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Phone Phobia

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Old 10-23-2003, 06:52 AM   #1
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Redhead23 HB User
Question Phone Phobia

Have also posted this on the ADD board as I've read elsewhere that this is common with ADHD/Aspergers and similar problems but I'm sure this has to be something that some people with out ADD/AS have as well:

Anyone else got a problem talking on the phone, especially RINGING people?

I mean I have trouble approaching people and asking for help/information/assistance face to face but on the phone I am even worse!

This is something I've had huge meltdowns over as a kid, I am just petrified of talking to people on the phone and even more terrified of RINGING someone up (to the point of breaking down in tears as a kid when my Mum tried to encourage me to do so), and to this day it is nigh-on impossible for me to ring ANYONE (even a takeaway or a taxi) unless I know I am asolutely ALONE in the room and nobody is listening in.

I'm OK-ish taking calls these days but "can't" ring people unless I ABSOLUTELY have to, I'm OK nowadays ringing very close friends (of which I don't have many!), my parents and my boyfriend but preferably on their mobile because not knowing who is going to pick up the phone (being afraid of mistaking the person or not knowing who I'm talking to) just TOTALLY freaks me out! When I do ring anyone other than that then I keep stuttering, getting stuff wrong, my mind goes blank and I feel like a total idiot!

I've read on an Aspergers/ADHD forum that this is VERY common in autism spectrum disorders, especially for Aspergers it is apparently common to have problems with audio perception anyway (I have slight problems with audio perception but I can understand what peoplesay on the phone without a problem so that isn't it).

What's weird is though how I NORMALLY struggle interpreting visual clues when face to face (as well as toen of voice etc.) so why the heck am I struggling SO MUCH MORE when I DON'T have to deal with that?

This is really doing my head in and complicating my attempts at finding someone to help me/diagnose me, I've written hundreds of Emails that haven't been answered and everyone tells me to RING a self-help group and ask if they can tell me more about diagnosis in adults, but how the heck CAN I when I'm scared even to ring a close friend?

Anyone else as pathetic as that?


Female, 25

Quit smoking & left abusive relationship in 2003 - now there's just some 25 lbs to lose and my head to clear!

Possible ADD

Anxiety, panic attacks
25, female, AS with attentional dysfunction

Inhibited Perfectionist

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Old 10-23-2003, 10:59 AM   #2
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Janik HB User

Yeah, I used to be that pathetic. Especially since I have an accent and I was afraid people would notice. But even automated answering systems freaked me out, I was always afraid of missing the correct option and punching the wrong number. It took me forever to activate my credit cards, for example. Part of my exposure therapy was calling 1-800 numbers. If you find the right therapist this can be very helpful.

Old 10-23-2003, 11:26 AM   #3
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Graciecat HB UserGraciecat HB User

Talking on the phone used to really get to me too.
I didn't like answering it, but having to make a call was the worst.
I used to be the same way about going into the store...what if I couldn't find what I was looking for and a salesperson asked if they could help me...I was scared that I'd stammer or trip over my words and make myself look like a fool.
I started to 'rehearse' phone calls...I'd go over and over in my head what I wanted to say before I made the call.
That sort of worked, but not good enough.
So I started to write down exactly what I wanted to say and would read what I had written when I had to make a call.
That really seemed to help me, after a while I noticed that I wasn't even reading what I had written, I was carrying on the conversation all on my own.

Old 10-23-2003, 01:27 PM   #4
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hry33 HB Userhry33 HB User

some anxiety sufferers cant use the phone at all
some run from the room when the phone rings

agree that practising in advance and writing down what you want to say helps

basicly the other person isnt passing judgement on you when you are on the phone
Life is not a dress rehearsal

Old 10-24-2003, 12:26 AM   #5
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Redhead23 HB User

Thanks for the suggestions everyone, very helpful - I do keep going over the possible conversation in my head over & over again (not just phone, also when I know in advance that I HAVE to go and ask for help or information at a store) but I'll have to give writing it down a try
25, female, AS with attentional dysfunction

Inhibited Perfectionist

Old 10-24-2003, 10:50 AM   #6
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franjava22 HB User

This is so ME!!!!!!! I hate talking on the phone. I can't make calls and I'm not too thrilled about taking them either. When I am on the phone, I tend to pace a lot. It drives my husband nutty (especially because he can't walk and talk at the same time. Even on the cell, he stands still most of the time!) I wait til the last minute to make important calls and obsess with the worst case scenario. I'm acutally relieved when I get an automated system or an answering machine. I feel so incompetent sometimes! :-(

Old 10-24-2003, 03:32 PM   #7
Shy One
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Shy One HB User

Phones make me nervous too. I hardly ever use the phone. I suffer from social anxiety disorder like majorly and it seems to be even worse on the phone. I don't know why...

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