My Week Without A Phone: My Truth About Social Anxiety

Hi guys! So I have nothing to say in regards to my silence on here other than I clearly suck at blogging and need to be more diligent about it.

 

That being established…

 

I lost my precious iPhone 6s last week to extensive liquid damage due to my idiocy and negligence. Before anyone asks, yes, I used the rice trick, but unfortunately, it was DOA. As dramatic as this will sound to all of you, losing this particular phone was actually really difficult for me– in the most unexpected way. That particular phone made it into my possession  in 2015 during the first two months up in Davis. I had already been thinking about ditching Sprint for another phone company prior to moving up there, but at that time, the only major phone companies offering unlimited data plans were Sprint and T-Mobile.

So, as I rolled through the town with my friend Ashley, we decided to stop in at T-Mobile after Ashley said, “Hey! There’s a T-Mobile store. Let’s see how much it costs to get rid of Sprint!” Two hours later, I walked out with a new contract and a shiny, beautiful new phone. Considering that was one of the only good memories of my time up there, saying bye to the phone last week was like the final memory of a very life-changing experience.

 

 

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It officially died a week ago. (This was AFTER the rice bath.)

And thus commenced the inevitable phone-less life. At first, it wasn’t that bad at all, considering I had an iPad and a laptop I could open and obsess over whenever. But then, as the first “phone free” day wore on, I began to feel lost and like something was missing (this sounds dramatic, but hear me out). It was a nagging feeling. This feeling wasn’t too bad at home, however, the week became more treacherous the more I left my house. Out in public, I became more self-conscious. I kept reaching for my phone in meetings, in the car when conversation got awkward. In Chipotle, as I waited for my friend to come to our table with our food, it felt like the longest few minutes of my life, as I was forced to just sit and be present. That’s when my social anxiety kicked in something fierce. I started to look around feverishly and look down at my lap longingly, desperately wishing my phone hadn’t gone for a swim. To give you a visual representation of my struggle, I have included gifs for each day of the week:

MONDAY: Phone screen was killed. Me being a semi-responsible phone mom, I decide to let my rose gold baby take a nice little rice bath. At this point, after reading countless articles online praising the rice method, I have hope.

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TUESDAY: Phone has been submerged in rice for exactly 25 hours. Upon checking on it, I realize that the phone itself is on (it never shut off to begin with), but the screen still has surface and internal damage. I leave it in for another night with hope still alive, albeit dwindling slightly.

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WEDNESDAY: I was at various social events at which I knew not one person and I realized how much I rely on my phone to sustain me, especially in awkward social situations.

 

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THURSDAY: I decide to give up on the rice method after leaving it submerged for the better half of the week. My phone then turns on and off, then the screen displays two white lines (seen above), before finally dying and shutting off completely.

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FRIDAY: I go into Chipotle with my best friend and as she stands in line to get our food, I sit at our table staring off in the distance. Awkward and sad.

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SATURDAY/SUNDAY: I decide to take my life back and switch to Verizon (after noticing that T-Mobile wanted me to pay $433 for a new phone when I had an upgrade available) with the help of my grandparents (Hi Mandy! Hi Wes!) and I receive news that I am getting a new phone on MONDAY!!!

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MONDAY: MY RED IPHONE 7 PLUS IS IN MY HANDS BY 12PM AND I FEEL ALL THE THINGS, MAN!!!

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YES!!!!!!

 

Besides sharing funny gifs in this post, I wanted to shed some light on an issue I noticed while I was phone-less for a week: for me, at least, I am technologically dependent. In what felt like the longest week of my life, I noticed how much my phone has become a crutch and an enabler to my social anxiety. Whether it was to get directions or do mundane things like scroll through social media, I found myself grabbing for my phone, only to realize it wasn’t there. It was like a reflex that whenever I was bored or felt out of place, I always knew I could lose myself in my phone, and not having it felt like a huge imposition. My social anxiety manifests itself in different ways, and after talking to others with the same issue, I decided that everyone falls into different categories along the spectrum. Here’s where I’m at:

  • I can only handle very intimate interactions at the present time– me and another person at most. Sometimes three if I know the people in the small group.
  • I don’t like the “surprise” effect, as in I get very uncomfortable when friends invite another person without really letting me know.
  • If the above happens, I get a massive amount of anxiety and I have to prepare for said meeting.
  • My palms sweat.
  • I bite my nails.
  • I am completely silent and if it’s more than three people, I find it hard to engage in conversation.
  • I’ll immediately grab my phone and shut down.

It’s not that I want to do all these things. I dream of the day I won’t be weird like this, but it’s just a feeling of anxiety that overtakes me in a way I cannot fight off. I’m getting better each day, though, and this week without a phone helped prove that.

Despite this, though, something positive did come of this: I came to the realization that throughout the week, I was able to really focus in conversations and absorb what the other person is saying, and as the week wore on, I learned how to rely on myself a little more. On top of that, it helped me realize that basic social interaction isn’t that bad. Would I do it again? Not readily, but I could if I had to.

For now, I’ll keep my new baby close and out of harms way.

 

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