And then there’s this:
“Studies on mice have shown that one month of social isolation caused a decrease of around 20% of the total volume of neurons, though researchers saw that remaining neurons were branching out more than those mice that were not isolated. When the isolation went on longer — up to three months — researchers saw that the extra branching of the neurons was no longer happening, and that, in exchange, spines (structures that neurons develop to place the machinery that is required to communicate to each other) were greatly diminished. What does this mean? The branching that took place in the first month of isolation may represent some sort of compensatory mechanism that the brain puts in place in order to overcome and prevent the detrimental effects of isolation. However, when isolation went on for “too long,” this mechanism seemed to come to an end, and trigger the loss of neuronal communication in the form of spine elimination.”
Many of us have been in what amounts to isolation for three months or more.
The stresses that will arise when people are returning to the office and can’t give each other a hug or even shake hands; can’t share a plate of food; can’t even, in many cases, share the drive into work; when people return to public transport where, at every step of the journey (no pun, I meant it) there is someone invading the space they want to keep free – that, it appears to me, is something very close to the PTSD we already think about.
Is there a solution? I have no idea.
So why write this?