An article by blogger James Webb, Existential Depression in Gifted Individuals, tugged at me when he spoke about breaking through the sense of isolation through touch. Just as infants need to be held and touched, those kids experiencing existential depression need it too.
Many of us have heard of the failure to thrive syndrome with infants and their mothers. Similarly, my take on it is that bodies of all ages need touch. And yet our society is trying to take touch away. We are touch-phobic for many reasons. It’s complicated. Teachers aren’t allowed to touch their students. People are afraid of being sued.
And yet bodies, regardless of age, are aching to be touched in ways that honour the body.
I know that for my sense of well being in the world, touch is crucial. I was fortunate to have a mom who hugged me and rubbed my back and my body daily. My sister and I were close physically. More specifically, when my partner puts her hands on my thigh or grabs my hand, suddenly I am more present. Likewise, my entire being and body can relax.
What’s the remedy for a gifted teen with existential depression?
I’ve often wondered what we are creating as a society by shying away from touching each other? What else is possible when we see a reluctant teen in that existential aloneness phase whose body requires touch? In his article Existential Depression in Gifted Individuals, James Webb gives sage advice to parents of teens.
Often, I have ‘prescribed’ daily hugs for a youngster suffering existential depression and have advised parents of reluctant teenagers to say, ‘I know that you may not want a hug, but I need a hug.’ A hug, a touch on the arm, playful jostling, or even a ‘high five’ can be very important to such a youngster, because it establishes at least some physical connection.
Parents of today’s children and teenagers, are you finding ways to touch your kids that is kind and honours them and their body?
Honoring means to treat with regard. Or put another way, How did you wish for your parents to treat you? Are you willing to gift that to your children?
And kindness means to give them only what they can receive. So maybe a tickle fest is fun at the beginning, but then are you willing to stop when you know they’ve had enough?
And please ask yourself, Am I getting my needs met for touch that is kind and honours me and my body? If not, would you be willing to make it a priority to add that to your life?
How can adults become more comfortable with conscious touch?
For adults, touch is often riddled with sexual innuendo and hidden agendas. Many people avoid touch to avoid the uncomfortableness of that. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy facilitating people with the bodywork I do to consciously give and receive touch with other bodies. There is a possibility of touching and receiving touch that includes our sexualness, while including respect of self and others. This can be learned. This kind of respectful and caring touch invites our bodies to relax and receive as the sensual, alive beings we are meant to be!
If you are interested in learning more through the guided facilitation I provide with this tender topic, let me know by contacting me through my website.
Thank you for reading. Please share with someone you love and care about.