Saturday, February 20, 2010

Telephonophobia Top Ten tips for kind people

1) I suffer badly from telephonophobia and most people treat it as a joke, although other phobias are often respected and generally treated by society with the utmost sympathy. (2) If someone put a spider on the head of someone who had arachnophobia, it would be considered cruelty. (3) I have a large family and circle of friends, some of whom are ill and old, and I have three children and five grandchildren, so obviously I must have a phone in case of emergency; therefore I have a landline phone -- and also a mobile phone, which to me is like carrying a poisonous snake in my pocket. Both phones cost me a great deal of money, but are necessary, even given my lifelong fear of telephone conversations. (4) For years I have repeatedly told everyone in my life that I am telephonophobic, yet they keep phoning me (up to six times a week, or even many more), or leaving messages asking me to reply by phone. (5) This is fucking unfair. (6) Telephonophobia has made my life as an accomplished and very capable journalist, bookseller and public relations consultant close to hell, and employment a nightmare. It affects my chances of gaining employment, so I have often worked as a gardener or cleaning toilets in a factory, and so on. (7) In my experience, medicos, and websites, do not offer treatments that work. So please don't send me website links -- I can google very well on my own, thank you very much. (8) Are you a telephonophobiac, or do you know any? Do you respect their quirk, or illness, whichever it might be? (9) If you think someone you know has a phobia of phone conversations, will you please treat them as kindly as you would any person with any other illness or disability? (10) Not everybody in the world is just like you or me. We must learn to accept the fact. Please do not put spider telephones in the faces of telephonophobiacs. And kindly spread the word. Some of us in this world are very capable, but have a disability.

Thank you for reading (and emailing wilsonsalmanac [AT], or messaging on Facebook -- because I am a very diligent correspondent at most times -- but also I thank you for not phoning me nor putting spiders in my hair).

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Anonymous James Wilson, Surrey, UK said...

I've suffered with this for years - it's a total f'ing bind! It's one of those problems that you think you're the only one having to deal with it. I do find it helps to read that others suffer with it as well though. Reminds me that I'm not the only one with a permanent knot of anxiety in his stomach!

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently had to quit my successful client facing job because i couldn't handle the stress caused by the fact that i was hiding avoiding speaking to clients on the phone only contacting them by email. Very upsetting as it was a good job, nice people etc but how do you tell your employer or colleagues and expect them to understand? Even to me it sounds ridiculous. I'm a very capable person in all other areas of life i'm shy but i can cope with that however the anxiety i get from this is ruining an otherwise very happy life. Any ideas??

7:55 PM  
Blogger Pip said...

It's tough, isn't it? I'm sorry ... if I had any ideas I'd have my own problem solved. I'm trying to explain to everyone I know what this phobia is, and bit by bit, most people are starting to respect it. But it ain't easy. Good luck. Pip

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was so relieved to find that other people have this phobia and I wasn't the only one. I never answer my cell phone unless it's my children or my husband. I look at it ringing and get scared to answer it, even though it is most of the time family and friends. I get so frustrated when they either do not leave a message or they leave a cryptic message so that I have to respond by calling them. When I do have to make a call, it is an absolute relief when the voicemail picks up, and I make sure I address everything during the message so that they don't have to call back. I know when it started happening, but I can't seem to get any better with it. It can take days for me to build up the courage to make a call that I have to make, no matter how routine. I have my husband call for anything I can possibly get away with so I don't have to. People have gotten so angry with me and take it personally even though I try to explain that it has nothing to do with them. I can't see it getting better, and I feel stupid for it, but thank God technology allows me to do most things by email and texts. I am in sales and have no problem with people in person, and have a happy home life. I hope that blogs like this raise awareness about this phobia-

1:45 AM  

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