• By Erin Chandler, Erinchandlerauthor.com.

What Today Brings

“Depression, suffering and anger are all part of being human.” – Janet Fitch Have you ever been disproportionately upset about missing something? I was strangely out of my head recently after opting out of a reunion this past weekend. I drove to Danville Friday to do a cameo in a movie filming there. Supporting a friend, Robby Henson of the Pioneer Playhouse, I put my movie star ego in my back pocket and put on the costume of a receptionist along with a brave face, got behind the hospital desk and fake-talked to the fake security guard, acting surprised when the pretend grandmother, played by Karen Grassle of Little House on the Prairie, pretend-fainted. It was fun meeting new people and seeing a film made about Alzheimer’s, an issue close to home and dear to my heart. After a long day I felt wobbly and tired. The thought of throwing on a dress and driving up to Lexington did not appeal. When the time came for the party I opted to stay in bed and eat pizza and ice cream. The next morning I woke with Norah Jones in my head, “I waited ‘til I saw the sun, don’t know why I didn’t come.” Then the pictures on Facebook started coming. All of my old Sayre school friends had shown up. Picture after picture of smiling faces I only see on the internet were in person hugging each other and in deep conversation. It sent me into a tailspin of regret. Seeing those faces flooded me with a feeling of connection to another time, a shared history with people witness to so many of the twists and turns that brought me to where I am today. Fearful there would not be another opportunity to gather with that particular group of friends in the same room overtook my thoughts on a loop, round and round into the wee hours of the night. The deep and obsessive longing was so powerful I realized there must be something going on under the surface. What was I going to do? See my old boyfriend? See my other old boyfriend’s best friend? What were we going to do, have a séance and bring back our college selves? Our high school personas? Our elementary innocence? Perhaps the longing triggered was magnified by a melancholy feeling I always get when the seasons change. When the wind rustles up the leaves and swirls them in the air, it always brings a combination of excitement and sadness. Who can say where feelings stem from and what will bring anxiety and depression? Life is difficult for all of us and when not centered; we grasp at things we assume will bring us comfort. It has been almost a year since I began an extremely healthy lifestyle – no alcohol, no cigarettes, not much sugar or bread, exercise at least three days a week. I was feeling so good I went off of an anti-depressant I had been taking for over a decade. I thought it was funny when my doctor told me, “Go off of it and if you tell me the sky is falling, then we’ll go back on.” Last week I called him and told him the sky certainly seemed to be lowering! I went back on. There is no shame in taking care of our fragile psyches. We are in this together, even though it often seems we are alone. I had been cavalier about my own brain chemistry, proud of the fact I was on nothing but calcium and Vitamin D. When the tears began to flow too quickly and I began to obsess a little too much about things, I decided it’s not a race, not a contest. Better to heed the words of John Lennon, “Whatever gets you through the night, it’s alright, it’s alright.”

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