Autism: Phone Calls

11 Dec

The phone rang twice today, and both times I panicked. I didn’t answer it, of course, there are too many variables, to many unknowns in answering a ringing phone. So I let it go to the answering machine, as I so often do. I have to be in a really good place – that, or expecting a call which must be answered – to pick up before it gets to that place.

I stood shaking in the hallway, counting the rings, and wondering; fearing, that I would have to pick up. If it was my mom, or brother, the fear would be that it was news on my grandmother – and it wasn’t good. If it was anyone else… I really did not want to answer that phone.

But it rang, and the answering machine picked up, and I quickly determined that I would indeed have to answer. It was disability calling.

Had I left it completely for the machine, I know from experience that I would have had to spend much of the rest of the day trying to call them back. That is even more stressful than answering would be, so I answered.

Good news, I guess. They should have my answer on eligibility in less than five weeks – so much better than the six months they gave me last time I talked to them. Good news, I guess. It isn’t an answer, but at least I know one is coming soon.

Good news, I guess, but hanging up the phone did nothing to reduce the anxiety caused by hearing it ring.

I don’t like phones.

Then it rang again.

Two phone calls in one day seems unreasonable to me. Don’t they know what this does to me?

Once more, I took a breath, and waited for the answering machine to pick up – my heart beating hard in my chest, my head dizzy, my cheeks and hands tingling… this is too much for me.

This phone call was my husband. Just a question. Not a big deal. Yeah, right!

It has now been about five hours since the phone last rang, and still I cannot focus. I cannot concentrate. My body feels numb, my breath comes in gasps, my heart is racing.

Somehow I think it shouldn’t be this hard on me when the phone rings.

But then, maybe that is why they are trying to get me on disability to begin with.


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