(An updated version of a blog post I wrote 12 months ago)
When I was working my husband always used to stir me about having my iPhone strapped to my ear almost 24/7. He wasn’t exaggerating either!
The other night while I was sitting up in bed frantically tapping away on my phone screen, I paused for a moment and looked up at my husband who was enjoying a show on TV. I must add, we were both supposed to be watching it.
I was listening to it but I definitely wasn’t watching it in the relaxed manner I should be as a person “medically retired”. Life in my phone was just way too exciting and compelling to put it down.
I laughed and said, “Do you know what, I’ve just realised I have a whole world inside this phone that is buzzing with activity and I think it’s even busier in there than my life was when I was working”. Thankfully he laughed too!
It got me thinking though about whether that is a good thing or not. So, I started to do a pros and cons list in my head as I do when I am grappling with something.
Good news is, for me anyway, the pros list won! Under normal circumstances, with a healthy body, I would probably recommend to put the phone down, go out and do something wonderful and live a full active life, minus your phone.
Who am I kidding……I was never without my phone even when I was healthy and enjoying a full and physically active life. My excuse then was it was necessary in case of an important call, text, PM, Facebook message etc, etc 🙂
The Pro List
A physically active life is no longer possible now due to my chronic diseases and disability. The life within my phone actually opens a whole world for me that is exciting.
I can, in a virtual context, sail across the ocean and speak to others in different countries, or chat with friends close by or interstate. All from my bed when necessary.
I can connect with others battling serious and complex diseases through my forum and provide them comfort, while also finding comfort from their words of wisdom and kindness to me.
That kind of connection is priceless and so special. In online support forums for chronic illness, we probably share more with each other than we do with our closest friends and family. The connections are genuine, raw and real.
I feel blessed to be living with a disability in an era where this kind of connection is possible. Imagine the isolation others felt in times past, not really all that long ago,without the kind of communications we have at our fingertips today.
The pro list is definitely strong.
The Con List
The con list does exist though. There is one major con…EXHAUSTION!
I get way too tired as I get so involved in what I’m doing in my “Life in my phone”. I struggle to put it away and just stop and allow my brain and body to completely rest.
I always thought if I was resting my body it would be fine to keep my brain super active but I’ve actually found, if my brain gets too tired, my physical pain increases, so a balance is really important. I now realise “burn out” is a real danger.
Tips to get the balance right
I do have a few tips to hopefully try and get the balance right. Remember though that these are tips for those of us with Chronic Diseases who are disabled to a point where getting out and about is difficult. Many of us can no longer work and have given up exciting and rewarding careers because of our health.
Our new life of blogging, writing and managing online forums, is in essence our work. It’s like a new career choice and we are passionate about it and committed to it.
It’s a positive and essential life activity for those of us living with chronic disease!
The balancing act is a work in progress for me, so if any of my Chronic Illness friends and colleagues have tips to add, please let me know.
Tip One: Schedule quiet rest times that are phone free during the day. Even 30mins is enough just to rest your brain and dial down physical pain levels;
Tip Two: Get your head out of the phone at least for every 15 mins in an hour. If able use this time to stretch your body, go into the garden, speak to your partner ( oops, probably should have put that first ), make a cuppa etc;
Tip Three: Don’t feel guilty about using your phone. It’s how those of us with chronic debilitating disease can best connect with others, in what would otherwise be a pretty lonely existence. Think of it as your work, your new career. It’s a positive tool in many circumstances in life but particularly under these circumstances;
Tip Four: When you are ready to turn the lights out at night or even 30mins before that time, turn your phone to silent. I have my phone beside my bed so that when I do wake up in the morning, I can start checking emails, messages, Facebook forums, Twitter etc while I’m waiting for my pain meds to kick in. You don’t want a buzzing phone by your ear during the night. Remember many Chronic Illness sufferers can’t sleep well and will be quite active on their phones during the night, so if you are able to sleep and don’t want to be disturbed, definitely make sure your phone is on silent. Your partner will thank you too!
Above all, enjoy the wonderful connections that await us each and every day in the “land of our phones”.
Now it’s time for me to put the phone down and have a good 30min rest.
I’ll definitely be back soon though xx
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
I’m also a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women