Lifestyle, What's On Our Mind

I was put on an involuntary digital detox and I almost had a panic attack

Monty by Monty
August 25th, 2014

I was on an involuntary phone ban this past week. I went away with my family in an area with NO reception. So this meant no calls, texts, email, Internet or FACEBOOK for six whole days.

When we arrived at our accommodation for this country family holiday, my mobile displayed NO signal. I felt an overwhelming rush of anxiety. I wish I were joking. But I’m not.

I didn’t realise there would be no access to the online world or text messages when I signed up for this getaway. I felt like I had been lied to, cheated by the reception gods and placed on a phone detox I was not open to.

bagAs I looked around at my family members I was shocked to see that the blood from their faces had not drained and they were not in a state of panic. I was almost reaching for the brown paper bag to help ease my erratic breathing. Why on earth were they not as panicked about this no signal situation we found ourselves in?

I knew my dependency on my phone and the Internet was full on, I just didn’t realise it had such a hold on me.

I felt like I was on a heroin detox. I am still not convinced my family had secretly been in on the no reception rubbish and they had hidden cameras in the house watching me go cold turkey on one of my main loves.

It took me 48 hours of thinking I could beat the no reception situation.

I kept my phone (that was useless) on me at all times. I held it up to the sky (is it just me or do you do that too?), I went for “walks” by myself disguised as fitness but really I was just hunting for the elusive reception.

I even took to just phone gazing and hoping with all my might to get some signal, even one little bar. But nothing. We were in the bush big time.

After realising that there was literally nothing I could do to check Facebook status updates, see other peoples breakfast picks on Instagram or send an email, I decided to roll with this big punch in the face. Let’s be honest, I had no choice.

For four days I did things like play with my son. Please note: I love my son with every fibre of my body but I am not a player. Puzzles, train sets and Lego rub me up the wrong way big time. I get bored within seconds. But I totally did it for like 15-minute increments and I even enjoyed it. Seeing his little mind tick with no text message interruption was pretty bloody great.

Digital detox. I went on walks with my baby daddy and we didn’t check our phones once. (It would have been useless too, let’s be honest). We chatted and laughed and played games you only play in the country like Monopoly. Yes, we are wild ones.

I cooked with my mum and even watched a footy game with my step dad.

I’m not saying I didn’t break out into a cold sweet every so often due to my lack of texting, but to my surprise the world kept turning without me having my pulse on all forms of social media, celebrity gossip or returning emails within three minutes.

Forced phone detox’s are intense, I’m not going to lie, it’s a tough slog and being back in the big smoke where reception runs riot, I am back in the full depths of my dependency. But…I got something from that phone free trip that I would never have if I were contactable or able to check the book. My thumbs healed from excess texting and I spent time with my family without a phone, which truly is ‘quality time’.

I wish I could say every Sunday I will hide my phone and do a mini detox but that would be a filthy lie. However, we have booked the same house for the same time next year and a part of me hopes the Internet gods will not have found that address.

What are your rules around your phones and computer?