Losing Social Connection is an Emotional Trauma

 

”Man cannot live alone. He must satisfy certain natural basic needs in order to survive. He has to enter into relationships with his fellowmen for living a life. No man can break the shackles of mutual dependence. This begins perhaps between the embryo and the mother and continues till his last breath. The need of the embryo may be more physical than mental, but the mother’s need is the other way round’‘-
Ron Neff, Ph.D -author of ”Your Inner Mammal: How to Meet Your Real Emotional Needs and Become Stronger-for Self and Others”.

 

Give yourself permission to be afraid, vulnerable, anxious, upset, courageous, real, authentic, confused, flawed……

Losing social connection is a deep psychological and emotional trauma that many of us are feeling the loss of.  Most psychologists, sociologists, therapists and counsellors will say one of the first essential things to help overcome grief or depression is making human connections, but how do we make physical meaningful connections when all our community hubs are gone? Virtual connection is not the same. Physical social connection is such an essential part of our human nature.  In fact, social isolation is so deeply traumatizing for human beings, that its even used as a form of torture in penitentiary institutions as a way to punish or to install new behaviours.

When I lived in Ecuador for six years, I spent one of those years living in voluntary isolation in beautiful cloud forest next to the ocean, I was working on a book. Being a very independent person, and enjoying my own company  and being in nature, I never  ever really felt alone, or isolated. However,  despite these traits, one cannot override or stamp out the human need for social interaction and human connection, no matter how much one tries. I learned that  human social interaction was an essential aspect of my life, no matter how immune to it I thought I was.

          Then, I learned the deepest joys of sharing life, when I met my husband in 2016 and afterwards, I learned the deepest pain and grief when I lost him in April 2018, albeit too brief a profound connection. Yet again,  I was reminded that the greatest pleasure  can be of sharing everyday life with others, before these times, I ambled along my own independent path quite happily. As a consequence of having been displaced from Ecuador and a new widow, I moved back to the Western world, Europe in March 2019,  to be closer to family. Barely a year had passed and suddenly, I found myself once again totally isolated socially, but this time was harder, as it wasn’t chosen, and I was still deeply grieving the loss of my husband,  I was also in my second new foreign country in a year, disconnected from my familiar beloved close community back in Ecuador, unable to go and see family back in England. I knew that going to cafes and restaurants was one  way I used to lift my spirits in my grief and remind me that there is still life happening around me, but I couldn’t even do that. Again, I find myself in a third new country in the span of a few years, even more isolated in a very rural area very much missing cafe life, the human connection  and community it stands for. Now, I see one human being a week who delivers my groceries and that is how it has been since November 2020. My closest friends are my cats and my dog, they have been a blessing.

During the past year of this unfolding pandemic, I have been acutely aware of how hard it is for people like myself, who have already been through deep trauma and loss and who are now dealing with a new trauma and loss in the form of a global pandemic with severe regulations we need to adhere to as a consequence.

                 Most people are not even aware that they are experiencing a mixture of grief and post traumatic stress due to losing meaningful human interaction with others, which was taken for granted before now. These feelings need to be accepted and a space needs to be held for this.

Sustainable inner power comes from being authentic and unique, not from fitting into the mould of idealized perfection, which is a limiting illusion and negates room for allowing these human emotions and thoughts.

We live in  a time where more than ever, we must consciously preserve our humanity, all the things that make us human, social greetings such as hugging, kissing on the cheek, touching hands, shaking hands, singing, dancing, laughing, socializing,  dancing, effortless humanity. That wonderful human spirit which carries the deep desire of shared connection.  A natural celebration of our being human, of life, story telling, shared human expression, what all social cultures are built upon, freedom of expression, including the facial nudity!

We are hard wired to read each other’s facial expressions which are innate, even embedded in our genetic makeup,  rather than a product of cultural learning. Therefore, we feel isolated and dehumanized, without social connection. The impact of loss of community, loss of social hubs in the form of cafes, restaurants or bars,  having these freedoms removed creates a deepening remorse, trauma and a grieving process which needs to be acknowledged, addressed, accepted and allowed into the social debates, to break all fearful social stigmas of judgement that surrounds this conversation, because if it is not addressed suicide rates will continue to rise more than they already have.

Some of us find ourselves defending privacy, the right to private health choices, and human contact with elderly family members or loved ones. Some of us are dealing with severe geographical isolation, social isolation, grief, all kinds of loss cause  trauma and so much more.

Its okay to talk about these issues, I for one hold a space for our humanness, for our humanity, and I am not afraid to speak about it unlike some mindset coaches who are being inhumanly positive, positivity is useful but being an upbeat persona  in a time of crisis is creepy and borderline sociopathic, rather than helpful to people dealing with this crisis. Managing a traumatised and grieving mindset in a crisis requires authenticity and compassion and a space for allowing all of these feelings to be communicated, processed and worked through. Its the most powerful form of healing and renewal we can do through human interaction and exchange,  before we can find the real foundations of strength to keep momentum in order to reach an authentic and sustainable positive mindset. Otherwise coaches that deny this are  being destructive to the authenticity and value of communicating these deeper vulnerable feelings of our humanity, of our real humanness, its actually not good for human moral to negate this important issue. Being able to feel okay about talking about this and  expressing how you feel is being human! 

Please feel free to message me if you want to talk about these authentic human feelings. I am not afraid to work through such feelings with you. I am happy to give 3 free mindset coaching sessions over three weeks, to help support anyone that needs it, especially deeply socially isolated people or those that are suicidal or have experienced the death of a loved one.

I’ve been through  such  severe grief and deep trauma in the past where I have had no one around but myself to work through it, I am able to help you through these feelings to guide you to a place where you can use this experience to turn this crisis into a catalyst for something more authentic to you.

by

Carlita Shaw

Contact me at bethechangehypnotherapy@gmail.com 

***********

Books

Surviving depression in a depressing world, an ecological perspective

The Silent Ecocide, the environmental crisis is a crisis of human consciousness

Please pass on to anyone that needs support.

Thank you

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