phone. I sink deeper and deeper into myself as the phone rings. In my mind I’m just trying to calm myself but at the same time I go through all the possibilities of this conversation I’m about to have. No one answers. I say ‘thank God’, hang up, and runaway.
To this day my telephonophobia (it feels good to say the name) isn't so bad. Now I only get a slight discomfort when I make calls but first I have to decipher whether or not I need to make this phone call. The most recent episode was when I started my new job and they told me I had to answer the phone. I practiced my greeting so many times; my anxiety is gone now.
The only thing that’s bothering me now is the fact that it's still there. No matter how many phone calls I make, it won’t go away. I’m going to look deeper into myself so I can find the root of the issue. But I am glad that BuzzFeed made that post because now I don’t feel so dumb and alone. I have a bittersweet feeling knowing that other people go through this too.
Is there anything that causes you discomfort that may seem minuscule to others? Please share them with me so I don't feel so self-conscious.