One of the key components to a vibrant, happy life is connection. Humans are designed to want to belong. That sense of belonging improves our motivation, health, and happiness.
And yet it’s often one of the first things to go during difficult situations.
Our founders, Michele Bates and Alisa Jones, experienced a difficult period of time several years ago when their father died of cancer, and six months later, their mother died in a car accident.
Michele also had two children with disabilities who were in and out of the hospital during the same time.
“I disconnected in order to get through it. I had to go to work, I had to care for my kids,” Michele reflected. “I felt like I was doing the right thing. But I also felt like I was outside of my body, watching my life take place. I was not in any way connected to it.”
Connection is having shared experiences, relatable feelings, or similar ideas. We believe that having connection is a key element for healing. It’s important that you are able to recognize when you’re disconnected, what that feels like, and ways you can get that connection back.
What does it mean to disconnect?
It’s a natural, normal thing to disconnect in a bad situation. We do this in many ways. We disconnect from the situation itself by avoiding it, postponing or procrastinating, or pretending it’s not happening. We disconnect from others by withdrawing from family and friends, and we can even disconnect from ourselves, where we just go through the motions of everyday life. There’s lots of reasons we withdraw: depression, avoiding conflict, anger, burnout, among others.
When we disconnect, what we’re really trying to do is disconnect from the pain, so we can endure it. If you’re disconnecting in order to endure in a difficult time, what you are effectively doing is not facing, solving, and most importantly, healing.
What does disconnection and connection feel like?
When you’re disconnected, you’re essentially on pause.
Pausing time is a great superpower that could really come in handy. Charles Xavier of the “X-Men” comic book series, can freeze situations, giving him time to stop and look around and analyze the situation. It seems logical. You can see what’s going on around you and feel like you can handle things. But in reality, you are in no way participating in the situation.
And when we’re disconnected, it’s not just the big stuff. Have you ever been standing in the kitchen and your kids are talking to you, but at the end of it you don’t remember anything they said? If you’re not connected, you are actually missing out on the life you could be living.
When we have connection in our life, we feel more alive. Life is vibrant and colorful. Little things—like a flower, a smile from a stranger, a good piece of chocolate cake—bring you joy.
So how do we reconnect?
We start developing habits of disconnecting early on in life. We learn to avoid conflict in childhood so this is something that has to be learned, or relearned.
We’ve developed online therapy groups to give people a way to connect with others in an anonymous and safe environment with people who are going through similar situations—areas such as grief, caregiving, mental health issues, among others.
Building connection allows you to learn from others. You are able to see that others share your experiences and there is a power and beauty in that. Life is hard, and there isn’t any real way around that. But when you’re going through a hard time, you’re going through it with other people. You’re a part of a system that will help you to heal.
If you’re looking for a safe, non-threatening way to get that connection back into your life, start to heal and feel alive and happy in your own life, Transform Through Therapy’s online groups can get you started.