My Motto: Don’t call me. I won’t call you.

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. 

Acrylic on Canvas, by moi
Acrylic on Canvas, by moi

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 . . .  

Hammy Hamster sez: "Nuts?, Did I hear NUTS!)
Hammy Hamster sez:
“Nuts?, Did I hear NUTS!)

This article prompted me to write this post: Cort Johnson, Social Exhaustion The comments are perhaps even more telling than the article itself.

17 thoughts on “My Motto: Don’t call me. I won’t call you.

  1. I stopped by from SOC and really enjoyed learning from you. I have a friend diagnosed with fibro and it’s painful for her. She tells me there’s no cure, no quick relief, no pill to take. I hope you live to see the day medical science finds a cure, or at least a deterrent for this disorder.

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    1. Bleubeard & Elizabeth,
      Thank you for taking your time to comment. It’s really nice when my own friends get a bit of understanding about this condition. Because it is invisible to the “naked eye” it’s hard for others – it’s even hard for me – to fully grasp the experience and the limitations it imposes.

      There is a lot of research going on right now and hopefully one day science will be able to treat the tens of millions of people around the world who have these types of conditions.

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  2. Although, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, sorry to hear another has similar experience — I can share my reaction — Whew, I am so glad to know I am not the only one! 😦

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    1. Tracy,
      It’s always comforting to know I’m not alone and at the same time sad there are so many others who experience similar feelings and behavior. Thanks for taking your time to comment!

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  3. Oh sweetie, I thought I was the only one who was nuts. After working so many years in new homes and on the phone constantly, I became phone phobic after leaving. Now with the fatigue that sets in after minimal human interaction I find I’m becoming more of a recluse. Thank you for this. I thought I was the only one.

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  4. So sorry to learn about this aspect of your health. At least you’ve found a way of working around it so that you’re able to interact and remain social on your terms. I guess this means that every other Monday night, you’re collapsing as you walk through your door about 9 PM. I will be more aware next time, speak more softly, and ditch the stick.

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  5. After reading your blog I hope our 2 hr phone session didn’t put you in bed afterwards. I am finding I identify with your explanation of nagging pain being tiring. I feel better knowing it’s not just me & thinking I have a myalgia condition especially when the barometric pressure changes, like this week with heat & humidity. It’s a dull headache & body ache more in damaged muscle & joints. I just lay low & chalk up to being 74. 😝 Do hope you are doing better w more flexible schedule & more time to rest. I miss you lots. 💕

    Sent from my iPhone Linda

    >

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    1. Linda,
      It was wonderful talking to you and no I didn’t end up in bed! With trauma – particularly auto accidents . . . sound familiar? – people can and do develop myagia in various forms. It’s not just aging and it’s not psychological.
      xxxx
      j.

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