My psychiatrist and I touched on this topic at my last appointment, and it's been taking up space in my mind ever since. As I sat on his couch, he showed me an example: he continued to talk while looking around the room, until finally, still speaking, made eye contact. There was an immediate physical response. When his eyes found mine, I felt a warmth in my chest as though it was defining what it is to be heard. As a mentally ill person, I spend a lot of time feeling disconnected. There are so many emotions and responses that I fear will give me away, and this fear leaves me no option but to face these feelings alone. Most people with serious mental illness know this feeling only too well. The world has defined us as "abnormal", and the need to fit in keeps us at arms length from the rest of the world. He encouraged me to investigate the idea of disconnection, but our discussion led me to a much larger epiphany... what if we aren't alone? What if the entire world is made up of people who are too afraid to voice their feelings? What if we are all just slightly broken people fumbling around and stumbling under the weight of our brokenness and all to afraid to ask someone else if they had ever felt the way we feel? What if, having voiced those feelings, the person in front of us didn't turn and walk away, but instead, nodded solemnly in understanding. What if we didn't have to be afraid anymore because one other person's simple act of nodding in agreement validated every feeling we had been too afraid to voice? How would that change the way we view the world and each other?