Power Anxiety: The Struggle Is Real

“Nomobophia is a reported condition of anxiety and general anxious feelings when out of reach of a cell phone, or unable to get signal or internet coverage”

Have you ever forgotten the ritual of plugging in your phone before you go to bed, only to have a less than ideal battery life by the time you have to leave for university or work the next morning? Sudden clamminess and dread fills you as you begin to go about your day. You use your phone hesitatingly saving that sweet, sweet juice that keeps it running. Eyes scanning the public space you’re in for signs of the miracle cure – a power outlet!


Melodramatic as this may sound, the anxiety is very real and often causes a panic in individuals. It’s even been given a name, Nomophobia (No Mobile Phone Phobia.)There’s nothing worse than being stuck somewhere without access to power to charge your phone. I have an iPhone and the battery tends to be somewhat unreliable sometimes. The phone itself is quite old and the battery got really bad, to the extent where in would only last about 15 minutes if I was on it. Since then I’ve replaced the battery but I would always have to have it constantly charging or use it a very little amount when I left the house. It’s a stressful situation to be in.

Sometimes the battery would say it was on 43% and next thing I know it’s in my hand, lifeless and cutting me off from the rest of the world. Power anxiety affects me most when I have to be in contact with someone, a friend I’m meeting for lunch or making sure one of my parents can pick me up. I’ve been in a situation before where my phone was dead and I was abandoned at train station. I had to work up the courage to ask to use someone else’s mobile so I could borrow it and call my dad to come pick me up.

Power anxiety is something I see in a lot of people. Last week my friend saw that my phone was on 64% and asked “Aren’t you worried it will die?” I wasn’t too scared as I knew I only had to be at uni 3 hours and it could get me through that time fine. However, some people have their phones charging during every tutorial and I also have a lot of friends who carry around portable chargers, even sometimes using them when we’re out to dinner.

A small crowd gathers around a shaded charging station on the first day of the second weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif., on Friday, April 18, 2014. (Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1151869
People flock around a charging station and Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

It’s a bizarre kind of thing to see how people position themselves in certain public spaces depending on where the closest power outlet is. Even in classrooms at university some people will instantly flock the seats closest to the power outlets.

As spoken about in this article a man actually jumped onto a Broadway stage 10 minutes before the play to plug his phone into what he thought to be a power outlet – it was actually fake and a part of the set. This for me is crossing the line, theatre performances are one of the only places where I always completely switch my phone off. To think someone actually had the balls to climb onto a broadway stage so that they could charge their phone really says something about the digital age we live in and our dependency on our devices.

What is it that terrifies us so much about being disconnected? I suppose for different individuals the reason differs. Is the anxiety that drives us to maintain a solid battery life actually disconnecting us from the world right in front of us?


  • If you’re interested in this you might want to check out these related articles:

How far will we go to charge our phones?

Dead battery anxiety? Learn to live without your phone.

Dead battery anxiety? Are you kidding me?


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