Dealing with ‘Skin Hunger’: The Importance of Touch

August 12, 2021

‘Skin hunger’ is a term that has surfaced off-late. The term refers to human beings not having met the basic requirement of touch of other human beings - their family members, loved ones or friends, due to the circumstances that the Covid pandemic has currently put us into. The pandemic has undoubtedly wreaked havoc on people all across the world, and skin hunger is becoming an issue of increasing concern today. This is especially because skin hunger is linked to other terms such as depression, loneliness, feeling of unwantedness, etc. Due to the lockdowns imposed on people, many people worldwide have been left stranded, with no one to turn to or no people around even within their residences, in order to have the much-needed physical touch.

Right from the time babies are born, they are brought extremely close to their mothers and experience the first touch from their own mothers. This touch that they experience later on goes to become an integral part of their lives and an indispensable part of who they are. Every human being, regardless of his/her age, requires some kind of touch or appreciation from other human beings around him/her. This is mainly because as human beings, we are social animals, and need the presence of other individuals around us, to ensure our survival. We need validation from other people and the ‘Power of Positivity’ has clearly proven that when a person is encouraged by a group of people - who believe that the person can achieve something or do something, even if the person did not believe in himself/herself in the first place, he/she will start to believe that he/she is capable of doing that particular thing or achieving something. This is something which has been scientifically proven, and evidence exists in support of the same.

Because of the current situation that the Covid-19 pandemic has put all of us into, we often lack the much-needed touch from people around us. This can lead to severe repercussions and has also taken a toll on a lot of people, worldwide. The cases of depression and suicide have only increased over the period of the pandemic since the pandemic was first known to have begun back in 2019. The feeling of ‘not having someone’ to look up to, not having someone around to talk to, socialise and touch - be it even just a handshake with a person, can have impacts on people’s state of mind. This is because touch plays an important role in the functioning of the human brain. An example of children who lacked the much-needed touch from their childhood is the popular example of two feral children from Bengal in India - Kamala and Amala, who grew up without any contact with human beings, and thus went through tough times and ended up living lives just like animals. Another significant example in this context would be that of the young child Danielle, who was also abandoned by her mother and grew up all alone. This was a case of serious neglect by the mother - who was later charged and proved guilty in court for the same.

Such cases of neglect are not very uncommon in today’s time and age. Cases of neglect lead to physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual depletion for the child or the person who has undergone the neglect, and this is something that can have an impact on the latter for ages to come. Human touch is essential because it forms the basis for all social contact, and when this touch is not provided to the person, it can have adverse effects. In order to lessen the cases of people going through depressions due to not having anyone to talk to during the pandemic has been somewhat brought under control in big cities especially, where certain groups of people form organizations and dial up and talk to such people - those who go through some kind of trouble and problems in their lives but have no one to talk to or share it with. Such initiatives greatly help people and should be promoted, so that a larger community of people receive the adequate help that they need, which would prevent them from taking any drastic steps such as committing suicide.

Personally, I found myself locked down in the city of Brussels, in Belgium in 2020, when the pandemic first had its effects in Brussels. I had been to Brussels for a period of 4 months, but due to the pandemic, my stay got extended by an entire month. Fortunately for me, I had two flatmates in Brussels, who I could interact with on a regular basis. I also had all the facilities of connectivity and so could easily get in touch with my friends, family, and the communities that I am a part of, back in India. This contact that I could have with my flatmates, the much-needed musical instruments that came to me in my times of need, were some things that could keep me going even in the tough times of quarantine in Brussels, back in April-May 2020. Had it not been for the gift of music, and socializing with the people around me back then, times would have been tougher than ever. I arrived back in India in June 2020, and then everything felt absolutely great when I could finally get back with my family, after such a long time of patience, waiting, and perseverance.

The period of lock-down has not been easy on anyone. People all over the world have been going through some kind of sorrow - be it because of losing the ones dear to them to the pandemic, because of not being able to see their loved ones, or because of being all alone in a far-off place, with no one to talk to or connect to. A lot of people have gone through sadness and pain because of not being able to go out, meet people and lead normal lives, due to the effects of the pandemic. An Amazon Original Spanish language documentary ‘El mundo fuera’ (Meaning: The world out) by Alejandro Sanz, that was released in the times of the pandemic, comprises recordings of people from all across the world, speaking of all the things that they do in order to keep themselves occupied, to not lose track or go into depression during the lockdown period in their respective countries. People have spoken about music and how music has played an integral part of their lives in these tough times, and how playing music has helped them overcome the grief and sorrows in their lives. Even to me, my favourite instruments - the Piano/Keyboard and the Guitar were true saviours to me because I could sit and sing my favourite songs, record covers, and even post my work onto my social media platforms for others to see and be inspired by it. We inspire others and get inspired, and that’s how we grow!

Due to the lockdown, people have not been able to meet with each other, which also indirectly means that they are deprived of their physical and sexual needs. Even though we do not talk about it quite as often, Sex is something that is important to people in order to maintain their states of mind, and people who were addicted to having sexual intercourse on a regular basis, when these people were suddenly deprived of their needs due to the onset of the pandemic, it led to major setbacks for many. The effects that the sudden deprival of an addiction causes to a person is known as ‘withdrawal symptoms’, and this can impact people adversely by causing them to go into some kind of a shell, because they are suddenly cut-off from something that they were thoroughly addicted to - be it drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or sex. Sudden cut-off has never proven to do any good to people, and this only impacts people’s lives, when they are most unexpecting of it. Thus, I perceive that there shouldn’t be a sudden deprival of peoples’ basic needs or even addictions for that matter because this can even lead to their demise, due to not being able to handle the extreme situation. Things must be brought under control not all at once, but slowly, and eventually.

 

 

 

 

By Pearl Marita Sebatina D’Souza
Pearl has a BA in Media and Communication from Manipal Institute of Communication, MAHE, Manipal. Her interests lie in Journalism, Social Media Management, Content Writing. She has previously interned at The Times of India, Deccan Herald and Daijiworld TV. She is also presently a Singer, Musician, and Choir Director at Christ Church, Manipal.
To submit your article / poem / short story to Daijiworld, please email it to news@daijiworld.com mentioning 'Article/poem submission for daijiworld' in the subject line. Please note the following:

  • The article / poem / short story should be original and previously unpublished in other websites except in the personal blog of the author. We will cross-check the originality of the article, and if found to be copied from another source in whole or in parts without appropriate acknowledgment, the submission will be rejected.
  • The author of the poem / article / short story should include a brief self-introduction limited to 500 characters and his/her recent picture (optional). Pictures relevant to the article may also be sent (optional), provided they are not bound by copyright. Travelogues should be sent along with relevant pictures not sourced from the Internet. Travelogues without relevant pictures will be rejected.
  • In case of a short story / article, the write-up should be at least one-and-a-half pages in word document in Times New Roman font 12 (or, about 700-800 words). Contributors are requested to keep their write-ups limited to a maximum of four pages. Longer write-ups may be sent in parts to publish in installments. Each installment should be sent within a week of the previous installment. A single poem sent for publication should be at least 3/4th of a page in length. Multiple short poems may be submitted for single publication.
  • All submissions should be in Microsoft Word format or text file. Pictures should not be larger than 1000 pixels in width, and of good resolution. Pictures should be attached separately in the mail and may be numbered if the author wants them to be placed in order.
  • Submission of the article / poem / short story does not automatically entail that it would be published. Daijiworld editors will examine each submission and decide on its acceptance/rejection purely based on merit.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to edit the submission if necessary for grammar and spelling, without compromising on the author's tone and message.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to reject submissions without prior notice. Mails/calls on the status of the submission will not be entertained. Contributors are requested to be patient.
  • The article / poem / short story should not be targeted directly or indirectly at any individual/group/community. Daijiworld will not assume responsibility for factual errors in the submission.
  • Once accepted, the article / poem / short story will be published as and when we have space. Publication may take up to four weeks from the date of submission of the write-up, depending on the number of submissions we receive. No author will be published twice in succession or twice within a fortnight.
  • Time-bound articles (example, on Mother's Day) should be sent at least a week in advance. Please specify the occasion as well as the date on which you would like it published while sending the write-up.

Comment on this article

  • Pearl Marita Sebatina D'Souza, Manipal, Karnataka

    Sun, Sep 05 2021

    Thank you so much everyone, for your support and encouragement!

  • Nirmala Mahajan, Bangalore

    Wed, Aug 25 2021

    Glad you have addressed a topic that is very relevant to today's restricted living. It's an eye opener to those who are preferring isolation out of fear of getting infected. Sedentary, solitary, fearful living without human interactions is detrimental to one's own health and welfare. Then again a sanitised monotonous routine in bringing up children seems to be a way of life with the working parents who leave childcare to nannies and establishments. No time to fuss and cuddle, roll on the carpet and play games because they are either immersed in work, the rat race or the mobiles and gadgets. Our families are ornamental pieces that get minimal attention. Nuclear families are another bane of our times. When the rapport crumbles and kids seek comfort elsewhere and it's too late; we see frantic and desperate parents run to counsellors/therapy etc. Pearl, you have done the EWS(early warning) job of alerting readers to put our heart and souls into our relationships, nurture, and maintain them. Even though physical touch may be difficult in some instances, let's make the virtual contact and keep the hunger for meaningful relationships with near and dear ones satiated. Family, friends and humane approach to life is worth the effort for us and others around us. In short, i04t was a good read and informative too.

  • Nirmala Mahajan, Bangalore

    Wed, Aug 25 2021

    Glad you have addressed a topic that is very relevant to today's restricted living. It's an eye opener to those who are preferring isolation out of fear of getting infected. Sedentary, solitary, fearful living without human interactions is detrimental to one's own health and welfare. Then again a sanitised monotonous routine in bringing up children seems to be a way of life with the working parents who leave childcare to nannies and establishments. No time to fuss and cuddle, roll on the carpet and play games because they are either immersed in work, the rat race or the mobiles and gadgets. Our families are ornamental pieces that get minimal attention. Nuclear families are another bane of our times. When the rapport crumbles and kids seek comfort elsewhere and it's too late; we see frantic and desperate parents run to counsellors/therapy etc. Pearl, you have done the EWS(early warning) job of alerting readers to put our heart and souls into our relationships, nurture, and maintain them. Even though physical touch may be difficult in some instances, let's make the virtual contact and keep the hunger for meaningful relationships with near and dear ones satiated. Family, friends and humane approach to life is worth the effort for us and others around us. In short, i04t was a good read and informative too.

  • Juthica, Mangalore

    Sat, Aug 14 2021

    Pearl, congratulations for this well structured and beautifully written article. Hats off to you for choosing this topic going so well with the current times. The title skin hunger is thought provoking and well chosen. A soothing word, a comforting pat and an encouraging smile can create wonders when given at right time . Keep writing!!

  • Rita, Germany

    Fri, Aug 13 2021

    Dear Pearl ,you couldnt choose an other topic at this time to write than this.Skin hunger,I want to tell you a small episode on this happened about 39 years back ,which I still remember and have nailed it in my memory.As our second child was born a girl ,used to keep her in our middle to sleep as there was no other facility at that time.Well as a small child she was so used to know who is next to her.When noone was near her ,first used to clear it by touching me by her hand right side on the chest.When she wanted father ,search him left side on his mustach ,then knew father is there .when father is not there used to make some noice .So that father would make his presence in house she would be quite.Sure mostly aged ones have missed this contact who are in homes terribly in Pandamic times.A skin touch is more than only a touch but tells many thousand impulses to a person exactly what one wants,compassion,hunger of what you need .Thank you for giving chance to remember our old days.

  • Deepika Lobo, Manipal

    Fri, Aug 13 2021

    The most precious gift one can give to another human being is his/ her warm, loving positive and assuring presence. Nice and well written Pearl.

  • John, Mangalore

    Fri, Aug 13 2021

    For Divine Touch.....Those who are looking for Divine touch due to virus, failure in business, finance, Life, for Divine blessings and for Virus and Vaccine side effects healing, thousands of Covid 19 healings as per testimonies received by Gifted and Anointed Priest Fr Dr Jose Vettiyankal of Logos Retreat Centre, Bangalore who conducts free online healing prayer service everyday between 15:00 to 16:30 for all faiths, including doctors and hopeless cases. Also he blesses the Holy Oil, water, salt for healing, online. Following video of Today's service... (Northern India by Indian Prophet Bajinder Singh, Thursday and Sunday services) Ref: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zuW7lDxTQyU

  • Joe Britto, Nakre/Bangalore

    Fri, Aug 13 2021

    Extremely well written Article Pearl. Its Truly meant for these the HARDEST Times for Living Kind !

  • Joe Britto, Nakre/Bangalore

    Fri, Aug 13 2021

    Extremely well written Article Pearl. Its Truly meant for these the HARDEST Times for Living Kind !

  • Ben D'Souza Prabhu, Mangalore, Bombay Bandra now in Canada

    Thu, Aug 12 2021

    Many thanks for your thought provoking write up, dear Pearl Marita and for your devout submissions. I personally liked it. You have presented it well my dear, and this will be very well appreciated by many. Great Good Going for you. THANK YOU

  • Ivan Saldanha, Mangalore

    Thu, Aug 12 2021

    Dear Ma'am Pearl : Indeed a thought provoking article "Skin-Hunger" is definitely having a seriously felt impact on minds, bodies and feelings. A scientific answer to fill this hunger needs to be put together before more damage occurs. Appreciated and Thanks.

  • John, Mangalore

    Thu, Aug 12 2021

    Very nice but In these situations (or in future similar situations) one might think, where is God? But following Bible verses gives one needed solace or If repeatedly SAID many times, thrice a day or more, will lift one's Faith and Spirit also gives one new Life! Isaiah 49:15 Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.... John 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you— They Are Full of the Spirit and Life.... Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.... Romans 10:8 What it says is this: "God's message is near you, on your lips and in your heart"--that is, the message of faith that we proclaim.... As Bible verse in John 1:1 says In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... and as addictions are against God's First Commandment little self control, slowly but steadily to do away these very much needed, as following Bible verses say... John 8:34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin".... also in John 8:32... and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.


Leave a Comment

Title: Dealing with ‘Skin Hunger’: The Importance of Touch



You have 2000 characters left.

Disclaimer:

Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. Daijiworld.com will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will Daijiworld.com be held responsible.


Security Validation

Enter the characters in the image