Monday, April 30, 2012

Internet Diagnosis

So I've known for a while that I've had an irrational fear of phones.  No matter what I know will happen during a phone call, I just want to avoid it no matter what.  Even when calling my mom at work, which involves asking whoever answers the phone to transfer the call to her, I get all shaky.  As in, my body physically shakes.  For a much longer period of time than the phone call lasts.  Even though I know the procedure and know everything will be okay.

I also haven't answered the home phone in quite many years.  I don't remember why I started ignoring it, but excessive telemarketing was part of it.  The other, more rational reason, is that the phone is never for me.  Me answering the phone is the same as the caller on the other end leaving a voice mail message.  The logic center of my brain tells me that since the two are the same, the act of me answering the home phone is unnecessary.

This might be linked to why I'm still unemployed and why I still live at home with my parents despite being 29 years old.

On a hope that the internet would help me, I popped "shaking when picking up a phone" into Google.  After sifting through the mostly irrelevant results about phone companies "shaking things up", I found one that sounded like it might be what ails me.  Specifically, this page about Social Anxiety Disorder.  I browsed around that site for a while and it really sounds plausible.

Today's episode was brought on by the necessity of getting my car inspected.  In typical fashion, I have put it off until the very last day of the month.  It has to be done before the end of today.  I was going to call the place I usually go to and see what a good time to go there would be.  I was only going to do this because last year when I went in a similar situation a few days before the end of the month I was met with anger that I hadn't called ahead and scheduled or anything.  In the end, they did end up inspecting it, but it wasn't that positive of an experience overall.

My thoughts are going back and forth between "just go down there" and "maybe I should go to the other place just down the road..."

The shaking is what sets in first, but other things shortly follow.  Currently I still feel a bit shaky, but there's also some chest discomfort.  This is two hours after I picked up the phone.  I never even made a call, things had begun setting in before I was able to place the call.  I'm sure there were other things, but they may have gone away by this point.  I am a bit sweaty and the shirt that I'm wearing that's normally large on me doesn't feel large on me.  I've also had a harder time typing than normal while writing this post.

A while back I decided to get a cell phone.  Part of the reason was that my friends were all saying I should get one (peer pressure), and the other reason was to try and combat this fear of phones.  I have no trouble using it, though I only use it rarely because I hardly ever have a need of calling anyone, and I don't have signal at home.

I'm generally fine with social situations, though I am a bit reserved unless I have someone sitting next to me to carry on a conversation with.  I think I actually over-talk in situations like that.  I do experience times where a group of us are loudly voicing their opinions on some issue and they all agree and I disagree.  I generally stay quiet in those situations.  However I've never had much trouble with public performances.  I did piano recitals as a kid, was in the school band from fifth grade through twelfth grade (though I wanted out after eighth grade, nobody would let me quit), and even ran for class treasurer one year of middle school, which involved putting up campaign posters and giving a speech.  When I quit piano and when I tried to quit band, I was accused of "trying to run away" or "stopping when it gets difficult", which probably didn't help my development at all.

I've never really had many friends and have had to rely on special interest groups to obtain them (i.e. the anime club at UVa, which I'm a member of despite not being a UVa student).  That awkward feeling when the age gap between you and your friends gets bigger every year.

These last two paragraphs are to provide extra evidence that may or may not help in an actual diagnosis, but from reading the site I linked a mile above, Social Anxiety Disorder seems to fit my situation.  It might also be related or pertinent that according to the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, I'm an INTJ.

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