How Much Human Contact Can We Live Without?

I saw this photograph  on facebook of  Richard Gere and Roshi Joan Halifax hugging (at the Mind and Life “Power and Care” conference), which to me exemplifies the best kind of (adult to adult) hug we humans could have.

Richard Gere and Roshi Joan Halifax

Richard Gere and Roshi Joan Halifax

I haven’t been able to stop looking at it… and it made me start trying to remember when the last time I was able to hug someone was.

I don’t think it was in 2010 when I left Toronto, as I was so sick then, and I didn’t have any spare clothes to risk contaminating them with 2nd and 3rd hand fragrance chemicals.

Which means it was probably in 2006 or 2007 that I was last able to hug someone and survive the consequences (be able to wash my clothes from any residues they may have had, even if they were primarily fragrance-free).

This is a heck of a long time to live without a hug.

I remembered that was around that time when I had a frozen shoulder (my 2nd, I think) and I received a few sessions of some body work on my dining room table  from a friend who was 90% fragrance-free, to help loosen my shoulder as it was unbearably painful.

I remember I had to beg her to come every week or every 2 weeks for a while because if it was longer, the shoulder froze up again and I couldn’t get it to loosen on my own. It took quite a few sessions for the treatments to hold long enough for me to be able to continue on my own.

I didn’t think I had had any human touch since I moved here in the summer of 2011, but then I also remembered that I received enough donations from online friends in mid 2012 to have 3  home visits from a scent-free massage therapist  when I was suffering from another frozen shoulder, along with all kinds of other aches and pains.

The massage therapist was already scent free, and she took extra measures to be able to come in here with her table, so that the benefits of the massages would outweigh the disabling effects of exposures.

That’s the last time I had any real physical contact with another human being,
unless you count the dentist who has made numerous home visits to extract my teeth in my living room over the last 3 years, or someone taking my pulse a few times a year.

I haven’t been able to touch anyone but some insects, a couple of mice, a few birds, chipmunks, and squirrels, and sometimes it’s just  to bury them.

I also realized that I have had an average of about 10 minutes of live, real world, face to face human contact  a week (usually standing outside, never touching) since I moved here over five years ago, and most of that time is with the people who deliver my organic food every week, with them waiting while I write out the cheque.

Ten minutes of live human interaction A WEEK.

Don’t prisoners in solitary confinement get an hour a day?

We’re not allowed to have pets here either, not that I would be able to care for one, as finding and getting safe for me pet food, litter, etc. is something I’d need help with, being housebound and all that, and I can’t walk a dog when I often can’t even breathe outside for days due to the amount of toxic laundry product fumes, pesticides, or smoke in the air.

Most of this time I’ve actually been too sick to really notice, and my cyber life offers me so many more connections with all kinds of wonderful people who seem to live in my computer, more than I can deal with, as socializing is difficult,  I am very slow, and it’s hard to know where people are coming from when we can’t see them unless they are very clear beings, (text messages are a bit lacking in this way) and maybe because I’m out of touch too.

I know I’ve lost some social skills (as well as not having very much in common anymore with most people who are roaming about in the world) and sometimes I can’t access the social skills part(s) of my brain after I’ve been forced to inhale air containing someone’s toxic dryer vent emissions, or had toxic supplies delivered, or when there’s pesticide use in the area, since the toxic substances don’t stop at property lines, or at my nose,  (even when I can’t smell them) and I (so far) haven’t  stopped breathing altogether…

To merely stay alive, to be able to order food, prepare it, and feed myself, I’ve been forced into solitary confinement, not because I have committed any crimes, but because it’s legal to have (profitable)  toxic chemicals in everyday products and materials, even when they poison and disable me and so many others who have MCS/ES, as well as causing other health harms to society.

Why is this allowed to happen? Why don’t people seem to care?

Why are people more attached to toxic products than to other people’s lives?

Where are the huggable people who aren’t attached to toxic products, and  who can make house-calls?

Because I really need a hug soon if I’m going to stay human…

Not a cyber hug now – thank you to everyone who has been exchanging them with me over the years, they have done wonders to keep me going this long.

Now I need a real, lean in, fragrance and chemical free, flesh and bones, human to human  hug. A hug that won’t ruin my few safe clothes and take me a month to recover from, a month when cooking, doing dishes, and sweeping the floor is too hard for me to do.

A simple, safe hug.


What does it take to get a safe hug? What do I need to do?

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4 responses to “How Much Human Contact Can We Live Without?

  1. Keep trying. Don’t give up….

  2. I understand. I wrote a blog about not being able to hug when I was first disabled. I’m fortunate now that I have a few people I can give a hug too. It is amazing what the “general” population of the world takes for granted. I hope you find your fragrance-free hug buddy soon.

  3. It’s amazing how addicted people are to toxic products and how little discomfort they are willing to endure when it comes to even thinking about changing them…

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