The New Social Distancing (a.k.a. Anxiety)—The Personal Side
Years ago, I had the privilege of going into homes to provide support and therapy. I will spare you the specifics of the populations I served and the challenges I helped people face. However, there are some lessons from that career season that have stuck with me and been brought back to my mind since the pandemic began.
If you have done any research, taken any social science classes or even just spent time with small children, you know it is no secret that we need human interaction. Certain things are essential to our well-being such as food and hydration, sleep, stimulation and yes, even human interaction. Cognitively, I think most of us knew this before COVID began. Yet, as COVID and its impact has lingered and we have been forced to spend more and more time alone including indoors, we see now more than ever that we must be in connection with others.
I can remember visiting homes in the past and talking to clients who had not left their rooms or their homes for several days. Most had not been anywhere on foot or in a car and many of them had not even gone outside. What I saw concerned me. Their eating and sleeping patterns became interrupted. Many of them gained or lost weight. And most of them seemed anxious or depressed—usually anxious first and then depressed as time went on. A few of my clients would maintain phone contact with family members and friends, but some withdrew completely.
When I listened to that podcast a few months ago, my mind was flooded with pictures of the people I had visited in their homes all those years ago. When we cannot connect with others, when we cannot look into the face of another person sitting across from us and see emotion (NOT through a screen) we suffer. And, as I am seeing now, we not only miss the human connection, we can eventually come to feel uncomfortable just being outside of our homes—in “unfamiliar” places.
If you have been feeling more on edge lately when going out into public, or if you find yourself staying home and feeling down, we can help. The past year of our lives has been interrupted and we are now seeing the effects. The fragility and resiliency of the human spirit have been on display in so many ways. The good news is that just as we are fragile and need each other, we are also resilient and stronger together. Please reach out today so we can speak with you and support you. Don’t try to do life all alone. Contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our mental health counselors.