I Think I Have Phantom Vibration Syndrome

Some days I think my phone is vibrating on my hip. It’s not, but it turns out I’m not alone in this feeling.

Martin Lindstrom, who was a 2009 recipient of TIME Magazine’s “World’s 100 Most Influential People,” wrote a piece for FastCompany.com about Phantom Vibration Syndrome. He describes it as “reaching for a vibrating phone in your pocket, only to discover that it’s not there.”

For me, it’s the result of many years of muscle memory. I worked in law enforcement and was on call 24/7. My BlackBerry was always attached to my hip or close by. It buzzed constantly (relentlessly on some days). And if it wasn’t attached, I reached for it frequently to be sure I wasn’t missing a call or page.

Is my cellphone vibrating or do I just think it is?

The best part about leaving that job was leaving the BlackBerry and 24/7 responsiveness. In my current job, I still have a BlackBerry. I check it frequently, but not obsessively. I’m more present in the moment. I don’t take it to meetings. If I go to lunch, it stays in my wristlet. My friends say I’m less distracted.

But apparently, old habits die hard. I’ll probably always suffer a bit from Phantom Vibration Syndrome. I wonder if there is a cure.

One thought on “I Think I Have Phantom Vibration Syndrome

  1. Jen says:

    After leaving RPD, I would still “hear” the pager going off and a few times even checked for it. But do understand the phantom…and have been there! I saw an article recently on CNN that talked about the addiction of always checking our gadgets even though they don’t ring or buzz.

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