I wish it was that simple..

The good news: I sent in my resume to what would be an awesome job. I did not think that anything would come of it and to be quite honest, I kind of forgot about it for a few days. Then today, I had a message from someone wanting to talk to me about the job and I figure maybe an interview.

The bad news: She asked me to call her back.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know how I struggle with calling people on the phone. Oh, how I struggle. I put off having to make phone calls for as long as I possibly can. I make up excuses, I try to find other options to contact people or I just plain don’t do it. Why can I not make phone calls, you ask? It seems like such a simple, ordinary task to most, I know. For me it is different. For me, having Moebius Syndrome comes along with having a speech problem. My speech is kind of hard to understand sometimes. My friend told me tonight that I’m a lot easier to understand than I think I am. I know that that may be true but in my head, it’s not. So phone calls are just a complete no go for me. My greatest fear is that the person on the other end of the phone will answer, I’ll say my part and there will be an awkward silence which inevitably means that they have no idea what I have said and are wondering A) who is calling and what they said and B) what is wrong with them. Oddly enough, most phone calls that I mustered up enough courage to make went okay. Even well sometimes. There are a few times when I am asked to repeat myself but for the most part it’s okay. One phone call that sticks out in my mind happened probably 10 years ago at least. Someone called for my mom. I answered, said that she was out and asked if I could take a message. The woman on the other end of the phone, I don’t know if she asked me something and I was explaining something, that part I don’t remember. All I remember is her exlicity saying in a harsh kind of voice “I can’t understand you”. Like, she outright said it.. Those were her exact words. I was probably 11 or 12 at the time but I remember that phone call like it was yesterday. Maybe that’s where my problem today stems from. Maybe it’s one of the things that contribute to it. I don’t know. All I know is that I’d rather do anything than make phone calls. And the thing is, no one gets it. No one understands this issue. You can’t really, unless you’re in my place. People can tell me all day, just do it. Be strong. You can do it. It’s not a big deal. You’re not that hard to understand. You’ll have to get over it someday. Well, all of these may be true but it doesn’t make it any easier. I wish it was that simple, but the truth is that it’s not. My avoidance of phone calls may sound ridiculous to some, I know. But to me it is a real issue. And a big one at that. If I have to contact someone, I try my hardest to find an email for them. Writing an email is a gazillion times easier than phoning. I love writing anyway so it’s super simple for me to just shoot off an email. Unfortunately, emailing is not always possible, like in this job interview scenario. I have to call this lady back if I have any hope of getting even just an interview. Even leaving a message would be easier than actually having to talk to her because she may listen to the message and think the things that I listed above but I won’t be on the line to experience the awkwardness.

This kind of ties in with my blog post from yesterday about social anxiety. My anxiety both on the phone and in person is based solely on the fear that I will not be understood. How do I change this? I don’t know.. but it needs to change because the stress that it causes is ridiculous. I feel ridiculous writing this post to be honest. I feel like people are reading this rolling their eyes and asking themselves if I am seriously making such a big deal about this. It’s one of the biggest issues in my life right now, honestly. There are a few calls that I need to make but I just can’t bring myself to. It’s terrible and I feel like such a failure at life.

Another one of my friends suggested something called cognitive behavioural therapy. Apparently it makes you address what causes you to have anxiety about the things that cause you anxiety. It makes you address what is causing you to have these thoughts. I thought that this might be a great thing to do.. it might help me immensely. I’m looking into it because I need to do something. This stupid phone phobia needs to end. It will make my life a lot freaking easier. I need to get rid of this social anxiety in general because in the field of work that I’m going into, talking to all different people will just be part of the job. Maybe that will be for the best because the only way things become easier is to do them on a regular basis.

As always if you have any suggestions, comments, advice or anything please feel free to comment!

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3 thoughts on “I wish it was that simple..

  1. Another suggestion…contact Gavin Fouche. I am not 100% positive, but I think he actually talks on the phone for a living; he could be a manager or tech support or something else at Vodacom, too. Regardless, he might have some good practical advice for you also. But, yeah, check into the BCT. It does work.

  2. Kelsey, please don’t feel like a failure! I didn’t have your particular fear, but I had my own debilitating fear to overcome. To describe what caused me fear sounded stupid, but it was real fear & anxiety nonetheless. (I was agoraphobic as a young woman.)

    My therapist encouraged me with something along the lines of cognitive behavioral therapy, & it helped a lot. It is certainly worth a try!

  3. I think that a lot of people suffer from anxiety about talking on the phone. My mother, my sister, brother and myself have the same anxiety issues… even calling a take out restaurant is hard for us!

    I think that everyone has telephone anxiety issues for different reasons; personally I am afraid that 1) I will sound stupid on the phone, not using the right words, or stuttering, etc or 2) that the person on the other end of the phone will be angry that I’ve called, or won’t remember why they called me.

    It’s a terrible feeling. I’m in a job now where I talk on the phone quite frequently. At first it was SO hard. But with each day, and every good conversation it got easier. I still get a pain in my stomach when the phone rings some days, but I answer it.

    Hang in there. And call that lady back! She saw something fabulous in that resume… and you owe it to yourself to call her back and tell her just how fabulous you are!!

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