Today I had a bit of a meltdown. To be honest, I’m still in the middle of it. But because writing usually helps calm me down, I’m hoping writing about why it happened may help. It all happened because I need to make a phonecall.
Yup, a simple phonecall.
To a government agency. On behalf of my kids. I won’t say more about why I need to make it as I don’t like writing too much about my kids. But I’m afraid it’s one I need to make and it’s not going to go away.
How I know about it is that I asked a question on a Facebook support group for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and was given this phone number. And assured that the person I needed to call would be sympathetic. That they would understand, and that I would receive the help I need.
The last time I phoned a government official, also seeking help with my kids, also to a ‘lovely’ person who was ‘understanding’ I got ( in my mind maybe, or through a miscommunication) screamed at. Ok, maybe not screamed. But she definitely raised her voice.
Maybe that experience has influenced how I’m reacting today. Or maybe if I’d never had that interaction, it wouldn’t have mattered.
Because phone calls freak me out. Not so much receiving them, though that’s also hard. But making them. Picking up the phone. Especially if it’s important. And especially if it’s someone I’ve never phoned before.
I can now actually phone to make an order from my local Chinese takeaway (literally behind my house) without breaking out in a sweat. Because we always order the exact same things. And I can order coal. Again, exact same order every month. I know the words to use, I’ve used them before. I have a script.
But phoning people for the first time, or to discuss something different to usual is so much harder. I do prepare a script. Not written down, but I go over ‘my end of the conversation’, over and over in my mind till I’m sure of what I need to say. The same way I do when I have a face-to-face meeting.
But it’s so much harder than face to face. I find it hard to understand what people are saying. I’m not hard of hearing, but often need to ask them to repeat themselves. I also apparently have a ‘funny’ accent. I’ve been mistaken for a child pulling a prank.
But it’s more than that. It’s a weird type of dread that I can’t even explain.
So, I’m sitting here crying because I can’t make a simple phonecall.
And wishing more government agencies, more doctors, more school staff, had and responded to emails. Or texts. Or online forms. Or ‘instant chat’. These forms of communication have made my life so much easier when it comes to interacting with customer service from various private companies. Why can’t public services follow suit.
Why, oh why, are there not more options?
Feeling a bit better. But still can’t make that damn phonecall.
Will try again later.
[image of a black icon depicting a telephone handle, with black concave lines eminating from it to represent sound waves.]