June 30, 2020

Life With Chronic Illnesses, a problem

So, I saw my new doctor a couple weeks ago and she sent in a referral for behavioral health to call and set up an appointment for me so I can get back on my mental health meds. Sounds great and all, but there's a serious problem for me.

See, I have this severe phone phobia. Any time I need to use the phone, especially for calls, I have a panic attack. It's been documented by mental health care people. There's a reason my husband makes all my appointments for me, and I do everything online or through text if I can (and even that can cause severe anxiety to the point I'd sometimes don't text people even though it's important).

My husband's cell phone is listed as my primary number because I can't answer calls and listening to my voicemail gives me anxiety. My phone ringing sets off a full-on panic attack with racing heart, sweats, stomach upset, and rapid breathing. The whole shebang. Last Thursday, the behavioral health people must have left a message for my husband on his phone while he was at work about making an appointment.

He sent me a text with the number to call to make the appointment or to go online to the clinic's website to set something else. I obviously can't call because of the anxiety so I look online. Sadly, the online option is to set up a video appointment which is another nope for me. In person are hard enough, but I can handle it. Video calls are still calls and I just can't.

It's now Tuesday, and I still haven't made the very needed appointment. And the longer I go without figuring this out, the worse my guilt and anxiety get. On top of that, I have a followup with my new primary doctor on Thursday, and I'm sure she's going to give me that look when I tell her I didn't make the appointment for my mental health because I'm too crazy to use a freaking phone.

It's such a frustrating anxiety to have. Other anxiety is much more understood and sympathized with. Afraid of heights? Here, let me climb on the ladder to get that for you. Afraid of spiders? Don't worry, I'll kill that bug for you. Anxiety over shopping during a pandemic? Understandable--it's a scary world right now. Afraid to use a phone? What is wrong with you, you weirdo--it's not hard just pick it up and call. Ugh.

Okay, so you might get a little ribbing for those other things, but for the most part, people understand those kind of anxiety. Being afraid to do something as simple as pick up a phone is beyond most people's comprehending. And it causes a lot of problems for me. I've nearly lost jobs because I didn't cal in sick (so did a no-show in stead and luckily had great bosses that accepted my excuse that my phone wasn't working). I haven't' talked to my dad in years because he doesn't do text or email or social media and I don't do phones. I've gone without a lot of healthcare in the past because I couldn't make appointments before I convinced my husband to make them for me. I had tonsillitis for weeks, unmedicated, because I couldn't make the appointment for myself and my husband refused (on grounds I was being absurd and childish for not doing it myself).

It sucks. My life sucks. I don't know how I'm going to make this appointment. Now I also have a ton of anxiety about my upcoming appointment on Thursday and if they start wanting me to do video appointments because of the pandemic, I'm just going to have to go without care again until this is over.

I hate how my brain works. I hate how hard it is all of the time. How hard it is to get help to try and make things better. It's never going to get better this way.

Written by justanotherjen

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