Much of the time in our lives we don't realize just how much we need other people. Obviously, right now during this world-wide pandemic, we are all recognizing just how important it is to have social contact with others. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that, right? But even during a traumatic event like the one we're all going through together right now, we cannot always see how important it is to pick up that phone and make that call - how critical it is to our mental health to connect and be reminded that someone cares about us and is there for us. Making ourselves get up and make that phone call in times of distress can be a an amazingly difficult mental task when we just feel like there is nothing positive to talk about. So what's the point? Why make the effort? Human connection is a cornerstone in the foundation of our survival as human beings and without it, our mental and physical well-being is in big trouble.
There are times when I have personally felt pretty hopeless about the world and my role in it. I get down about a few things, then I read the news and that's depressing, then I see a sad story or 5 on social media, then I attempt to pay the bills, then I really start to feel like - what's the point, man. I am certain I am not alone in feeling this way. When I get like this I tend to withdraw from my little world and I stop getting on social media as much, I stop reaching out to friends, and I go quiet moving around my house for the next day or so. During normal times, I may skip social events and wallow in my misery a bit instead. After a couple of days I am so down that I just really need to hear a friends voice tell me it's all going to be okay. I feel like if I make a phone call to a friend - use my "lifeline" in the game of life - that I'm just going to end up crying and breaking down and embarrassing myself, and maybe I'm being over dramatic and maybe my friend has their own stuff and they don't need me calling up and crying to them. But I make the call and yeah, sometimes I do cry, but what really happens is that I remember that my friend is out there struggling with similar things and they care about me and as my friend they want to help me feel better. And by the time I get off that call we are laughing and it's like a weight has lifted off my shoulders and I feel like free person again. It is amazing. It always amazes me - just how much a simple conversation with a friend can brighten my world and make it all a shinier, happier place to be.
My point is, when you are feeling your way through your darkest moments, that is the time we need to reach out the most. As much as we'd like to just sit on the couch in our sweats and just ignore everyone and pick up that bottle of wine, what we really need the most is to hear that someone else feels the same way, that someone in our lives gives a crap about us, and about the same stuff we're down about. We NEED that human connection to feel human again, to feel like we're alive and well. So this week as we are several weeks in to quarantining to flatten the curve and fight coronavirus together, remember this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS. So many people are going through similar troubles, similar feelings of being overwhelmed with it all, similar sadness and anger and loneliness. You are not alone. You simply have to take the time and make yourself reach out and pick up the phone and dial a friend or family member to be reminded of this and to be lifted up a little bit out of that darkness you've started to drift into. Remember your neighbor is doing the same thing, feeling much the same as you right through that wall or across that yard. Your friend several states away is feeling much the same as you do right now.
My challenge for you this week is to connect. (Wait, wasn't that last week's challenge?) Call your friend no matter how bummed out you feel and keep calling a friend each day until you feel less alone. Remember, human connection is key to your survival and your friend's survival. So connect in the ways you can right now. And remind each other that neither of you are truly alone. Especially right now, but really always, remember we are all in this world together.