Sunday, March 1, 2009

My irrational fear

Ok, I promised I'd expose my own irrational fears here on the blog for y'all to tut at. Here it goes.

I'm scared of a lot of things. Elevators and escalators for one. I personally know someone whose sister tragically dies (as an adult) in an escalator accident. And I've read way too many news reports and watched tv dramatizations of severe injuries and deaths in elevators. Doors jamming, people getting stuck or crushed. It's scary stuff. I'd much prefer to take the stairs any day. Yes, I carry strollers in my arms up and down stairs frequently. Elevators seriously get my blood pressure up, big time.

I'm scared of narrow, winding stair cases, or of being in a tight crowd, like a mob of people trying to get through a line or something.

But my worst fear, which I have to face often, is my fear of the phone.

Ok, not of phones themselves, but of talking on them. I cannot stand it. I'm a nervous person and don't do too good with talking to people, in general. I always stress out and end up saying something really stupid. I mean, comically..stupid. And I'll replay conversations over and over in my head and blush years after, just from the memory.

Also, when I'm in public, talking to an actual person, my brain sort of shuts off the part that stores facts and figures, I dunno as some sort of survival thing. So if I'm talking to say, a nurse, and she conversationally asks me how old my child is, I can't tell her. I just can't find the answer in my head. And I'll hesitate, and stare at the far corner of the room and say something like, "um........well........she......was born in 2004....I'm not great at maths" then I'll do a nervous stupid dorky laugh afterwards, while she'll stare back with bewilderment. I've genuinely had that conversation multiple times. Or if someone at church asks me how long I've lived in Lincoln, "'ve rented a house for a year, and then another for almost a year, so I guess it must be about......almost 2 years".

Because I have to take the tiny bits of information I have access to, and put them together as best as I can to get a picture that I might be able to derive an answer from. And all the while I'm thinking, "please stop talking to me, please find someone more interesting to talk to, I just want to be done talking". Don't get me wrong, I love people, I love having relationships and friendships. I just don't like actually talking to them. hehe. Especially one on one. If there are 5 or 6 people, I'll be in my element, the pressure is taken off and I can have meaningful, fulfilling conversation, and I can contribute and can mostly access the information I need because I'm more calm.

Talking on the phone is like taking this one on one conversation, sticking a magnifying glass on it, then blowing it up 300X and printing it on a billboard. I can't make big stupid gestures to give the illusion of taking the focus off my words. I can't suddenly stare at my kid and hope it will make the other person start talking looking at them too, and stop looking at me. They just talk then they go quiet and they expect me to talk. And my brain completely freezes.

I find myself agreeing to things I don't want to agree to. Or I make up stories for answers, not trying to lie, I just can't find the truth anywhere in my brain so I make up something to get the phone call to end. Like if they say, "were you at the meeting on Saturday?" I might accidentally say, "yes" even if I wasn't. Not intentionally. I just don't know the answer and in my panic all I can recognize is that it's a yes/no question so if I say yes I have a 50% chance of being correct. It's not until the phone call has been over for about 40 mins and I have calmed down, that I can finally look back and realize I goofed up completely.

I can sometimes hear my own voice in my head yelling at me, "no that's not true" or "no you can't make it on Wednesday evening, you have a prior appointment" but those words just can't make it to my mouth. So I agree to things or tell untruths and then have to send Rene to phone them back later and clean up the mess I made. Or else I do it via e-mail.

It's utterly neurotic and dysfunctional, I know. But it's the honest truth. I'm just terrified to talk on the phone.

When the phone rings, my heart starts racing and my stomach ties itself in knots. If I then answer the phone, I pace and pace, my temperature and blood pressure rise and I sweat. The phone is always sopping wet when I'm done. I sometimes have to cry after hanging up, even if it's just the Dr assistant calling to remind me of an appointment. I have to let out some tears afterwards to relieve tension. Talking on the phone is just a chore I genuinely cannot stand to do.

So mostly, I just don't answer. I actually switch the ringer off a lot during the day, when Rene isn't home. I'm usually busy homeschooling or changing poop or breastfeeding anyway so I can't always get to the phone. But even if I could, I probably wouldn't. When he is home and it rings, I hold the phone out and yell for him, "PHONE!" and he comes and answers. We're all weird in our own way, right? Maybe some of us a little more so than others.

Anyway, there. I've borne my soul and exposed my flaws. Maybe you'll want to talk with me about it...via e-mail! ;-)


Herb of Grace said...

Aaack! I am exactly the same way with the phone! And I thought I was the only one... Thankfully there are a few people I can handle a phone conversation with; my sister and a friend or two. The worst thing? I have two home businesses! I have to talk to total strangers on the phone About Money!! All the Time!! I don't even wanna know what my blood pressure is.

allenaim photography and design said...

oh my goodness...oh my goodness...!! I SO get you with the phone thing. My husband does not get it at ALL...but I can't STAND talking on the phone! Last year I read a post somewhere about another blogger that had the same phobia and she had a TON of comments from other bloggers that said the same thing...interesting...

Kinsleys3 said...

That's OK Niecey - we love you anyway! Plus I don't know how you can worry about saying something comically stupid when you are married to the King of No-Tact. Surely he outweighs your comical comments with his own by far!! ;-)
[Disclaimer to those reading who don't know us: We love Rene & are delighted to enjoy all of his comical or stupid tactless comments, just so no one gets the wrong idea from my little 'jab'! ;-) ]