The Anxiety of NOPE!

Technology is great. Usually. But then, there are always those moments that technology completely goes awry and causes anxiety. And then there are all the times that technology goes awry because of user error, which can be even more anxiety provoking. I would like to tell you about the anxiety of “nope!”

The anxiety of nope happened this past Saturday, when some friends of mine suggested that we get together on Zoom for a game night. I saw the text pop up on my Apple Watch, and went to use one of the ready made responses to answer yes, but in my haste accidentally hit nope. But it wasn’t just nope, it was nope with an exclamation mark, making it seem like I was very adamant about not hanging out with them.

This led me to, in a slightly panicked manner, ask my wife to fix it and explain what happened (I didn’t know where my phone was and didn’t trust trying to use the watch again, least even more anxiety-ridden follies follow).

And while we could laugh about it that night (I wasn’t the only one that’d ever happened to), their first reaction was, predictably, that I was mad or offended by them for some reason.

And while it is just a simple mistake that was easily corrected and more easily laughed away after the fact, it touches a significant trigger for my anxiety, which is saying or doing something wrong. Indeed, this is one of the root causes of my social anxiety. And even though I know everyone totally understands an autocorrect fail or hitting the wrong auto-reply, even though I know there is nothing wrong, it still eats at me a little. My anxiety tries to lie and tell me that everyone is judging me for this, even though I know that isn’t the case.

Yet recovery means recognizing these lies for what they are. It means being able to turn the tables on them and tell them, in a full circle sort of way, nope! Nope, not today anxiety. Today I am going to not believe your lies. Today, I am not going to let your lies distract me from time with my friends.

And someday, maybe COVID will be behind us and we will be able to actually hang out in person and avoid some of these technology failures. Until then I will have to keep telling my anxiety NOPE! Not today!

And hopefully all of you can tell your anxiety nope, not today as well.

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