By Dr. Stanton Hom
Call me crazy, but I would hug every single one of my patients today if it wasn’t so triggering these days.
I would also hangout in large groups, for sure.
Because we are all inherently social beings. And guess what, I am a major INTROVERT.
My wife Victoria and I were talking about this the other day as we started to think about how much socializing we have been doing while in quarantine. The two of us love our home.
If homebody were defined in the dictionary, our pictures should be there.
But as we approach the 7th month of our lockdown in the US, we have consistently said YES to being with our friends and loved ones because, as I said, even the introverts are social beings.
We have talked a lot about the Vagus nerve here on this blog and consistently we refer to Dr. Stephen Porges’ work in the office who talks about the Polyvagal Theory.
Most of us understand that the vagus nerve influences gut function, but most of us do not know that the vagus nerve has a very powerful aspect that essentially makes us social beings. This theory highlights how our ability to connect with ourselves, others and the world around us is inherent to our neurology.
But what about the opposite?
What IF we have a severe deficiency of our social needs?
What IF young children like my daughter or others with special needs have a severe deficiency of facial expressions?
What IF we embrace our loved ones less and have a severe deficiency of hugs from others?
I am never a promoter of doomsday perspectives BUT I am a human, doctor and leader who cares significantly about REALITY.
This reality our kids will be going back to is downright scary and to think it will seem “normal” to them…
Several articles indexed on Pubmed highlight the ESSENTIAL nature of facial expressions beginning at birth. Babies as young as 3 months can determine emotional states, native and foreign language, and other amazing traits like empathy stem from this necessary stimuli.
Several articles show the essential nature of IN PERSON social support for all ages! We have the most technologically advanced world ever in history, but at the same time we are so much more disconnected from even our closest friends and loved ones.
I will be frank here.
Zoom does not replace the mentorship and love a teacher can provide. Nor does my daughter ‘hearing’ her great grandmother’s voice via the phone replace meeting her, looking deeply in her eyes and feeling her warm embrace.
We KNOW babies who are not held frequently have a higher risk of severe conditions like Failure-to-Thrive.
But what about our children? What about us?
Without the ability to even touch each other?
OR FURTHER the fear we are being steeped in about our HEALTHY brothers and sisters globally?
What are the short and long term effects?
Well, we know the short term effects.
We know suicides are up.
We know domestic violence is up.
We know the opioid crisis is surging again.
We know that reports of child abuse are DOWN………..
Because, as noted in our Back to School Summit by a local associate dean of students, kids are not going to school and to their doctor where abuse can be identified and reported.
As I have said from the beginning of all of this, I implore you all–in whatever form that makes you feel comfortable–do everything you can to stay connected with others, to be physically with others, and exchange those immune-boosting hugs.
In the end, LIFE as we know it hangs in the balance. If you have not watched the new (and heavily censored) documentary Plandemic II yet, please please please do.
We all need to understand what is behind this 1984-like “Brave New World” is something far more dangerous that the SARS-CoV2 Virus and COVID-19. As Mary Holland shared in our recent podcast interview… even this blog will go away once censorship’s effect on the populous wears off.
Stay tuned for more strategy and opportunities to peacefully build community during the tough times.