Can going into self-isolation connect us more?

Going into self-quarantine affects us in many ways, both mentally, emotionally, physical and as a group and society, but can it also help us come out stronger?

The challenges of going into self-isolation

Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt

In a short time many have reversed the direction from working to stop loneliness and self-isolation, to instead help people keep a distance and isolate at home. And at the same time the whole world is trying to understand the effect of this change on many levels here in 2020

The psychological effects of self-isolation are yet far from understood, especially when it happen on a massive global scale, just at the same time as new technologies, phones, apps, and fragmenting relationships are pushing us in the same direction.

Effects of Self-isolation

The effects of self-isolation can be seen in many areas:

Loneliness and change of thinking patterns

The understanding we have of ourselves and our relationships in self-isolation changes fast. Being isolated is something that have traditionally been used as a harsh punishment in many societies. The effects on our self-image, thinking patterns and even sense of time sets in after minutes, and worsen over days.

Trust going both down and up

When challenged by self-isolation and keeping our distance, our need for trusting others becomes more important.

This also means that at first we are likely to be more doubtful and fearful of trusting strangers, but when we have to do it anyway and succeed, trust will go up.

For a long time it have seemed like nobody really needed anybody else and trust was not important.

But now neighbors are helping cut the lawns of self-isolated people, and young ones help buy groceries and put it on the doorsteps of elders in the community.

It all build trust in paradoxical ways, by including a risk and through that we confirm our relationships in ways that increase trust.

Technology becomes a lifeline

When in self-isolation phones and the online corridors become life-lines. Keeping us connected in virtual ways, that are being pushed to whole new levels of advancement at the moment.

Helping each other can bridge the gap

Self-isolation can have more effects that can be seen as positive, when we realize we depend on each other much more than we used to.

In the last years it has been more and more normal to live and take care of one self, not relying on anybody else.

Living alone, shopping alone, watching TV and watching screens alone. I have worked with how this change us in several years, even made the word: “isololation” for it in my work. And I wondered if something would come to counter the situation that more and more of us has become isolated in the last many years. Now I think this could perhaps be such a thing.

A chance we become more connected by the shock of self-isolation

This shock, could ( maybe ) actually bring us closer together – and make us feel like a community again, if we, in face of the threat to us, realize we are actually better off helping each other in the long run, than isolating ourselves… Even if we have to do it from a distance at the moment.

Drawing of a woman in a box with the text "self-isolation. Psychology illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
Going into self-isolation is a challenge of countless people all over the world

Keywords: selfisolation, quarantine, corona virus, pandemic, trauma, self-isolation, isololation, reality, loneliness, future, psychology

About Museum of Psychology – Visualizing psychology
We understand reality at least through a combination of metaphors, images, stories and experiences. But also through our dreams, understandings, feelings, music, walk of life, directions, expectations, relations… and even more dimensions.

Much of this have in common that we can somehow sketch up maps and drawings of these places, trails and situations. Here on Museum of Psychology I (Frits Ahlefeldt) am drawing up a slowly growing map of our many landscapes of understanding.

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