Day 3113: Time Out

Yesterday, Twitter put me in a “time out” after I tried to follow back too many new followers too quickly. That means I can’t let people know I like their posts or follow them back for three days.

I’m using this time out to catch my breath and ask myself this question:

Why do I feel like I have to get back to people so quickly?

This sense of urgency in responding to people as soon as possible affects me at work, in my relationships, on social media, everywhere. It makes me anxious and stressed.

When somebody reaches out to me, I imagine them waiting anxiously for my reply, and I feel more and more distress the more time I take getting back to them.

This has been a problem for me at work for many years. I know I blogged about it, in a post titled “The Doritos Cure.” That title was in reference to my supervisor suggesting that instead of my imagining patients waiting anxiously by their phone for my call back, that I imagine them eating Doritos and otherwise engaging in their day-to-day lives.

I’m taking a time out now to go back to my question above, “Why do I feel like I have to get back to people so quickly?”

My best guess, here and now, is that this relates to my experiences in the hospital when I was a child. Starting when I was eight years old, I spent a lot of time alone, in physical and emotional pain, in hospital rooms, waiting for nurses and doctors to respond to me. During those times, my only companion was the hospital heart monitor in my room, beeping out the tentative beats of my very unusual heart.

I would wait for the nurses and doctors to respond to the call light. I would wait for the precious hours when family and friends were allowed to visit me.

So perhaps I project the urgent needs of that scared child onto all who are waiting for me to respond.

I’m so glad I’m taking time out of my morning to make sense of all this.

Now I’m going to take some time out to share my images for the day.

The Daily Bitch is reminding me that it’s good to take a time out from toxic people.

“Time Out” is a GREAT Dave Brubeck Quartet album.

Thank you SO MUCH for taking time out of your day to read this time-out post!

Categories: heart condition, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Day 3113: Time Out

  1. and thank you for taking a time out to put this together. I also feel responsible for responding to people as soon as I can, and find they often had no sense of urgency and just wanted to tell or ask me something. I grew up learning to respond quickly and still feel it is what one should do. with time, I’ve learned it’s not always necessary, and I’ve made an effort to let some things ride unless they ask for a quick reply or it’s time sensitive. my school has given us permission to take up to 24 hours to respond to parents who send notes after school, to take time to consider our answers before sending them, unless it is something that is worrisome or needs to be answered outside of school hours.

  2. If people make an effort they deserve a quick response – also, keeping up is made more difficult by delay

  3. Guilty as charged. My recent illness made me take time out, I had no option. I divested myself of responsibilities and commitments and deliberately now choose not to answer emails, texts, messages, my phone, immediately. Nothing (media wise) is that important that it can’t wait.

  4. Sending hugs, because I think a person stressed out by Twitter who was just doing the best she could to be good to other people deserves a hug. Or two.

  5. I think you should let yourself off the hook a little bit for this feeling, Ann. You are a therapist. You are used to people needing your help. You probably spend a fair bit of time handling your own emotions so that you can center theirs. You don’t do carpet cleaning for a living.

    I hope you imagine yourself eating something other than Doritos, sometimes. Perhaps when you go for walks to take photos you can put your phone in airplane mode so that you don’t receive notifications. Those walks are something that you do for yourself that have a lot more variety than Doritos.

  6. I can understand how your life experiences have created a sense of urgency for you and I also think the internet has altered our perception of time. We can communicate instantly, or almost instantly, across great distances, and while that’s not exactly new it is new that so many of us now carry communication devices in our pockets.
    I assume Twitter’s time out was caused by an automatic trigger but maybe that’s okay And I’m reminded of the end of Ready Player One in which the narrator explains that the global gaming and communication network that everyone’s plugged into is turned off on Thursdays so people spend time enjoying the real world.
    I think we all need time to appreciate time. Although with Dave Brubeck, like any great music, all it takes is the time needed to listen.

  7. puella33

    I can understand taking time out from Twitter. I think other healthcare professionals should be as sensitive, dedicated and caring as you. Sadly, patients are just another number in this materialistic world.
    So, I thank you for this virtue

  8. ‘Time Out’ is a jazz standard album, my father used to play. Time out or not, maybe you do things at work with ‘Body and Soul’:

  9. With your commitment to photography, Ann, I’m surprised you haven’t chosen to give some of your time and best pictures to Instagram. Now that Twitter has made you sit in the corner …

    • Actually, Mark, I’m getting SO many new followers at Twitter that is keeping me very busy all weekend. I can’t seem to juggle everything AND Instagram. But, as usual, I am considering your suggestion.

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