Digital, Health, Life

My Phone Is Making Me Miserable & I Want To Do Something About It

why you shouldn't be ashamed to be an introvert

I’m reaching breaking point when it comes to my phone and social media. Lately I have been wondering if there could be shift in social media usage, and whether my generation might be smart enough to start to veer away from it. It’s funny, because a single conversation with a lovely lady in a charity shop was the push I needed to take action.

I was wandering round a charity shop when somehow I got talking to a fellow shopper. The conversation got on to mobile phones and social media, and she had some wise words.

The thing is, she was telling me what I already knew but refused to accept. We bonded over our frustration with the overuse of mobile phones. One thing she said really stuck with me.

I was on the phone to my friend the other day and we said let’s hang up now, because we knew if we didn’t we wouldn’t have anything to talk about at our upcoming coffee meeting.

It made me think of Whatsapp. We update our friends on every single aspect of our lives. It’s too easy to send a quick message to a friend, no matter how pointless it may be. We are now having conversations on an instant messaging service instead of in person. I really wonder how this is changing how people interact with each other in person.

Lately I have found that I have my phone on me every second of the day. I can’t be without it, and if I am, I start to get anxious. I think, what if X person wants to get hold of me and ask me about Y? I make up scenarios in my head that might arise, just to give myself an excuse to reach for my phone and have it by my side again.

I know it’s not healthy, but I keep doing it. I keep starting at the flashing light on my phone, I keep my phone on vibrate so I can hear every message come through. Although it makes me want to smash my phone against the wall and start to cry in frustration, I don’t change anything. My phone is still there, buzzing at me every two seconds, telling me I NEED to look at it.

I’m also realising that having such close contact with everyone in my life makes me worry about things I don’t need to. We discuss things that don’t need to be discussed, we create more problems and we think up new issues just so we can send another message. It’s definitely making my anxiety worse.

When you have anxiety, you often worry about what other people think about you, and play things over and over again in your head. So when I get a message that could be misconstrued, or I send something that I think looks a bit desperate, I spend ages mulling things over. It wastes a huge chunk of my day, and it’s also very distracting.

I’m 100% addicted to my mobile phone, and I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed that I’ve let myself become so much of a slave to my phone. I think back, and wonder at what point did things go too far?

I feel like my head is trapped inside of my phone, and I want to make a run for it. I want to be free. I want real interactions with people in person, and I want to stop reading about people’s lives who I don’t even care about. These people mean nothing to me, yet I’m constantly comparing my life to theirs.

I’m so done with updating the world on every aspect of my life. It’s frustrating because I feel like I should do it for this blog, and to build my profile online, but I really don’t want to. I know you need a social following to succeed as a blogger, but I wish things weren’t that way.

I wish those of us who want more private, relaxing and social media free lives could still write blogs and build a following.

The truth is, I do get quite a lot of natural SEO traffic, so even if I don’t use social media my blog is still growing. Although not at the rate that it could be.

All I care about is writing. I want people to read what I write and come back to my blog to see what else I’ve posted. I can’t bear to try and look perfect and promote products on my Instagram feed. That’s just not who I am.

I’m a writer not a social butterfly. But do you have to be a social butterfly to be a success online? Sadly, I think the answer is yes.

I can honestly say I think my phone is making me feel a bit depressed. I constantly stress about what information it might present me with, and most importantly, I keep missing moments because of it.

I was on a dog walk today and I was so concerned with getting a decent video of my dogs for my Instagram feed and to send to my mum and friends on Whatsapp, that I failed to enjoy what was really going on.

I was witnessing my younger dog Rav begin to act as a guide dog for my blind dog Orla. It was one of the wonderful magical moments where you realise that maybe life can be pretty cool sometimes. You forget about messages and status updates and emails, and you feel a warm fuzzy feeling and lose yourself in the moment. Except that I didn’t fully embrace it because I was too busy thinking about how to get the best shot.

In a bid to do something about this mobile phone/social media addiction, I tried to shut down my Facebook profile. I didn’t know how so I googled it and found out. BUT I COULDN’T DO IT. Why? Because what if I lose all my pictures and how will people get in touch with me and what if I miss my friend’s important life events?!

These are all stupid thoughts because I can save my pictures, my real friends can call me and if they have any major life events they will tell me in person. But darnn it, I still can’t do it. I hope I can soon though.

I don’t really use Facebook that much anymore and I think soon it will become a little redundant, but half my life is documented on there, and it’s super hard to let it go.

This got me thinking, I wonder how many people have searched for ‘how to shut down my Facebook account?’ Turns out, hundreds of thousands of people are typing similar things into Google every month. 

people searching for how to delete facebook

You know how sometimes your body tells you something is wrong? Well, that’s happening to me right now. My chest feels tight and I feel a bit sick and emotional, and I know it’s partly because I want to get the hell away from my phone. I don’t want to waste most of my adult life on a technological device, I want to spend my time in reality.

I want to do cool stuff, spend quality time with the people I love and only use my phone for calls and the odd important text. Remember those days when you would take ages planning what to send in a text message, and only send one if you needed to say something interesting? Not much thought goes into Whatsapp messages, they are just a constant supply of word vomit.

I thought more people would feel the same as me, but it seems that may not be the case. Because when I’m not on Whatsapp or don’t use social media, people freak the hell out.

I know I know, I should take that as a compliment, because people obviously want to stay in touch with me. But they don’t get it. They don’t see what all this is doing to me, and how much happier I will be if I just take a step back for a while.

I feel like I literally can’t come off Whatsapp or I will miss things. I’m a bridesmaid and all the planning for the hen do is done via Whatsapp. It’s in two months. Ideally I would wait until the hen do is over, and then delete Whatsapp, but I don’t know if I can wait that long without bursting. I’ve tried to leave Whatsapp before but I got so much abuse for leaving that I think I only managed a month or so. I’m hoping my next attempt will be more successful. 

I refuse to carry on like this, being a robot like everybody else, and letting my phone ruin my life. Mobile phone addiction is a serious problem that’s going to fuck people up in years to come. It’s changing how we interact with each other, with our children, our pets and strangers. I want to rewind about ten years, and go back to a time when life was much simpler.

In order to make changes, I need to write down exactly what I plan to do. Maybe you should do the same, or you could just abide by the list below and join me in embracing the freedom from social media, the internet and mobile phones, even if it is temporary.

Here are some commandments I plan to follow over the next week, and if I check back in a week and haven’t done them, I will be extremely disappointed.

  1. I shall turn off my mobile data all day and only turn on for half an hour at 6pm in the evening.
  2. I shall delete Whatsapp, and ask people to please update me by other means.
  3. I shall not log into Facebook during the day while I’m working, I don’t need to. Check Facebook once weekly on a Friday.
  4. I shall only check my emails on my laptop, during the working day between 9 – 5.
  5. Every evening when I’m relaxing with my fiance I will put my phone in the drawer upstairs by my bed. I will turn my data off and leave my phone on loud, that way, I can hear if someone rings and it’s important.
  6. I won’t check Instagram 27485 times a day and browse wedding stuff. I will allow myself half an hour each evening and an hour at the weekend.
  7. I will try not posting anything on any social media site for two weeks and see whether my life really falls apart (it won’t).
  8. I will save my Facebook photos somewhere so I can shut down my account.