Directionally challenged

The other night I went out, phone in hand as always.I have had this phone long enough that it no longer has a warranty, but not so long that I get mindless stares because it is obsolete when I pull it out in public. It’s an iPhone so it pretty much became the oldest model as soon as it was put on the shelf to purchase.

My battery was at 20 percent, to other iPhone users this is about the time you try to locate a power source. No? Just my trusty hardware? Okay then.

I didn’t sweat it, the place I was going I had been three times before, once I even drove. So I should know where I am going …if I wasn’t directionally challenged!

I got in the truck, turned on my GPS and headed out.

Humming along with the radio and cautiously listening for my male Siri adviser to direct my course because the female version has told me what to do long enough, I noticed my phone light flicker and then the ominous circle of death showed its ugly face as my phone turned off.

There I was phone-less, and suddenly thoughtless. Where was I going? Did I remember the address? Could I some what make my way and then ask for directions once I got closer? Would people know how to give directions these days? Did I just say these days? WHAT IS HAPPENING!!!!

I couldn’t do it – I had to go back. I had to turn around to go and get a car charger. I needed to tell the person I was meeting that I would be late. In order to do that I would need my phone! What did we do before cell phones? Carrier pigeons!?!

Now I was in a full on panic!!!

Calm down – I can do this, I just need a plan!

Step One: Turn around and SPEED home to minimize amount of time I would be without said phone

Step C: Get charger and plug phone in. Wait until phone turns on again and advise acquaintance of my tardiness due to phone being a piece of junk. That’s right this is all the phones fault…right? My dependency is not my fault!

Step V : Put co-ordinates into GPS and SPEED to said destination.

Final Step: Figure out how I handled life without a phone!!!!!!

I bought my own phone in the 10th grade. It was a pay as you go Telus phone which you could purchase unlimited text messaging for 10$ as long as you had money on it to make calls. This is really all I wanted it for. One more way to keep in constant communication with my boyfriend at the time. Silly naive Jacqui.

I quickly upgraded to a real phone as soon as I turned 18 and didn’t need a parent to sign for one. My very first flip phone with a qwerty keyboard. It was blue and SO EXPENSIVE! Silly younger Jacqui.

Then came my first Blackberry, because I was a middle aged man needing to keep in contact with my partners at the firm and monitor my portfolio (ha!) at all times.  I was important… it was white with a pink case. I was bad-ass!

I have become, no our society has become addicted to constantly being available! Thats right if I am going down you are alllll coming with me! Blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, messaging, pinning, emailing. It’s amazing and yet so CRAZY at the same time!  We share too much, in too many places as long as there is a device or piece of technology involved we think it is okay to spout what ever nonsense we want. Real face to face interaction has slowly become a rarity as we all have our heads buried in our devices whether they be an Android, iPhone, Blackberry or blueberry!

What’s even more ironic is that I am spouting off my dependency of technology on our online blog… but I am still going to continue my rant.

I am the worst for this! I stare at a computer all day at work only to come home and stare at my phone.

There was a post on Facebook that I read which stated “If you were offered 3 million dollars, and all you had to do was not go on Facebook, Twitter or use your cellphone could you do it?”

I would like to think I could live without my phone, but I proved to myself on last Wednesday that I couldn’t.

I have since then purchased an up to date map. You know the ones you see in movies from a decade ago. They still exist! I KNOW, I was shocked too! I have also tried to set a goal of cutting down my social media time by an hour  per day for the first week. I am hoping by the end of the month my phone is not my third hand.

I am also going to put it away when I am with friends and family and focus on what is happening in front of me instead of what is going on in the land of Facebook or even through a lens.

Wish me luck – and know I am not ignoring you. Or am I…. now you will never know.

 

~ Jacqui

 

Let’s talk.

The Sisterhood is pro-mental health, as everyone should be.

Mental illness affects everyone.

Mental health is imperative for everyone.

Tomorrow, every time you tweet, include the hashtag #BellLetsTalk – 5¢ will be donated to mental health education.

When you’re on Facebook tomorrow, share images from the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook page – 5¢ will be donated to mental health support.

If you’re on the Bell network (in Canada), every time you make a call, local or long distance, or send out a text tomorrow, 5¢ will be donated towards stopping the stigma surrounding mental illness and starting a conversation about the part you can play in universal mental health.

bell_lavie

January 28 is Bell Let’s Talk Day. Let’s talk. 

~ The Sisterhood

Bad citizen

I have an anxiety disorder.

Yes, yes I am.

Yes, yes I am.

This means that I am an exemplary worrier, fretter, and all around ball of nerves. It also means that I’m medicated and that I’ve done years of therapy to manage the crazy in my head, because while pills definitely help, I need to be in charge of the runaway train of fear or it will definitely be in charge of me.

Simply put, I’m the queen of inflating any situation into a hypothetical nightmare. For example, if Ben is late getting home from work, I immediately envision him dead, I start freaking out about being a single parent, a widow, and the fact that I have to plan a funeral, get a job, and deal with everything forever by myself.

Welcome to my world, Ron.

Welcome to my world, Ron.

It also means that I have to be very careful, selective, and downright anal about what I consume mentally. Television shows, books, movies, even conversations, all have to be carefully monitored and I have to be ready to turn them off, shut my eyes, or leave the room if things get too dicey.

It’s a key to my self-care and my mental health, but in truth, it makes me a crappy citizen because the very tragedies that draw people closer, bring people together around water coolers and Facebook posts and Twitter feeds, are the poison that will derail my control over my nutty brain. For me, watching the news, reading online articles, following comment threads, delving into the gory details of an accident, a homicide, a plane crash, a suicide, a child molestation/abuse court case can make it too easy to go down the rabbit hole of the worst (and least realistic in my life) what-ifs out there.

This past week we had two tragedies in Canada involving our soldiers, where two servicemen, on our own soil, were killed with no war or battle or extremist circumstance near them. This is the stuff that makes our nation stand up, show solidarity, and inspires people to line the overpasses of highways to give a fallen soldier a hero’s return home.

So moving and fitting.

So moving and fitting.

It’s also the stuff that makes me curtail my online prowling and consuming so that I only view or read on the periphery, the barest of details, and avoid the in-depth commentary, the poetic waxing on the soldier’s sad dogs or grief-stricken little boy, and the replay of the security footage leading up to and including the murders. It makes me hide when everyone else is seeking insight and discussing the situation at every opportunity.

It gets even harder when something happens involving someone famous. Celebrities these days are uber accessible and prominent, and that makes any horrific or prolific situation involving them feel like it’s happening to someone we know. When Robin Williams died from suicide, I had to shut down my social media consumption extensively – everyone was talking about it, retweeting it, Facebook posting it, sharing and becoming a community of mourners. I had to halt the thoughts of how awful it must have been for him, how awful it must be for his family and friends, because had I continued to think about all of the horribleness of the situation, I probably would have found myself immobilized by a grief that wasn’t mine in the first place, or worse, in a position of wondering where my life fit on his spectrum for what’s unbearable and what I can live through. It’s a dangerous, dangerous thing for me.

And I’m not alone. This ‘don’t invite scary thoughts in your head’ tactic is used by many, many people who suffer from mental illness. It’s the first thing on the list of things to avoid when you’re suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety by Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress, the world’s most widely-read blog on mental illness related to pregnancy and child birth. The Calm Clinic, an online blog specializing in anxiety disorders, states clearly that you should minimize your exposure to anxiety stimuli. What is more anxiety-filled than the evening news?

People are often surprised that I don’t know about current events, like the Ebola virus, or what the status is on those poor girls who were kidnapped, or the current war being fought. I’m a smart person. And I thrive on researching things (I’m the queen of googling). But when it comes to scary things beyond my control, things that will just worry me and fill me with paralyzing fear, things that I don’t have to deal with right now, or probably ever, I simply don’t think about them. I don’t learn about them. I don’t read, comment, write, or discuss them. Because at the end of the day, even if I am a bad citizen, at least I’m a healthy Julia, and that I can control.

~ Julia