panic and phobias

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panic and phobias

Postby mrsk » Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:41 pm

I get panic attacks and I have a phobia of phone calls (making and receiving) and a phobia of people knocking on the door. It makes things really difficult. Does anyone else get this? Any suggestions on coping strategies etc?
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Re: panic and phobias

Postby Johafa » Sun Oct 26, 2014 1:16 pm

I do get panic attacks but they're mostly related to noise. As for the phone, I have the same problem as you. I am terrified when the phone rings or if I have to make a call and I have no clues why. I used to work in a call center and I was ok, that was 3 years ago. I am interested in getting some advice on how to cope. Thanks for bringing up those subjects as I was sure I was the only one with these issues. Let's find out together what can be done.

Thanks and gentle hugs,
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Re: panic and phobias

Postby FluppyPuffy » Sun Oct 26, 2014 2:41 pm

Popped you over into here mrsk as it's a more suitable board for what you are asking about :cow-wave: :cow-wave: :cow-wave:

This is something that has plagued me for as long as FM has been lurking around in me, so I can really understand how much it can affect you. At my worst, I wouldn't answer the phone at all, would send emails or letters rather than make a phone call, refuse to answer the door at all, and was also quite a long way down the road to not wanting to go out at all, with my only trips out of the house being the essential ones such as appts, plus when we went shopping, altho I had started making excuses to avoid the shopping trips whenever I could.

There were a few things that have helped me improve these issues and help maintain something resembling a kind of balance to things. The first thing was a number of counselling sessions with a CPN {Community Psychiatric Nurse} where we talked thru the reasons behind my behaviour/actions, looked at alternative ways in which they could have been dealt with, and how I might deal with them now. Then these ideas were implemented in a series of tasks/exercises involving making and answering phone calls, as well as venturing out a little further afield, for slightly longer times, and a little more often than I had been. These tasks/exercises/trips always had a little incentive attached to them to help with completing them.

For the phone calls, Caller Display helped as I could see who was actually calling, and if it was a familiar number, could answer it when/if I was capable of doing so. For calls from withheld/unfamiliar numbers, people that I was reluctant to speak to, or wasn't up to answering, leaving the ansaphone on meant I could screen such calls, and call back anyone that had left a message. This is something I still do today, both on the landline any my mobile.

After the sessions with the CPN, I then had a number of CBT~based sessions with a therapist, and one of the areas we covered was this as other issues had arisen which were starting to affect, stir this up again. As well as reviewing and revising the strategies I already had in place, work on other areas help boost the way I dealt with matters, incl these.

The one thing that really boosted me was when DaftDog decided we were the fur~ever huu~mons she wanted to live with. It meant I had to go out of the house, plus being walked by a giant~pawed, floppy~eared ball of fluff meant that people would stop and want to talk to us, which in turn meant I would need to reply when they asked about DaftDog.

All this made me stomach churningly :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: at first, but over time it started reducing as I got into the flow of things and started to rediscover a little bit of self belief/confidence. It has taken me almost 7 years to get to where I currently am, and whilst things are significantly improved on where they had dropped down to, there are times when I get "struck by lightening" and find myself slipping back down into the abyss I had fallen down previously. With a little backtracking tho, it is considerably easier for me now to start pulling myself back up and out again due to the strategies I have in place.

It might be worth talking to your GP about these problems and seeing what help you might be able to access. They may have some suggestions/recommendations for you to try as there is an array of self~help material available, incl book/e~book form, t'interweb based activities that can help lay the base on which you can build techniques that can/will help you with these problems for the longer term.
As a Public Moderator of this forum my opinions/views expressed are personal and are no more valid than those of other members and not necessarily those of UKFibromyalgia.

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Re: panic and phobias

Postby Miichelle » Sun Oct 26, 2014 2:44 pm

I am the same......can rarely answer a phone call....and to make one takes weeks to be able to get in the right place mentally to do it :/
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Re: panic and phobias

Postby Zia2014 » Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:21 pm

I have always, well before FM, hated using the phone. I have no idea why. The only person I ever call for long conversations is my mum, and it takes me quite a while to work up to it. Calling things like the takeaway or garage aren't quite as bad as they are usually short term, but I'd do everything by text/online if I could.

I never answer the landline as it's usually sales. And as for answering the door - I just don't!! They are usually selling too so I just completely ignore it. Tbh if I could never talk to anyone who I don't know, that would be perfect. Sorry, no help there!
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Re: panic and phobias

Postby scoke » Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:12 pm

I've also been reluctant to make phone calls for years - I've tried to rationalise why but there are just certain times and certain calls I can't do? We didn't have a phone in the house till I was 17 ( until then we had to use an aunt's and I was petrified of her) then it was frequently cut off as it wasn't a priority bill and money was short, then, as a teenager I was painfully shy and so was petrified I'd get my friends parents or siblings and wouldn't know what to say. Then a huge setback when I called to speak to an old friend, and her dad quizzed me on who I was - she'd just been killed in a car crash. All these things haven't helped and on top of it all I am going deaf in my right ear and don't hear well and can't concentrate for long calls and really can't hear clearly on speaker phone. I have a few people I will call, if I'm feeling ok and I've found that skype helps me to work out what's being said as I can see their mouths and expressions so a few family members and close friends get calls from me. I also manage to call to sort out bills and insurance but not to book holidays but I do have to work up to most of these - some days it's just not going to happen. My husband hasn't been much help - one thing he's not understanding about and I can get very upset when trying to explain why I just can't make that call. Seems so silly but how reassuring to find others who are experiencing similar things, makes me feel better that I'm not the only one!
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Re: panic and phobias

Postby Helhit » Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:12 pm

A few years ago I had a week of really bad panic attacks and I had to keep the front door locked, just in case someone knocked on it.

I can see know that it was totally irrational, but at the time it was horrendous.

I'm ok with the phone, but had a phase at work of being unable to pick the phone up.

I have had counselling and CBT, both of which have helped.

Panic attacks are horrible things and the sense of fight or flight can make me feel sick.

I do hope you find a way to overcome them.
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Re: panic and phobias

Postby Helhit » Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:22 pm

I forgot to say that what helped me was to know that I'm in control. I don't have to answer the phone nor door if I don't want to. My home was safe for me and I couldn't bear the thought of anyone intruding on it.

Once you realise you are in control of whether you answer or not then the strength comes back.

Take baby steps. Ask someone else if possible to answer until you feel up to it. For me it was having the door locked all the time that helped.
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