I had the most overwhelming and uncomfortable feeling on Sunday, something I have never felt before. I couldn't figure out what it was for hours, then, it suddenly dawned on me. I was feeling anxious, depressed, or maybe both.

I was alone in the house while Michele was off on a hiking trip two hours away. She left before I woke up and came back at dinner time. Normally, I don't mind being alone. I'm a homebody. When Michele is gone, I have the TV to myself, lots of video games to play and even comic books to read. But this day was different.

I spent a long time trying to find something I wanted to watch on TV. I had plenty of episodes of Mr. Robot that were left to watch, but it didn't interest me. Even putting on Buzzr and watching old game shows didn't do anything for me like it usually does. I sat down at the computer to continue playing the puzzle solving game The Witness, but my mind wasn't focusing enough to be able to progress in the game.

I ended up sitting in my chair in the living room just thinking about why I felt like there was a weight on my chest. I kept sighing and wondering what could possibly make me feel this way. I finally came to the conclusion that all the things that I would normally do when Michele was away, I couldn't.

Last summer I sold my camper at Keoka Beach Campground to reduce expenses so we could buy a house. I spent nearly 10 summers there with family and friends. I would normally be there with them, but it's gone.

If I wasn't at camp and Michele was away, I would go play pinball somewhere like Arcadia National Bar or at friends houses across New England. With COVID-19, that's out.

Every summer I take a trip to Pittsburgh to the Replay FX Gaming convention and play in the world's largest pinball tournament with friends I've made from all around the world. It was cancelled this year.

I might have my son with me for the weekend and we could watch a movie together, play video games or just go grab some lunch and ice cream. I haven't had him since the pandemic began in an effort to protect his grandfather who has pulmonary fibrosis from possibly getting the virus from me if I was carrying it and didn't have symptoms.

I realized that I had lost the ability to do all the things that bring me joy, all because of something out of my control. COVID-19 had turned everything upside down. I couldn't do all these things for a very good reason, but it all came to a head with that feeling I couldn't shake.

When Michele called to say she was on her way home, I think she could hear it in my voice. I told her what I was feeling and she said she completely understands that. She has her running, and hiking and paddle boarding that she loves to do and can while socially distancing. I didn't have the things I love to do.

When she got home, I said "Let's go for a ride." We hopped in the car and drove to see my son Jake, outside, sitting in chairs six feet apart. It instantly changed everything for me. I got to see my son's smiling face, tell him he needs to wash his hands, listen to stories of what he had done this week (mostly a lot of Fortnite) and tell him I love him. The weight was lifted off and today I feel so much better.

These are tough times for everyone. The world is not normal right now and will likely take some time to get back to some new normal. Depression and anxiety have tripled in the US since the pandemic began. I wasn't officially diagnosed with either, so it might not have been depression or anxiety, but I know my brain was trying to tell me that something wasn't right. I found the fix with a simple visit with my son, but it might not be as easy for others.

If you feel like you think you might be experiencing anxiety or depression, try finding a way to do something that will bring you happiness. It worked for me, but if that doesn't help for you, call your doctor.

The Mayo Clinic has an informative article about the signs you may experience with depression or anxiety at the link below.



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