I went back to therapy recently, and in the first session, I told her that I want to stop using my phone as a coping mechanism for anxiety. We didn’t work out what I would do instead – that will come later – but I’ve been doing some research on my own since then.
I reach for my phone often. Like, all the time. I carry it with me in my pocket or in my bra (yes, I know that’s bad) when I don’t have pockets. A few weeks ago, I left my phone in the car while Hannah and I went into Walmart before school. It was an accident but I felt panicky and sweaty and nervous. I didn’t like not having my phone. I told Hannah my excuse – I needed to know what time it was so I could get her to school on time – but really, it felt like I was losing my mind.
I feel like maybe I am getting a little better sometimes, like when I’m at the park with the kids (it’s too sunny out to see the screen anyway) or watching a movie with my Significant Other (aka B). But I find that I am thinking about my phone during those times. It’s not like I’m getting a ton of messages or there’s so much to do on there. I don’t even have the Facebook app or Instagram app anymore. It’s just such a habit now that I need to have my phone, even if there’s nothing to do. It’s the first thing I reach for when I open my eyes at night, no matter what time. And I get annoyed with myself when my eyes are too blurry to see the screen.
There are some positives. It’s the only camera I have right now to take photos of my kids. I read a lot on my phone – I have hundreds of free and purchased Kindle books. I also keep track of my assignments on my phone.
My homework from that first session was to write down the times of day when I’m feeling anxious and restless, and try to figure out why – to just stop and feel the feelings. She said it won’t feel good, and it will be hard, but it’s a good first step.