It’s Friday afternoon and the weekend is here. My friends are annoyed that I don’t keep in better touch with them. Fair statement.
I am scared to answer the phone.
There, I said it. To all the people in my life who get annoyed when I don’t pick up, don’t always return calls and hardly ever reach out by phone, now you know. Is it rational? Of course not, but when has that every stopped me?
The phone is a necessary tool for communication, I get that. It's miraculous and just keeps getting more and more miraculous with every smartphone incarnation.
The fact is, I don’t care how smart the damn things are, they scare me. I am still intimidated when it rings (or in my case, plays the theme from the A Team) demanding my attention. I have a real phobia about answering the phone and I have to strategize my way through it every single time. I rarely pick up the first time around. Usually, I wait for the little message icon to show up in the upper left side of my screen and then take a little longer to determine if I am capable of listening to the message at that time. The deciding factor usually comes when the phobia of seeing the little message icon outweighs the phobia of not answering the phone.
All kinds of deep seeded anxieties are at play here and we are only scratching the surface. To be fair, my phone phobia really has nothing to do with the phone. I think it might be because I don’t like being caught off guard. I am a very jumpy person. In my last post, I described how I definitely do not go with the flow. This is a prime example of how I need to try and control my every interaction with people, especially those closest to me. I have no idea why. I definitely love my friends and family and most definitely want to be included in the lives, but the phone is both my conduit and my barrier to the outside world.
Here’s how this usually plays out. Inevitably what happens is that I am bummed that no one wants to hang out with me. I sulk and feel alone and unloved. One of my friends calls to invite me out. I do not pick up the phone. I have a panic attack. Then I calm down. Then I have a panic attack again when I realize that everyone is hanging out without me. If that isn’t bad enough, then I log into Facebook and see photos of my friends hanging out without me and laughing and enjoying themselves because I am not there. I have another panic attack.
It a vicious circle that keeps me awake at night. Anxiety is my gift that keeps on giving because as I sit here typing this post, you may be trying to call me and I see you on call display. There must be a 12 step program for this, but for now, I love you, but I am not picking up.