Phone calls? Yes phone calls. People reading this who do not have social anxiety are saying “What?”
Yes, a phone call is a definite social interaction that can cause a person with social anxiety a lot of trauma.
Sometimes we will suffer the consequences of not calling. If something is broken, we might just duct tape the damn thing together. LOL
A call to a close friend or boyfriend can be comforting but family members, doctor’d offices, the bank, your daughter’s school (a big one for me), customer service, the pharmacy (to get those anxiety meds) etc, is a terrifying thing.
The more confrontational the call, the worse. But even a call to clarify something is so terrifying to me that I will do anything to avoid it.
What is the worst that could happen? Hmmmm. Let me think.
I will sound like a complete basket case to my child’s school and they will become suspicious of problems in the home.
I will sound so nervous on the phone with the pharmacist that they will call my doctor to make question the legitimacy of the pain med prescription.
I will become so confused trying to ask a simple question (because that part of my brain has been shut down from anxiety) that they will take it the wrong way and it will make the situation worse.
I will become frustrated with myself as I stumble for the words and the person will think I am an angry or a rude customer.
So on , and so on. These are the fears in my head before I ever make the call.
Grantide, some of them seem exaggerated. But that is what I envision will happen when I make the call. I fear that the person will misinterpret me and get mad. Or…
I fear the person will see the true mental issues that I have. I do not want them to see. It is supposed to be kept hidden in a little box and tucked away.
God forbid it is a confrontational call, like questioning a charge on a credit card. I usually will just eat the $25.00 because the anxiety attack is not worth that amount of money.
Then there are the family and friend calls inviting you to do things that you hate to do because you know you will be triggered at those activities.
It is so difficult to explain to them the real reason. They often will not understand at all or tell you this one is so important that you will have to deal with it.
Solutions? Well I have a few that can help once in a while. If you have any others, please leave them in the comments for the readers to try.
1. Write things down before you call.
ex: If you are calling the doctor’s office to schedule an appt., have your schedule in front of you, a reason for the visit that you are willing to say over the phone, your insurance info, your phone number written down (the anxiety has caused me to draw a blank on my own phone no. and then things get worse) and any other info that they will need.
2. Choose the person you speak to.
Find out when the person who is the easiest for you to speak to is working and call then. As for them directly.
You can say, “I was already working with Brenda. May I speak to her?” or
“Brenda is familiar with my records…”
3. Hang up and call back right away.
If it is a big company, like Comcast , try this. If you are really drowning or picking up a lot of tension from the representative, hang up and call back. You will most likely get a completely different person.
4. Hang up and call back after the shift change.
Shifts usually run 7am – 3pm and 3pm – 11pm. Take a guess and call when the person you already spoke to (and flubbed it or they were rude) has gone home.
5. Have an out.
Have an excuse to get off the phone. Then yell into your empty apartment “OKay honey, I’ll be right there!”
Tell the phone person “I am sorry but my daughter is having a situation. I will have to call back later.” and hang up
6. Choose your calling location carefully.
I feel self conscious enough on the phone. It is worse if I have an audience. I try to call alone, even if I have to go sit in my car.
7. Take your meds first.
LOL Just kidding
Or am I?
8. See if whatever it is can be done online.
Thank God for the internet.
7. Have someone call for you !!! 🙂
That’s what friends are for LOL
So, that’s what I could come up with. The writing things down on a piece of paper , really works for me. I try to anticipate what they will ask and write the answers down and have it right in front of me. I also have a pen ready (or two because mine will run out and cause me an anxiety attack)
Feel free to put other ideas in the comments. Maybe we can help each other.