I never answer my phone. I call people back when I have energy or e-mail because two-way phone conversations are physically tiring. Crazy! . . . sounds crazy, even to me. So I assume it sounds crazy to you.
Not wanting to be labeled as “nuts” I usually explain that after 30 years as a psychotherapist, answering my phone knowing that someone is probably calling in crisis, I’ve become phone-phobic.
You understand phobia’s and their hallmark of being irrational. You don’t understand neuroimmune-central nervous system-out-of-wack. Can’t fault you. I don’t understand it. Medical science doesn’t understand it.
Normal stimuli overload my brain circuits and the brains of others who live with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Lyme disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, brain trauma etc. There are a lot of theories but no one really knows why or what to do about it.
Even though I’m a social person by nature all socializing tires me. One or two “events” a week is my limit. Social Events? You are undoubtedly picturing me out-on-the-town, wearing a Dior gown and sipping wine at the opera ( . . . those who know me are picturing me wearing a t-shirt, Levi’s, Crocs and sipping coffee at Starbucks).
Activities that once were pleasurable now create fatigue:
- Going to the movies or lunch with a friend (afterwards I nap for 3 hours)
- Participating in any group activity (afterwards I go to bed early)
- Walking Freddie in the park. (I go the opposite direction when I see others walking their dogs. Walking is taxing enough without interacting with dogs’ humans.)
- Shopping in stores crowded with merchandise. (My brain goes on visual overload)
- Talking on the phone to someone I love. (Yup, two-way conversations take focus and thus energy.)
Since retiring I’ve done phone sessions with clients. The pleasure of hearing their voices, catching up on their lives and the honor of hopefully helping them get back on track far outweigh any fatigue that comes later. I’ve long ago figured out that some things are well worth the consequences of a nap or a few days of inactivity.
Please continue to reach out. I will be honest with you about my options and energy. I don’t want to live as a social recluse. So E-mail me when you want to catch up, share, or get together because I won’t answer the phone . . .
This article prompted me to write this post: Cort Johnson, Social Exhaustion The comments are perhaps even more telling than the article itself.