Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.

Telephone avoidance. Help please.

(11 Posts)
acrabadabra Wed 26-Feb-14 22:09:20

I am fairly open with my family and friends with regards my avoidance of using the phone. I've never been good with it and when I do use it I keep it very brief.

However, it is now becoming very problematic. I don't know what to do to change it. Just thinking about having to phone a plumber or a client fills me with dread.

I currently take 20mg of citalopram and have been taking it for about 6 months. Originally prescribed for anxiety/depression brought on by the death of my dmum. I've never mentioned my phone thing to my gp as it never occurred to me. But I need to do something as it is starting to worry me. If I had to call someone urgently right now I don't think I could. I could text or email (using my phone strangely) but picking up the phone and speaking to someone. No. I have to work up to it. And that could take a long time.

acrabadabra Wed 26-Feb-14 22:53:40

No one?

wanderings Wed 26-Feb-14 23:00:48

I had this same issue as a teenager; I got over it out of necessity.
My fear was always that I would clam up and not know what to say.

For "practice", try making a call which is not urgent; call to find out something you don't really need, such as train times, opening times of a shop.

When it's a call you really need to make, this can increase the anxiety, so that's why I would suggest trying non-urgent calls to begin with.

I found it reassuring to be in a room with someone who is using the phone frequently, especially for business use, because then got more of an idea how it was done; I heard the ways they dealt with things, and thought "I could say that".

violetsrblue Wed 26-Feb-14 23:01:42

I've been like this with the phone, still am a bit. The only way I could get through it, was to force myself to make that call. It got much worse when I avoided it. Calming things I would do when I was on the phone, would be to walk around, rub my belly slowly, or stare at a candle flame, Do whatever it takes! The other person can't see you.

kazzawazzawoo Wed 26-Feb-14 23:03:00

I really struggle with this too. The only person who knows isn't dh and I don't think he understands. I don't understand tbh. I went back to work last year and I have to use the phone, but I will email rather than phone whenever possible and at home still avoid making phone calls. I find it nigh on impossible to call to make a gp appointment.

Do you know how it started?

Sorry I can't be of more help, but I do understand. I have depression and anxiety problems too.

kazzawazzawoo Wed 26-Feb-14 23:03:51

Sorry: the only person who knows IS dh.

SilverStars Thu 27-Feb-14 00:00:45

Guess practically you can text your dh and get them to make an imp call for you currently, if important?

AgentZigzag Thu 27-Feb-14 00:01:28

I don't avoid using the phone, but I can understand what you're saying.

I hate it because it's so fast moving and you don't have the benefit of all the other cues you'd normally have talking face to face, maybe telling you how the other person's taking what you're saying.

But writing on here/texting is much more in control, you can read/re-read, you don't have to post it, and it's not important (in the same way a work related call would be).

It doesn't matter if you stray out of any roles, but a business call has to run along certain lines and that can be a bit alarming. You can end up spending time thinking about your anxiety when you should be thinking about what you're saying, which you think the other person is picking up on, which can make it feel even more awkward! (I get this vicious circle talking face to face <shudder> and avoid people at all costs grin)

My advice would be to call some people who know you very well, stay on the phone to them for 30 seconds to a minute and build it up from there. Take your time, you could try this for a few weeks before moving on to the next stage, but it's making calls that don't matter so you can see that you can come out the other side alive smile

My heart starts beating faster when I start a call, I can totally see why that might get OTT and out of perspective.

VelvetDuvet Thu 27-Feb-14 00:10:39

Make some notes before you make the call and have your opening line ready. The more calls you make, the better you'll get. Do you make your own appointments at the GP?

LastingLight Thu 27-Feb-14 10:39:05

Phone avoidance is a depression symptom for me, it's a red flag that I'm sliding into an episode. A tactic that helped me overcome it is to write down everything I want to say. Even for stupid things like making a dr's appointment I would write down that I want to see dr so-and-so and I'm available at these times. That way if my mind went blank through anxiety I would have a reminder of what I wanted to say.

incywincyspideragain Fri 28-Feb-14 20:34:54

I have this! until reading mumsnet I thought it was just me and really weird.
I have it all the time and echo the comment about writing everything down, its the planned conversations that are the worse, I will sometimes not answer phones letting them go to voicemail as its easier.
Making and taking calls are different for me - when I'm struggling I focus on answering the phone when it rings, dh is the only one who knows and he may randomly call me (on my mobile so I know its him) so I can try and answer and then I work up from there. I practise the conversation before I call too - the more I make the easier it is but once I'm out of the habit the anxiety is hard.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now