You know, if I had asked myself “Am I addicted to my phone?” on Monday of this week, the answer would have been a confident and slightly smug “No”. But after going for a walk yesterday, I’ve come to the realisation that I am way more reliant on tech than I actually thought.
Let me tell you what happened…
I had a full on day of errand running yesterday. Myself and Finn were zipping all over the Central Belt of Scotland attending baby classes and doing the mundane life admin tasks you can’t do at home in your comfies. Whilst I was on the go, I barely even thought about my phone. In fact, I’m sure the only time I looked at it was to check the time. When we returned home, the battery had died so I plugged it in to charge in the kitchen. I still had to go and visit the post office, but I figured I could pop Finn in the buggy and take the scenic route (a beautiful walk along the canalside) to post the parcels. It was an absolutely gorgeous sunshiney evening and Finn was likely to drop off to sleep so I was looking forward to the walk.
I didn’t even think twice about not bringing my phone. I quite happily left it charging at home and set on my way, making a joke to my father-in-law in passing that I would be uncontactable (as they were looking after Ethan) and to send a search party if I didn’t come back. The walk was a 40 minute round trip. And about 3 minutes in, I started to feel a really weird feeling. I felt… Uneasy. Now it’s worth stopping here to point out that this feeling had absolutely nothing to do with a concern for our safety. We live in a super quiet village and safety whilst out alone has never, ever been an issue for me. But yet, I felt a very mild panic building in my chest.
I’ve been journaling a lot lately which has helped me be more objective about my thoughts and feelings so I just walked and noticed the feeling and accompanying thoughts. It was then that I was able to label it. This is anxiety. What the bloody hell am I feeling anxious about?! Then it dawned on me. “What will I do?”. I had a 40-minute walk ahead of me and I was concerned about how I would occupy my mind.
I’m not a big Facebook user, I spend limited time (mostly for work) on Instagram and because I don’t spend hours a day thumbing through these sites, I had assumed that I could not be addicted to my phone. But it turns out, as my baby sat dozing in the pram and I walked through the gorgeous countryside, all I could think about was the fact that I couldn’t listen to a podcast. I couldn’t listen to music. I couldn’t phone anyone to keep me company. And I couldn’t make a note of the ideas that were flying around in my brain. All because I didn’t have my phone.
Eventually, as I made it to the post office and set off on my way back, the feeling of anxiety dissipated. But I couldn’t shake the frustration that every time I thought of something like “What’s the weather going to be like at the weekend?”, “What time is my dentist appointment again?”, or even just ideas for this very post, I couldn’t just whip out my phone and get my answers immediately.
To be honest, I’m still a bit shocked and freaked out that my body reacted in such a physiological way to not having technology on hand. It was nothing to do with social media, which is often the addiction you hear referred to, it was purely a reaction to not having some kind of external brain to occupy the silence, answer my questions and keep my life in order. For 40 flippin’ minutes.
So as I mull over this and how uncomfortable it makes me, I think it would be interesting to hear from you. Have you ever had moments of feeling anxious while separated from technology? Did you just associate phone addiction with social media usage like me?