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The Terror of Disconnection

Storm Isaias wreaked havoc on my town. Over 50 roads were blocked by fallen trees and even more were partially blocked. 75% of the town lost power, which rivaled Superstorm Sandy’s power outages. Our first selectman predicted that it would take at least a week for power to be fully restored.

Under most circumstances going without power for that long wouldn’t have bothered me. Sure, I might be bored because I’d be unable to play video games, but there are other things I can do to occupy myself. This time was different though. Rather than entering a state of irritation and impatience, I experienced a massive surge of anxiety that caught me wildly off guard. The reason behind it?

I had lost connection.

The power took my ability to use Wi-Fi, data, and cell phone service. I had no access to social media or the news, and could not send or receive texts. I had gone from a state of constantly digesting information and talking to people to complete isolation. The change was too jarring.

When I first had this realization, I was frustrated with myself. How could I let social media affect me this badly? I thought my reaction was sad and pathetic, and that somehow, my dependence on social media to function normally was representative of my quality as a person.

It took a couple days, but eventually I came around and realized that this notion was completely and utterly ridiculous. I grew up with the ability to gain the answer to any question I ever had, to send a message to someone across the globe with the single click of a button. I grew up being able to talk to my friends whenever I wanted, even if it was a quick “hey, how are you?” to now being completely unable to contact them.

Losing connection to everything is an entirely valid reason to be nervous! It’s like entering an unknown world. Sure, people used to live like this, but when you never have, it’s disturbing. When an element of life you’ve grown up with is suddenly removed, of course you’re going to be nervous or agitated. This is natural response. Don’t beat yourself up over it, take care of yourself and try to reconnect with the people immediately around you. You might find something you never knew you were missing.

- Jonathan Holden


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