Saturday, January 2, 2016

Smartphone Angst and Other Gifts

I've been waking up lighthearted recently.  How many days has it been?  Three?  Five?  I'll get to the reason at the end of this post.

My smartphone angst began Thanksgiving weekend.  That's when I walked into a Microsoft Store and bought THE phone that I've been waiting ten years for - a windows cell phone that will integrate seamlessly into my Windows universe.  I loved my old dumb phone, though.  I had the perfect excuse to avoid texting and sharing.  So it took me a month to look inside the box.   I told myself my dilly dallying was perfectly reasonable.  Before I could proceed, I required the perfect circumstances for the integration of hardware and support. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Perfection in the smartphone universe is not going to exist for some time.  So three days ago I stepped into the only carrier store that supports this beautiful handset - AT&T.  Were they happy to see me!  Good news all round!  No signal at home?  I can get a microcell mini tower to boost my nearly non-existent signal - free!  Want a cheaper plan?  I could add myself to a family AT&T plan and pay only $25 a month!  Unlocked Microsoft phone?  I just needed to update this unlocked Windows phone before putting in AT&T's Sim Card.  Then I must appear with family member in tow to authorize my inclusion on their family plan.  Woohoo!  I had two family members to choose from, and both offered to include me.  My brother got the nod, because he was first.

On New Year's eve, I didn't have a social commitment, so I drove that afternoon one hour to the Microsoft Store - where I got help entering my info on new phone before going to the AT&T store where my brother lives. I then drove two hours and we walked into the AT&T Store before it closed early.  I got added to his Family Plan.  I got a brand new Sim card and kept my old number.  Then the test. Oh.  My new screen protector didn't have a hole for the microphone, so my callee didn't hear me.  Easy fix..  Then the test - can I access all my programs, my e-mail and all? Uh, oh.  Black screen.  Over and over. 

Lesson:  Do NOT enter your account information into the phone before putting the Sim card in.  Because if you do, your essential information will reside deep in the bowels of the phone's hardware, hidden beneath the Sim card.  Ingoing and outgoing information will be blocked, bound and gagged. All you're left with is a very pretty, very dumb phone.

Anyway, New Year's eve turned out to be fun.   Four of us played Uno, and for the first time, I got to 500 before anybody else did.

New Year's day my mission was clear. Drive two hours to the Microsoft Store.  Then sit two and a half hours, reading my homework assignment on my Kindle, while three tech assistants fiddled with and fixed my smartphone.  Required the Hard Reset.    What's the Hard Reset?   That's where they strip the operating system from the phone and rebuild its OS from scratch.  Then they install all the updates and test the phone.  Ha!  I left with a working phone and a new battery charging cable, free of charge.  I'd left my original cable plugged in at my brother's.

After that, home, one hour's drive more.  On the way I used this smarter phone to order my favorite pizza.  Hoodoo Man - with mozzarella, beets, goat cheese, arugula, red onions and balsamic reduction drizzled over all. 

But, sure enough, this super smartphone could not detect a cell signal at home.  Well.  One little bar.  Out one window.  If I pressed it against the glass.

Story almost over. This morning I called AT&T and ordered a microcell tower.  It was close to free,  if $75 is close.  When it arrives in three days, I will set it up.  And then maybe, maybe, maybe I will be able to use my phone like everyone else does.

End of phone story.  Thanks for hanging in.  This phone story, however, makes the perfect introduction to the real point of my post.  Consider this smartphone story a metaphor for my life.  What we have here is not only a smartphone, but a woman imperfectly realized, because her pretty Sim card has covered up foundational information, rendering her OS - operating system - quite hobbled, unable to heal and demonstrate its full functionality.  And this woman - me - is undertaking by virtue of a long laborious hard reset, to rebuild her foundation from scratch.  Thereafter, putting her Sim card in, will reveal a universe she can experience.  Got that?  Don't worry.  It makes sense to me. LOL

I have been waking up lighthearted these last few days because I have been diagnosed with what tormented me my entire life.  This resurfaced big time after I lost my hubby, my primary  emotional support. I've learned it's not that unusual for that trauma to awaken other unhealed traumas.

This is my diagnosis: DPTSD.  Developmental Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but DPTSD rolls off the tongue better.  We're all familiar with PTSD.  A lot of folks have it.  Maybe some we know.  PTSD, of course, is trauma that gets locked in the psyche and the body.  It gets locked in, because there was no avoiding the devastating event (makes it a trauma) and the devastating event doesn't receive enough of the healing balm of love.  So the trauma deepens, wound upon wound. 

I loved Widow blogs because we women talked about our trauma. However, as time went on, I watched women recover from the trauma, while I did not.   Heck.  I didn't even cry for five years.  I know we all grieve differently, but this is extreme.  I knew I was locked up emotionally but I didn't realize I was having emotional flashbacks until this past October in Hawaii.  When I was in a group of the most loving women and they were touching my body, I felt this cold, primal terror.  My skin was crawling.  I felt like an animal tied down, ready to be sacrificed.  I wrote about it here. It sure does link to the way I felt everyday growing up - abandoned, terrified.  Until I could no longer tolerate the daily terror and grief and I shut down.  I was 11 or 12.  I've had very very few women friends.  I have such a hard time letting down my guard.

So, with this DPTSD diagnosis, I discover I'm not crazy, just a trifle disordered or messy in my functioning under particular circumstances.  Now that I'm diagnosed, my path is clear.  Last Tuesday, I had my first session with a trauma specialist, a woman. Yeah, she triggered me.  My body tried so hard to be small, to disappear into the corner of the couch.  But of course I was there and wanted to be, so what did I do?  I resorted to my next survival trick: staying physically present in my body but emotionally and cognitively outside it.  Certainly you have done the floating above oneself thingee?  

I hope you join me for my healing journey.  If all goes well, and even when it doesn't, this blog will be my online recovery diary

happy  2016 !


  1. I was thinking about upgrading my smart phone to a smarter one, but I think you've talked me out of it. What a hassle!

    Who diagnosed your condition, can I ask? I hope you've been able to exhaust all the known causes for lightheadedness though blood work and a complete physical. Either way I hope you get the help you want and deserve. Gotta make this the best year ever!

    1. What would we do without tech support? I'm told I will soon love and rely on my smartphone. I'll be that person at the restaurant who is staring into this slab of metal in her hand. It's so UNcool!

      Lighthearted SURE does look like lightheaded on the screen. That's what I get for trying a synonym of 'happy'. More to come on the dawn of this diagnosis.

      This is already the best year ever (sorry, late hubby)

  2. This was a wonderful post to read... you had me laughing and then you had me truly feeling and understanding what its like to be in that place of being diagnosed with something you know you have to HEAL to fix.

    You made me laugh out loud when I read this: "But, sure enough, this super smartphone could not detect a cell signal at home. Well. One little bar. Out one window. If I pressed it against the glass" lol now THAT was funny (as I picture you pressing the phone against the glass to get a signal :)

    congrats on the UNO by the way

    I look forward to reading more about your journey as I am still on the same journey to heal . . . its a hard journey, but one so worth taking.

    1. Oh, my, Karen. You felt and understood what it is like to be in that place of being diagnosed with something you have to HEAL to fix? I didn't know I was THAT good a writer.

      Let me sit with that one a while...

      Your own journey is so vividly described on your blog. I hope people click on your name here to discover it!

  3. I know I will find insight of my own, just by reading about your therapeutic journey. It took me a very long time to reach the end of the influence my father's abuse had on my life. Strange how that hurt little girl resides in us for (sometimes) the rest of our lives.

    1. Thank you so much, Judy, for your encouragement! You and you other dear readers drop clues for me to follow all the time. Amazing how even my smartphone setup was dropping clues for me. LOL

  4. You are one brave woman! Thank you for sharing your journey ... from not even knowing to finally having a diagnosis ... to finding your own road to recovery. Happy NEW Year!

  5. Happy New Year, AW! Yes! We each have our metanoia. ??? Did I use the word correctly? Lol